Six Unique Money-Saving Tips
We can all benefit from learning more ways to save money. Check out our six unique money-saving tips. You’ll be impressed with how much you can save over time.
1. Don’t Buy on Impulse
One big way to save money is to avoid impulse spending. If you’re thinking about making a large purchase, give yourself a few weeks to think about it. If you forget about the purchase after a week, you’ll have saved yourself a lot of money. If you still want whatever the item is, you’ll have saved enough money to afford it.
“Wait before you buy” is the advice many experts offer to avoid falling into the trap of impulse buying. If waiting is difficult, try channeling the impatience into something productive. Go for a run, or clean your room or apartment in order to clear your head, so you can think about the purchase more objectively.
One expert even suggests keeping a list of inadvisable purchases from your past, so you have a reminder of times when you should have been more cautious about buying.
A related way to save money is to pay in cash. People tend to be more protective of their money when they have to part with actual dollar bills. There is no “pain of paying” when you simply swipe a debit or credit card, or pay online. By forcing yourself to pay in cash, you can cut out on a lot of impulse buying.
2. Cut the Cable
Another tip to save money is to become one of the many people who have cut their cable subscriptions. Cable TV was once a cultural mainstay, but with streaming options and free media available from your public library, you can save upwards of $300 a month. For many people, not cycling through hundreds of unwatched channels looking for something that catches their eye is a time-saver too.
Ask your internet service provider about bundling your internet and streaming plans since many offer discounts for customers who combine their services.
Your local library is a great source of media and entertainment, and all for free. Even if your library branch doesn’t have what you’re looking for, you can simply order it through your library system.
With the right smart device and app, you don’t even have to leave your house. You can browse your library’s digital selection, and watch a movie or read a book right from your laptop, phone, or tablet. One person discovered that they saved $1,384.23 that year by getting material through their library than if they had paid to purchase those items.
3. Go Thrifting
A basic way to save money is to go thrift shopping. The Minnesota State University Reporter called it “a great way to save money and the environment” because secondhand clothes fit any budget, and it saves clothes from being thrown into a landfill.
Local stores or chain stores like Goodwill are great places to find everything from loungewear to formal wear in a variety of styles and sizes. You can also look for furniture and household items in thrift shops.
Some people have even made money out of thrift hunting, where they buy items at thrift stores and then sell them for higher prices than they purchased them for. Others simply enjoy thrift shopping for fun, getting more from the experience than if they bought their clothes online or in a department store.
4. Automate and Save
Automating your savings is a huge way to save money. Simply creating a monthly transfer from your checking account to your savings account will remove the temptation to use that money on something unnecessary. It ensures that you continually build up your savings in the background.
This is important because if left to their own devices, most people would rather spend money than save it. A prudent savings decision does not compare to the immediate satisfaction of making a purchase. It is a psychological phenomenon known as “present bias,” where we are more inclined to do something that returns a result immediately than to make an investment for the future.
Automating your savings limits the damage that present bias can do because you will have that much less money in your checking account and that much more money in your savings, where it can gain interest and be used in an emergency or for a special occasion. Current’s Saving Pods are a great way to slowly build up some savings in an incredibly easy manner.
5. Shop Smarter
Couponing may seem like a lot of work, but you might be surprised at how much money it can save you.
Parents magazine notes that with grocery store apps, you don’t have to meticulously cut out tons of coupons from weekly mailers. Instead, you can create an online shopping list, and curate it by coupons and other specials (like a deal that lets you buy one and get another of the same item for free, or where enough rewards points entitle you to one free purchase). Alternatively, there are unique browser extensions that can find deals for you.
Couponing is smarter shopping, says Parents, and that can be a “lifesaver” if you’re on a budget. By planning out your grocery trips, you can save money every time you go shopping.
6. Ride the Bus
Taking public transit (the bus, train, or subway) can make a huge dent in your expenses. You won’t have to pay for gas (the national average gas price is $3.35 a gallon) and parking wherever you go, to say nothing of monthly car insurance, car registration renewal, toll fees, occasional tickets, and regular servicing.
Metro Magazine found that people who take public transit instead of driving can save an average of $850 a month. Additionally, people who use the bus report enjoying the extra time on their hands to read and listen to music and podcasts. Buses also cut down on carbon emissions, which is its own way of saving money.
In 2016, the American Public Transportation Association calculated the cost benefits of using buses and subways in 20 big cities, factoring in everything from commute time to the cost of gas. In New York City, for example, taking the bus saved $1,208 a month. In San Francisco, people could save $1,071 a month.
If having a car is a necessity for you to get to work or other commitments, try using public transit on weekends. Alternatively, consider carpooling or using a local park and ride (commuter parking) system, so you don’t have to use your car as much.
Small Changes Can Have a Big Impact
By incorporating even just a couple of these unique money-saving tips into your daily life, you can see a big difference in your monthly spending. At the end of the day, this leaves more money for you to put toward bigger items, to use to pay down debt, or to build up an emergency fund.
12 Ways to Avoid Impulse Buying. (October 2012). AARP.
Does It Matter Whether You Pay With Cash or a Credit Card? (July 2016). Psychology Today.
5 Steps to Cut the Cord, Ditch Cable, and Save Money. (May 2019). Forbes.
Stop Paying So Much For Cable TV. It’s Time to Cut the Cord. (December 2021). CNET.
Libraries Are Telling People How Much Money They Save by Not Buying Books. (August 2019). Vice.
Thrift Shopping: A Great Way to Save Money and the Environment. (February 2021). The Minnesota State University Reporter.
Goodwill Hunting: Arizona Woman Turns Thrift Shopping Into Lucrative Side Hustle. (February 2021). FOX10 Phoenix.
The Psychology of Money: Saving and Spending Habits. (June 2021). Current.
Automating Your Savings Will Help You Save More—Here's the Psychological Reason Why. (August 2021). CNBC.
Grocery Coupons Can Actually Save You Money—Here's How. (July 2021). Parents.
Public Transit Users Can Save $10,160 Annually, Says APTA Report. (June 2018). METRO Magazine.
Here Are 8 Easy Ways to Save Money by Going Green. (June 2021). CNBC.
How to Go Green on a Budget—And Actually Save More Money. (April 2019). NBC News.
Gas Prices Are Rising—Try These 8 Strategies to Save Money at the Pump. (January 2022). CNBC.
Economic Impact of Public Transportation Investment. (April 2020). American Public Transportation Association.
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