When planning on saving money, there is a lot that you can do without cutting back on your necessities and small luxuries. All you have to do is plan ahead and stick to it so that everything in your life works out exactly as you want it to. Whether you are having a baby, planning for your next vacation or studying in college, there is always something you can do to save an extra dollar. As they say, a penny saved is a penny earned. I have 60 ideas that you can use to save money in situations you would have probably thought impossible:
This post is divided in 5 Sections:
- Save Money On A Tight Budget
- Save Money On Vacation
- Saving Money in Pregnancy
- Save Money On Groceries
- Save Money in College
1. Ways To Save Money On A Tight Budget
Only using products and services that are important – If you are living on a tight budget, avoid services that you don’t really use or need. If you don’t watch a lot of television, don’t keep the cable connection. If it’s cold, consider wearing more layers rather than using the heating. If it gets a little stuffy during the summer, open your windows instead of using the AC. It will help you to reduce your electricity bill.
Buying clothes that are on sale – If you have to buy some clothes, look for shops that have clothes on sale. You can also try departmental stores because they generally have some sort of promotion or the other.
Saving money before making a big purchase – If you have been planning on making a big purchase like a a TV or a refrigerator, instead of buying it on credit and paying a huge bill every month, save up for a few months and purchase it in cash. That way, you will have a smaller credit card bill and more available cash.
Using the credit card only when necessary – Credit cards can land you up in massive debts and with all the interest that keep adding up every month, it can be a huge liability so use it only during emergencies.
Paying off your credit card each month before the bill is generated – Pay off your bill every month before your bill gets generated. Each month, your bill gets generated on a particular date which does not change so ask your credit card company about it and make the payments in full before the specified date to avoid the interest to be billed on your debts.
Cooking at home – Not only is cooking at home a healthier option than eating out but it also helps to save money on restaurant bills and home deliveries.
Using the car only when necessary – If you have to go someplace nearby, don’t be lazy and just walk it or buy a cycle to move around. Avoid using the car as much as possible and save up on the gas money. Also, the lesser you use the car, the lesser are the chances of the car getting damaged so you can save up on the repairs as well.
Not making online purchases unless you trust the website – Many people make purchases online using credit cards and some of the companies provide the promised services. However, there are a lot of online scams where the products and services are not delivered even after the price is deducted from the credit available and some companies go to the extent of making recurring charges on the credit card. So, unless you know the company your transacting with, don’t share credit card information online.
Going for used products – When buying furniture, it’s always better to buy used furniture because if you select carefully, it will look nice and cost you a fraction of the cost of a new furniture. You can also buy used books, decorative pieces and cars.
Making a list of your monthly expenses in advance – If you can list down your recurring monthly expenses in advance, then you will be in a better position to spare money for other expenses, remain in your budget and think about saving some money.
2. Save Money On Vacation – Vacations Can Be Less Expensive But Equally Enjoyable If You
Book the airfares in advance – If you have planned the trip in advance, then why wait to book the airfares? Generally, if you book the tickets months before the travel date, they tend to be cheaper.
Book tickets for a round trip – Another great idea would be to buy return tickets along with the tickets for your departure. Round trip deals cost lesser than individual tickets to your destination and back.
Travel light – There is no point in carrying too many things when going on a vacation and paying money at the airport for the additional luggage. If you are considering shopping for some clothes there, a great idea would be to take old clothes when you leave for your vacation. That way, you won’t have any extra baggage while returning home.
Cook your own meals – If you plan to stay somewhere for a long time, don’t waste your money on hotel food or going to restaurants everyday. Try to make your own meals once in a while using the local fare. It’s will be a fun experience and you will also save some money.
Avoid breakfast at the hotel – Unless included in your package, breakfast in the hotel is an expensive affair so instead of having it there, walk to the nearest street vendor or diner and eat a hearty meal.
Eat a heavy breakfast and lunch – A heavy breakfast and lunch ensures that you eat a light dinner. Since hotel dinners tend to be more expensive than lunches, you will save a lot of money during dinner.
Using credit cards abroad – When going out of the country for a vacation, use your credit card wisely. Before you leave, speak to your credit card company and inform them about your travel plans giving the exact date of your departure and arrival along with an alternate contact number because credit card companies can block transactions that might appear to be suspicious to them. Also enquire about foreign transaction fee so that you can use you card accordingly.
Choose a car that suits your needs – When choosing a car to rent, don’t go for something you don’t need. If you are travelling alone or with another person, don’t rent a big car. You can save a lot of money if you choose wisely.
Use regular gas to fill up the tank – Rental companies use regular gas to fill up their cars so why should spend extra? Also, try to fill the gas on your own rather than opt for services that fill gas for you to save some additional money.
