Everybody wants to have a little extra money in their pockets, right? Who wouldn’t want more money? If a random stranger were to pass you in the streets and give you a $100 bill, you’d be a fool not to take it.
But let’s face it, that’s just not very common.
What is common is that you will hear people say things along the lines of “I would do anything for more money,” “I can’t afford that right now, or “I don’t make enough money to save any money.”
It’s not that most people don’t make enough to save. It’s that most people don’t know how to save, therefore they never even try.
Yes, it would be nice to have a higher paying job, but having more money isn’t about making more. Making more money can definitely help, but it can also do more harm than good as you’re also more likely to go out and just spend that money. All of that leaves you right back where you started – broke as a joke wishing you were making even more money.
The real problem comes from saving money – or lack of saving money. It comes from not being able to live below your means and constantly spending your money on things that aren’t really necessary.
Now, I’m not a financial expert, but saving money also isn’t rocket science.
You’ll only start saving money when you learn healthy money habits and let your future needs be more important than your current wants—aka when you get tired enough of being broke and decide to start saving.
The good news is that you don’t have to sacrifice your quality of life to start saving money. Just start cutting back on some purchases and see where that takes you.
So far, I have saved a year’s worth of expenses, while also being able to pay off my new car in full. How? Well, here are some of the things that I have done to save more money.
Ditch The Overpriced $5 Lattes
Think about this. You spend $5 every day on a latte before you head into work. That would be the equivalent to $25 per week, or $1,300 a year. That’s a nice vacation for the price of your lattes.
What you can do instead is to either make a cup of coffee at home, or even go on Amazon and get a super nice Keurig K-Cafe Coffee, Latte, and Cappuccino maker for $170. Sure, that might seem like a lot up front, but that’s really only a month and a half worth of overpriced lattes.
Plus, you will also save a lot of time from not having to wait in life, which means more time to sleep. Along with more money, more sleep is also something we all want more of.
Last bit, coffee shops are marketing geniuses. There is a reason why Starbucks and Target teamed up together. If you want a coffee, you will be more likely to also go shopping at Target. If you go shopping at Target, you will be more likely to grab Starbucks. It’s a win-win for both companies.
So avoiding the $5 latte can really save your wallet a pretty-penny.
Buy Generic Brands
Okay, here’s the deal, you don’t need to go spending a lot of money on regular clothes just because they have a certain name on them when you can go to places such as Wal-Mart or Target and get the same exact piece of clothing for a fraction of the price.
You also don’t need to walk up and down the aisles of the grocery store grabbing all of the named-brand foods when the generic brand is RIGHT beside it and costs probably a dollar less. It tastes the same, it has the same nutritional values, it’s just doesn’t have a name in front of it… that’s the only difference.
I get that it might now seem like a big deal right away, but those $1-$2 savings will add up over time. In the long run, you will be able to buy more of the things you want but can’t quite afford right now.
Stop Buying Bottled Water
I have a morning routine. I get up, go exercise for a bit, drive to the local gas station, and I get a cup of coffee for $1.
Prior to realizing how much money I was wasting, I would also buy a liter of water for $1.75. Over a month, this added up to around $50… just for water.
So, instead of buying a bottle of water every day and having to go through the struggle of constantly refilling it, I bought a gallon jug on Amazon for $16, and it even has little time reminders that show me how much water I should drink by a certain time in the day.
It’s a pretty nifty thing if you ask me.
Okay, aside from my water bottle, I guess all I can say is to stop buying plastic water bottles that you dispose of right after drinking it. Buy a filter for your tap, a Britta for your fridge, or a water bottle you can carry around with you and reuse. Not only will you be doing your wallet a favor, but you will also be helping to save the environment.
Eat Out Less
You might think that fast food is cheaper than making your own meals, but it’s really not. If buying fast food was cheaper than the cost of food, there wouldn’t be any companies still up and running. In fact, fast food companies are making MILLIONS in profit.
Instead of going through the drive-thru every night, plan ahead and buy in bulk. You can save so much money by planning meals out in advance and preparing them.
If you are struggling with time, try meal-prepping. Pick one day out of the week to cook your meals, pop them in the fridge, and just heat them up when you are done. Doing so will help to fight the temptation of going out. If you have a meal cooked and ready to eat, you will be less likely to go out and spend $10, $15, or even $25 per meal.
Personally, I like to buy a big bag or box of rice, a pack of chicken, fruit, veggies, pasta, all of that stuff one day a week. While it costs money up front, it saves a lot on the backend as I don’t have to buy individual meals and am less likely to eat out.
Buy Discounted Items or Shop Thrift
Personally, I think there are only two things you should never buy second-hand: underwear and socks. Everything else is full-game.
You don’t need to spend $20 or more on a designer shirt. In the case where you want to, go to places like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. You can get all of your favorite clothes for a fraction of the price.
I have to be honest, I love TJ Maxx and Marshalls, but even there I still find myself browsing the clearance section when I go. It’s like getting items on clearance that are already on clearance.
Aside from that, I shop at Wal-Mart. I just got four long-sleeve shirts for $20. They look the same as any other shirt, but they just don’t have a big fancy name on them. If I can save money by buying clothes that aren’t name-brand, I am going to do so. I would rather use my money elsewhere.
So whether it’s TJ Maxx, Wal-Mart, or your local thrift shop, don’t be scared to buy discounted or used clothes. Your wallet will thank you big time!
Hear Me Out
You don’t need to sacrifice your life in order to save money. If you think these steps are too challenging, start small and gain some traction first. Eat out one less time a week, buy one less piece of clothing, get a cup of coffee from Starbucks maybe one or two times a week, whatever you feel you need to do, do it. Just make sure that your behaviors are aligning with the goals you have for your future.