How to save money?

In our current lifestyle we have our needs and wants; yet, our wants usually outweigh the needs.  Psychologically we start to develop habits where if there is something we see we want to buy that item.  There is the urge and temptation which work on our psyche that it is difficult to resist and then we fall into the spending trap.  However, we have the ability to overcome and control our habits through self-discipline and understanding our limits.  The method we need to incorporate is by saving money.  Even if we are in debt situations, we can still save our money and reduce the wants in life.  It will lead to sacrifices but it is worth it to learn how to become financially independent and conscious of where our money goes and where we need to put it towards.  I will provide some of my saving methods that I am going through and to share from my learning experience.

1. Pay yourself first

I actually learned this from reading books as well as advice from friends.  Whenever you get your paycheck, take a small portion; what you can afford; and put it into a savings account or a Tax Deferred Savings account.  As you do this, the money will accumulate and the important thing is to forget about it and leave it until you really need it or build up a nest egg for future retirement.  I know that there will be temptations to take some money out but we have to keep a disciplined mindset that the money saved is money for you and your family.

2. Use coupons, online rebates, earn rewards when shopping

Whether going to a grocery store to buy food items, there will be places where they offer coupons to save the extra 25 cents, 50 cents, $1 or even $5.  Individually, these coupons do not seem like much but all together added up to a month’s or year’s time it adds up to a significant amount of savings.  Anything counts to keep that extra money for future needs.  There are also coupons that you can get online and print out, rebates such as Ebates to receive a certain percentage back when buying online products in the form of a check.  If using a credit card to earn points for free grocery, ensure that you use it wisely and once you spend with a credit card then be extremely diligent in your repayment method.  I have a MasterCard offered to me from a grocery company where I would get 1 times the points if I use it outside or 3 times if  I shop at the grocery store or any chain stores owned by it.  From my experience, I have saved so much and accumulated points fast to get $30 or $40 worth of free groceries.

3. Volunteer for overtime at work

If you are working at a company and they are looking for people to work overtime in your department, take that opportunity as this will give you more money to set aside and save towards.

4. Cutting extra services that you do not need

Whether it is a cell phone bill, television bill, car or home insurance rates, there are ways to lower the price to save money.  With the case of cell phone or television, you can change the plan to a lower one if you are not using the extra data or minutes or watching premium channels.  If you have a service from one company, you can ask them about a bundle rate to reduce the monthly cost.  There is so much competition that you can research online of companies and compare their offers to what you currently have.  The last thing a company wants is to lose customers (especially customers that have been with them for a long time) and only you can negotiate on reducing your payment and letting them know of the other offers you have found.  Look for overlaps and redundant products or packages that are encompassing so that you can eliminate overlap and overpaying unnecessarily.  I have had experience as well as my family of our current television/internet/tv company where it went up to the manager and then having a discount for 6 to 12 months.  I was able to reduce my cell phone monthly plan as I was not using the full data plan as well as the minutes.  At the same time I have been with my cell phone provider for over 12 years.  With my car/home insurance, I was with an insurance company where I had both my car and home bundled.  I also have a CAA plus membership for roadside assistance and emergency services in the case of my car breaking down.  I shopped around online and had a discussion my colleague who was a former CAA employee (equivalent to AAA in the United States).  He provided me tips on how I can get extra discounts from my membership by bundling my car, home insurance.  When I called a CAA representative, I not only got the discount but my savings went up and spending went down 50%.  My sister had a cell phone plan that cost her $100 to $150 payment (depending on the usage and overcharges).  In a squeeze, she had to pinch pennies and discovered a cell phone plan with the same provider.  All that she had to do was change her habits to text more and to only use WiFi.  Her savings were about $1,100 in that year.

5. Sell miscellaneous items from home

There is a saying that one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.  If you have many items at home which you do not need or are being used, there are ways to get money for them to add to your savings.  Popular methods such doing a garage sale during the weekend is an option and there are online sites such as Kijiji or eBay which can gain exposure and even sell for more than you are offering.  

6. Take advantage of energy saving products and times

If you use items such as a stove, microwave, washer, dish washer, all these use electricity and natural gas which will cost you when you get the bill.  Check your local hydro company via their website or inserts on your bill as they should have energy peak saving hours.  Using house hold items during low peak hours will significantly save you and reduce your energy bill.  

Any household appliance that you do not use and are either on standby or sleep mode will still use electricity and should be completely shut off.  

If you have a power adapter with multiple plugs connected but the items are not used (i.e. TV, video game console, computer, printer) will also use electricity through the adaptor.  Consider turning off the power adaptor.

If you are using light, consider changing to LED light bulbs as they tend to use less energy.

For heat or air conditioning, set it at a reasonable temperature so that it will heat or cool the home without continually setting them on.  If using a digital thermostat, there should be a program or timer that you can set the temperature to keep it at.  Now with the age of smart devices, one can now set or change the temperature at home; turn on or off devices at home.  The smart adaptors can be purchased at electronic or hardware stores. 

What if I have debt?