Avoid cabs and taxis – Use the subway, metro, rails and buses to travel instead of cabs or taxis. These common modes of transportation are much cheaper and quicker. Since you will be a tourist, it will also save you from taxi drivers who might try to fool you and charge more money.
Drive to you next destination – If your next destination is close by, drive to it instead of catching a flight. Not only will it be cheaper but it will also give a chance to explore the place on your own.
Always keeping the exchange rates in mind – Avoid exchange centers because most of them give bad exchange rates. Instead, go online to see the best exchange rates. Airports in some places like Taiwan and Dubai provide better exchange rates than the centers there.
Look for small hotels close to your destination – If you are going to a big city, try staying in a town nearby or the suburbs because they will have cheaper hotels as compared to the city and even if you have to drive for 15-20 minutes to reach your destination the next day, the money you will save will make it worth the distance.
Opt for a suite with two bedrooms – If you are going to book two separate rooms, save some money by opting for a suite with two separate bedrooms. Some hotels offer this facility so enquire about it before you book your suite. This can bring down your expenses by a huge amount during your vacation.
Shop at duty free shops – All the airports have duty free shops so you can do some shopping from there if you are planning on taking some of the local culture with you. Your options might be limited when buying things from there but you can save up on some taxes.
Befriend a local – Mixing with the locals is the best way to explore a place. Try to befriend a local or ask them about the local tourist spots, best restaurants and shopping areas. They can give you the real deal and more often than not, it will be easier on your wallet as compared to places that are full of tourists because everything surrounding a tourist spot starting from the food to the clothes is more expensive.
Don’t buy too many souvenirs – There isn’t much point in buying a lot of souvenirs. Not only are they expensive but there isn’t much use for them either. You don’t have to spend unnecessarily on souvenirs from souvenir shops for your friends and family when you have duty free shops and local markets.
Live like a local – When visiting a country, live like a local would. Eat their local cuisine, see places that locals know about and enjoy it. In the meanwhile, it will save you a lot in hotel bills and restaurant bills. Instead of spending money to visit another museum that doesn’t interest you, take a walk around the town and enjoy the view or go to a scenic spot.
Sign up for mini tours – You can look for tour operators who take tourists on a one day tour of the place. It’s a lot cheaper because you will get to see a lot of places in one day with them than you would alone which would in turn save you money on gas and fees (if the tour company provides any kind of concessions on tourists spots).
Consider the option of a packaged deal – Instead of booking everything on your own, look for a packaged deal that includes airfares, hotel rent, meals and sightseeing. If you find the right kind of deal for yourself, you can actually save a lot more as compared to planning everything on your own.
3. When Having A Baby, You Can Save Money By
Being careful when booking a maternity ward – If you are about to book a maternity ward, don’t opt for a private room because that is generally more expensive than a two person ward. Before using the TV, make sure that there aren’t any additional charges for it since some hospitals charge extra for this service.
Making a list of what your insurance covers – Before you have a baby, call your insurance company to see what kind of costs your insurance will cover because you will have to undergo several tests and procedures before the delivery. Ask them specific questions to know whether you will have a co-pay or will it be deductible. Ask them about all the facilities that your insurance will and will not cover.
Taking relevant tests only – You will be requested to take a number of tests and get check ups during your prenatal care. However, before going ahead and spending a lot of money on those tests, enquire about the reason o the tests and their purpose. Also, consider their cost. Some of those tests might not even be necessary so be careful before you spend a lot of money on them.
Considering a midwife during delivery – Have you ever considered the alternative of getting a midwife for the delivery? Not only does it cost less but your insurance might also cover this expense. Even if it doesn’t, the cost of midwifery care is much more affordable than the cost of any other practitioners care.
Thinking about your alternatives when considering the place of birth – When choosing a place for childbirth, think wisely. Birth centers and home births cost much less than hospital births and can therefore, save you a lot of money. Only mothers with low risk are provided with this option so if you get it, you can consider it without worrying about anything.
Avoiding costly procedures when not required – If you can have a normal delivery, avoid a cesarean. If you can manage without epidural anesthesia or painkillers, then try to do it. However, if you change your mind at any point during your labor, the necessary arrangements can always be made.
Being sure about breast feeding before you your spend money – Before you go ahead and buy a breast pump or spend a fortune on bras and tees specially designed for nursing, spend some time to see how breastfeeding works for you. Try to adapt yourself and your baby into it and then spend money on special a wardrobe and breast pumps
Choosing baby clothes wisely – Buy neutral styles if you are buying clothes before the baby’s birth. Avoid buying too many clothes in advance because babies tend to have sudden growth spurts.
Buy diapers and other amenities in bulk – Once you have a baby you will need a lot of diapers, milk powder, baby food and feeding bottles. Purchasing these commodities in bulk as compared to buying them in small numbers is going to save you some money.
