In this post, I outline 12 practical ways you can start saving money today. These tactics in isolation aren’t life-changing. They can make a difference over time if you’re able to implement more than one and stick to them.
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Unfortunately, how to save money isn’t taught in schools and so most people learn about saving money the hard way. Often after getting into debt, and trying to figure out a way out!
No matter where you are on your financial journey, it’s possible for anyone to turn their financial life around. Sometimes all it takes is that first step in the right direction to get things moving in your favour. But, as with most things, sometimes that very first step is the hardest part. This is why I’ve compiled a list of 12 practical ways to start saving money today.
I’ll admit none of these tactics in isolation will be life-changing on their own. However, they can make quite a difference over time if you’re able to implement more than one and stick to them.
Creating a budget will opens your eyes to where your money is actually going and where you may be overspending. You can create a budget in Microsoft Excel listing your total income, determining your expenses (rent/mortgage, mobile phone bill, travel, food, utilities, etc.). You should also include costs that occur annually/bi-annually such as house and car insurance.
Do you know how much money you spend each month? If not, why not? Tracking your spending behaviour will make you more aware of your spending habits. It makes us more aware of your spontaneous purchases and helps highlight areas where you’re overspending.
Stop acquiring stuff for the sake of it that you don’t actually need. In the past I’ve been very guilty of this, I’d go January Sales shopping and buy a whole bunch of things that I didn’t need simply because the offers were too good to pass up. Months and sometimes even years later I never got round to wearing these things! Be honest with yourself concerning your spending behaviours and make a conscious decision to do better
How many coats and shoes can you actually wear? I understand as females we like to have “options” but if you have items in your wardrobe that you haven’t worn in 3 years it’s probably time to let them go. You can sell them on eBay or Shpock or other apps of the like. Turn your clutter into cash and watch your savings grow.
This is a trick I learned from Dave Ramsey’s, The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness. The tips given by Ramsey in this book really helped us get out of debt and get on top of our finances. Transfer your planned savings the day you get paid, don’t wait till the end of the month as you’re far more likely to have spent some if not all of it. Out of sight – out of mind!
For example, I mentioned in my Frugal February post that I intended to reduce my food spending by 35% each week. If successful this would give me an extra £25 to add to savings each week.
You could also revaluate things like your mobile phone service provider, car insurance and monthly subscriptions. Shop around for better deals and consider whether that £60 monthly Sky subscription is still necessary for this day and age where we have so many cheaper or even free ways of consuming media.
Your food budget is something you have control over, unlike some of your other bills such as your mortgage or rent payments. While you could eat rice and beans every day and save a lot of money, somehow I don’t think this is a sustainable money saving plan!
Meal planning is a great way to start saving money and is something you can control and tweak each week and month as you get better at it. By looking at what you already have available in your food cupboards and freezers, and planning meals around them, you’ll find ways to reduce your food shop and boost your savings.
How many times do you eat out each month? How much do you think you spend each month on restaurants? Most people are surprised when they actually sit down and track how much they’ve spent on eating out. Once you’ve done point 2 above you’ll have a better understanding of where your money is going, you can then make a conscious decision to cut out a few meals out and save the money you would have spent.
There are bound to be so many free things to do in your Town or City. I know in London where I am based there are a plethora of things to do for free. From Museums and the Tate Modern, to the National Portrait Gallery, all for free! Check out Timeout to find out free and fun things to do in your area.
It’s much easier to save when you have a goal in mind. Simply “saving for your future” is quite an ambiguous goal and one which you are no One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Perhaps you’re getting married, planning a holiday or saving to buy a house, work out how much you need to save to reach the goal, how much you can save each month and how long it will take to reach this goal. This will help keep you focussed as you’ll be able to track your progress.
During our first few years of marriage, we managed to mount up a bit of credit card debt but were still trying to build our savings simultaneously. This isn’t a foolproof way of saving as the reality is the interest you pay on debt is far higher than any interest you earn on your savings. So if you have any store cards, credit cards etc. pay them off first before you start saving.
Water is free from the tap and in most 1st world countries is safe to drink. Why pay for water when you can buy a cute water bottle like these and top up for free whenever you like?
Additionally, bottled water comes in plastic bottles which are bad for the environment. Let’s save money while doing our bit for the environment by drinking tap water. If you’re totally against tap water then you can always invest in a water filter – you’ll still save a lot in the long run by switching from bottled water.
If you enjoyed this post, ‘Start Saving Money Today these 12 Practical Ways’, then you will also enjoy my other blog posts on similar topics, check them out below:
As well as drawing on personal experience for my blog posts, I also get inspiration from other amazing bloggers. Here are a few blogs that inspired this post.
Wife and mum of three boys on a journey to achieve financial freedom. Earn more, spend less and invest the difference.