When we have debt, it will be hard to save as first you have to pay the debt off.  However, the things said above can help to accelerate paying your debt.  It can also be a simple motivator.  Cutting back on services we use gives us the opportunity to be able to pay the debt off sooner.

I would love to hear from you about your saving strategies, tips, other saving methods. Please leave me a comment below.  Please note that I will also update this page to include more saving tips as I am going through my financial independence goals.

10 thoughts on “Saving”

  1. Thank you for all of your great advice! I have been working hard to pay down debt, by using some of the tips that you have provided. They really work, especially cutting extra services. I find that if I talk to my cell phone provider, I can get all kinds of deals that are not available on the website, and the same went for my internet. That and pay yourself first are the two things that have positively impacted my debt.

    1. Hello Irma,

      I find that we have so many extra services tacked into our cell phone plans, auto/home insurance, home telephone, home television that we do not even use and could be put towards debt. We have to look at each service we have and then look at what can be reduced and then ask ourself if we use it or not. Every month cell phone providers come up with deals, promotions, changes to their plan which make ours grandfathered. They will not tell you about it until you contact them and then come up with a new plan saving yourself $20 or $30 per month. That is a lot of savings. Once the debt has been paid off then that will only make paying yourself even worth while.

  2. Thank you for these awesome tips! I have contacted my cell phone/internet provider and negotiated some much better rates for myself. So doing that and paying myself first have been the best ways for me to improve my finances.

    1. That is great news Irma. Keep it up. Negotiating your cell phone service is just the first start. You may want to call annually as prices change. The best deal in 2016 may not be the best deal for 2017. Check again in 2018 to see if there has been any improvement. Competition drives prices down. So keep any eye on it. Great work Irma. A quick phone call from the comfort of your couch can really make an impact on your wallet.

  3. Hi, thanks for the tips. I enjoyed reading the advice. It’s true about cutting extra services that are not needed. I applied this to my cell phone last year. I was always one for having the latest phone when it came out but I changed that last year when I actually down-sized my phone! It’s not that I can’t afford it, to be honest I wanted a phone with a better battery and the cheaper phone had that. I also cut more services when I canceled my cable TV subscription and I now save around $50 per month.

    1. Hello Craig,

      Thank you for your comments. I am really glad that you are saving money by cutting unneeded services. Why pay for services that is hardly used when the savings can go more into your pocket instead of the corporate’s pocket. The extra money can be put into a savings account, put towards retirement, putting it towards an investment where it will grow or just having the extra money to be used on occasion for leisure activities or outings.

  4. Nice read. I can definitely resonate with this.

    You see, when I first started working, I wanted to spend every dime of what I was making because I felt that I deserved it. So I would shop every week and often times I would finish all my money even before the next payday that I had to borrow from my friends. This went on for 5 years which earned me the title of “One Day Millionaire” from my friends and colleagues (ha ha).

    Late last year, I found myself reading up on books about saving and investing, planning for your retirement and all, that’s when I realized I made a big mistake not saving anything. Had I learned all these before, I would have been well off today. But I do not want to live in the past so I told myself it’s not yet too late to start.

    Today I am proud of myself for practicing four (1-4) of your saving methods. Every payday, I always set aside a fixed amount of money for my savings and investments. I am building up my emergency fund (bank savings account) and at the same time putting some of my money into my stock market investments. I seldom use coupons but I always shop when the items I like are on sale. I am also working extra hours in my job to augment my monthly expenses and have cut down on my internet and phone usage in order to save some money to buy gifts on special occasions.

    I was heavily indebted before because I did not know how to properly managed my finances but I’m glad I came across so many books about saving and money management and learned to apply them little by little. I am now debt free and do not have a credit card because I prefer to use my debit card for online transactions.

    It was hard at first but like what you said, it will all be worth it in the end. It takes a lot of discipline and motivation so thank you for sharing this article, it really feels good to know that I’m on the right track to financial freedom and independence.

    1. Hello Alyssana,

      I am glad to hear of your progress. What I most hear often is that when one has not started to save, they think that it is too late and then that negative thinking will stick to their mindset. One can start saving at any age and all it takes is initiative and will. Even though one will have to put more into their savings/retirement, it will still be possible to make the required goal. With regards to credit cards, it is fine to have them but not many (i.e. maximum of 3 credit cards), but one needs to discipline themselves on how they use it and when to use it. Thank goodness for the internet as well as financial books written by authors that try to help the average person in dealing with debt and budgeting strategically. The one book that I really like and it is under my reviews section is ‘Soldier of Finance’ written by Jeff Rose where he guides the reader to treat their financial resources as a training bootcamp, following strict guidelines, reciting the financial freedom oath and treating debt as the enemy. Everyone has to pay attention of where their money goes and ensure that they develop a habit to live within their means and in certain cases below their means to be financially stable.

    1. Thank you Margit. Saving is one of the most important factors in keeping a stable lifestyle. We have to balance our needs from our wants. If the want is not important and if we have debt, put it towards debt; if we do not or no longer have debt then put it towards savings.

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