Visiting the pediatrician only when necessary – It is very normal to get worried when your baby shows even the smallest sign of sickness but before you go to the pediatrician, give him a call and see if he can diagnose it and prescribe the medicines over the phone. It will save you the doctor’s fee. Also, buy a rectal or oral thermometer instead of an ear thermometer. They cost less and are more accurate.
4. Save Money On Groceries – Grocery Shopping Can Be Less Expensive If You
Make a list of the things you need before leaving home – A grocery store can be a very mesmerising place. Before you actually go to the grocery store, make a list of all the items that you need. It will help you to stay on track so that you don’t end up buying things which aren’t necessary.
Go to the farmer’s market whenever possible – The farmers market is a great place to get the local produce which is generally cheaper than what you get at the grocery store because there is no middle man involved.
Buy healthy food – Healthy food is always cheaper than junk food. So, not only is it going to be cheaper but it will also to better for your body.
Avoid shopping when you are hungry – If you go shopping when you are hungry, there is a higher probability of buying food that you don’t really need. When you feel hungry, you will practically feel like buying anything that looks even slightly appealing to your eyes so the the bill can go much above what you had originally planned.
Purchase seasonal fruits and vegetables – Seasonal fruits and vegetables are cheaper because they are in season at that particular point of time. When you buy preserved fruits and vegetables, they cost more due to the added preservatives.
Shop with a calculator – Use a calculator to keep yourself updated with the total cost of the items that are in your cart. Also, a calculator will help you to calculate the price of individual units when buying in bulk.
Use saving coupons – Many grocery stores and departmental stores accept saving coupons. You can collect them from magazines, newspapers and even the store itself.
Try to buy only groceries from a grocery store – Avoid buying medicines, feeding bottles and other such items from a grocery store. Buying medicines from a drug store will be cheaper.
Purchase items that are on sale – Every grocery store has something or the other that is on sale and if the product is on your list, go to the aisle that displays the items on sale and buy it. However, do check the manufacturing date and expiration date before you buy them. If there is something you use regularly or would have bought later that’s not on your list but is on sale, buying the item will save you some money in the long run.
Avoid shopping with your children – When you go to a grocery store with your children, they always want to buy a lot of things. So, to avoid overspending on candies, chocolates and other things they might want, don’t take them with you.
Substitute meat proteins – Meat is very expensive but the protein it has is important for your body. Every once in a while, substitute meat with tofu, beans, eggs and legumes. They are inexpensive and they will give you the much needed protein. Vegetarian food is very nutritious and economical so once a week, you can make eggs, beans or tofu instead of meat. Red meat is not very good for your heart so when you skip it and opt for beans, it will also help you to maintain your cholesterol level.
Buy food that you will use – Don’t waste your money on food that you will never use. When you buy something at the grocery store, make sure you have a use for it. To avoid wasting food, you can plan your meals in advance and shop accordingly.
Avoid buying prepackaged items – Prepackaged and sliced vegetables cost more than the regular ones so if you have time and you can wash and cut your own vegetables, avoid buying them from the store.
Purchase in bulk – Bulk purchases are a great way to save money. Generally, Whenever you buy a carton of something, it costs less than single units. However, avoid buying perishable items in bulk because if you can’t use them in time, you will end up wasting them.
Read the receipt carefully – Once you get the receipt, check it to make sure that they have given you discounts wherever applicable. The staff can be very forgetful when it comes to these things and since its your money, make it your responsibility.
5. College Students Can Save Money By
Say ‘no’ to debts – If you are trying to save money in college, avoid borrowing money from people because you will have to return it sooner or later which can be difficult with a fixed budget and avoid giving money to people because you might never see it again.
Prioritizing your needs before your wants – Learn to distinguish between things that you need and things you just want. Focus on getting the things that you need such as books, stationary and money for food before you spend on things that you want like a new pair of jeans you saw the other day or nice perfume.
Using the college library for borrowing books – If you need reference books to do a project or an assignment, go to the library and borrow it from there instead of buying it and spending money on something you can get for free. If you want to watch a movie, borrow a DVD from your library if you can. You can also borrow these things from friends and there isn’t much point in buying something when you can borrow and use it.
Buying used commodities whenever possible – If you need textbooks or furniture for your new room, buy used ones. If you need to buy a car, go to a dealer that deals in second hand cars. Avoid buying new items and spending more money when the used ones can be just as useful.
Staying in the company of people who can relate to you – The most difficult thing to do in college is to save money when you hang around with people who don’t feel the need to save. Peer pressure can act in a big way to make you spend more than you can so hang out with people you can relate to. Not only will you spend less money when you are with them but they can also help you to earn some extra money by getting you a part time job.