In a world where extreme wealth is shamelessly flaunted on social media, it’s difficult to remember that it’s the small things in life that bring true happiness. And the small ways you save money every day can lead to big savings.
Pinching pennies doesn’t have to be an unpleasant experience. Make a game out of saving money. Set daily objectives to make it easier to reach your long-term goals. Incorporating fun money saving tips into your life is a matter of forming new habits and tossing out your old, costly habits. Get started on your journey to daily budgeting by reading these good tips on how to save money.
Your budget roadmap
Before you begin any endeavor you need a plan. You wouldn’t head out on a road trip without first mapping out your journey with stops along the way and an end destination in mind. To be successful at saving money you must first sit down and establish a road map. Where are you going? How will you get there? And what’s the end goal?
You don’t have to set an unattainable savings goal. Make small budget changes like pledging to stop eating out as often or pay off your debt. Whatever your goal is, write it down and come up with a plan to reach it. The following fun money saving tips can help.
Fun money saving tips – cutting your daily expenses
The biggest expenses in any household are shelter, food and transportation, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Cut back on one of these expenses – or all – and you’re bound to see savings.
Where do you waste the most cash? Maybe you’re like most Americans who have been spending more on eating out and entertainment. Research conducted by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2014 to 2016 found that spending on eating out rose from $2,787 to $3,154. Money spent on entertainment also increased from $2,728 to $2,913 during that same time period.
Consider these tricks and other fun money saving tips to cut back on your discretionary spending:
Save $5 bills. Have you heard of the challenge where you pick a specific cash denomination and save it in an envelope or jar? The money challenge works like this: Assume you buy gas and you get back a $5 bill and $1 bills from the cashier. Put that $5 bill in a safe spot and keep doing that for a month or six months. Never keep a $5 in your wallet. It’s a fun game that will also save money. This can also work with a $1 bills.
Barter services. Are you a skilled baker, hairdresser or acupuncturist? Barter services with a friend or an associate. Instead of paying for your haircut, offer to swap services with your hairdresser. You’d be surprised to learn how many people barter regularly to save cash.
Cut subscriptions. Are those magazine subscriptions piling high month after month and you don’t have time to read them? Cancel any subscriptions or services you aren’t using. This includes cable, magazines or website domains you’ve been renewing since college “just in case.” A $19.99 subscription for a year may seem insignificant but if you’re not using it, you’re throwing money away.
Free outings. Test yourself to see how many weekends you can take advantage of free events in your town or city. See a free musical performance, listen to a book reading at your local library or take a free tour. Having fun doesn’t have to be expensive.
Brown bag it. You don’t have to be master chef to cook your own meals. You simply must be organized and plan out your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the entire week. Raid your pantry and refrigerator to see what you already have at home, and then only buy the essentials at the grocery store. Rather than going out to eat with friends, meet at your place to cook dinner. It helps to also socialize with other people who want to budget.
Use less energy. Are you wasting money and energy at home? The U.S. Department of Energy suggests setting your thermostat to 68 degrees during the day or when someone is home, and turning it down at night. If you don’t already have one, install a programmable thermostat. Change your incandescent lights to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Also turn off your computer when you’re done and unplug your chargers. Another fun money saving tip: Use your microwave or convection oven instead of the stove.
Doing this will allow you to identify where you’re spending unnecessarily. Are you spending money on a cable bill when you mostly stream movies and TV shows? Are you buying fancy coffee drinks every morning when you can make free coffee at work? Eliminating a $3.95 whipped coffee drink every weekday will save you $948 a year. Changing your daily habits leads to big long-term savings.
What do you do to save a couple of bucks here and there? Think you’re going to try the hide the $5 game? Let us know in the comments section.
To save even more money, visit AAA.com/Discounts.