Do you want to know how to save money without feeling like budgeting is a burden? No, you don’t necessarily have to keep track of every penny, you can simply go on a financial diet!
OK, hear us out, we haven’t gone crazy! You can apply a diet trick to your finances in order to save up some cash. It’s quite simple: cut down things you won’t even notice you’re missing. For example, you could add less sugar to your coffee, replace carbonated drinks with water, and so on.
Similarly, there are things you can stop spending money on without making immense changes to your everyday life, making saving effortless. Over a 12 month period, you’ll definitely notice all the extra money you’ve managed to stash away, either for that trip you’ve meaning to take, your retirement fund, or those big-ticket items that you’ve been putting off for years now.
1. Gym Membership
Now, more than ever, it’s time to reconsider that gym membership. Working out in a closed space where people are breathing hard and touching various types of equipment may not be the best idea due to the coronavirus pandemic.
If you haven’t given your gym membership up just yet because you’ve been holding on to hope, now’s the time to do it. After all, you can sign back up once all of this is over. In the meantime, look for other, safer ways to keep fit at home- trust us, the internet has become a treasure trove of ideas for this sort of thing as of late.
If you truly need equipment in order to work out, check out second-hand pro equipment on Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace and stop holding on to a gym membership you’re not planning on using any time soon!
2. Warehouse Club Membership
Do you regularly shop at warehouse clubs? Did you feel a little bit pressured by friends or family to buy a membership? If the answer to the first question is no and to the second question it’s yes… then we’re sorry, but you have to let that membership go.
Think about it. Why line the pockets of warehouse clubs without enjoying any of the perks? Remember, you can still shop at Costco without being a member, and if you only so so very rarely, then it’s worth giving up on your membership once and for all!
3. Bottled Water
If you can get water from home or from the office, there’s literally no reason for you to buy bottled water ever again. It’s an unnecessary expense that you can forget about. The only reason you’d want to purchase bottled water is to have some on the go, right?
Well, the solution is much more affordable. Getting a leakproof reusable water bottle will have you covered. Refill anywhere there’s a tap and you’re good to go. Over time, and especially if you keep track of all the water bottles you would have bought, you’ll see how much money you’ll save and never go back to this old habit!
4. Rental Car Insurance
When you’re in a situation in which you need a rental car, most places will insist on getting rental car insurance too. First off, you should know that what you’re buying is not really insurance but a collision damage waiver.
The real question is if you really need it. Sure, when you’re about to drive around places you’re most likely unaccustomed to, it may seem like a very good idea. But the truth is, your credit card may already have you covered. Plus, if you have adequate insurance on your car at home, you probably won’t need the collision damage waiver.
So, before making any additional purchases, make sure that you absolutely need it- though chances are you don’t!
5. Gift Wrap
Ah, gift wrap… the one thing we buy just because it looks pretty, only to throw it out later without a second thought. For years, we too have given in to this craze until we started asking ourselves… why? Why are we wasting extra money on gift wrap?
Here’s a novel thought! Nobody cares what their gift is wrapped in. Trust us, it’s what’s on the inside that matters. So stick to non-expensive options such as newspapers or magazines. Old maps and unused wallpaper also works just fine- pretty much anything you can wrap around your present will do as long as you don’t have to spend extra money on it!
6. Magazine Subscriptions
If you’re one of the few people that still keep up with magazine subscriptions, it’s understandable that you may not want to give up on them. Whether you enjoy leafing through National Geographic or Vogue, it’s time to rethink these purchases.
You may not be aware that there are ways in which you can read your favorite magazines for free. For example, if you have Amazon Prime or Apple News+, you have access to magazines as part of your subscription.
Also, your local library may already be subscribed to a lot of magazines. You could even gain access to them online. To check, either call or look on their website!
7. Auto-club Membership
Do you have an American Automobile Association membership? It can be lifesavers in a lot of situations, especially if you’re out in the middle of nowhere and need a tow. Other people enjoy the perks of their hotel and travel discount.
The question is if you really need the membership, at least for a time. If you’re not taking advantage of all their benefits, then it’s probably not worth it. Plus, depending on your car insurance, you may already have free tows under certain circumstances. Some cars may come with three years of 24-hour emergency service. Does yours?
Check and then double-check that you really need your AAA membership and then decide whether or not you’re throwing money away for no reason!
8. Cable TV
What, you haven’t cut the cord already? Many households have long since given up on cable TV thanks to the overabundance of streaming services. If you pay more than $100 on cable then it’s time to rethink this purchase, especially if you’re only holding on to it due to live TV programming. Well, have we got news for you!
With Hulu, Philo, or Sling TV you’ll get live streaming TV without paying extra for stuff you’ll probably never watch!
Some people say that we’re closing to coming full circle though since a lot of companies are now starting their own streaming services. Don’t fall in the trap of subscribing to all of them. Pick a few- preferably one or two that offer different types of content and you should be set!
9. Late Fees
How often do you forget to pay some of your monthly utility bills? It may not happen all the time, but once or twice is enough to make this a waste of money, particularly thanks to late fees. It could happen to you by accident, especially if you’re going through a particularly stressful time.
The safest thing you can do is simply put everything on autopay. For a while, you won’t even have to worry about your bills, though from time to time it’s good to keep an eye on them, especially when it comes to bills that change every month. Still, at least you won’t be paying anything extra, meaning you’ll have saved more money in the long run.
Jumping on the autopay bandwagon is simple, free and it shouldn’t take you more than a few hours just to make sure that everything is set up and working as it should!
10. Streaming Services
We just covered streaming services not too long ago, but we feel it’s time to really dissect an issue that a lot of us have. So many companies are following in the steps of Netflix, HBO Now, and Amazon Prime that it’s hard to keep track of them all.
If you want to offset the cost of cable then you should pick one or two services that you know you’ll enjoy the most. Whatever you do, don’t sign up for all of them. These costs can go up quickly, so don’t fall into the trap of signing up for every new service that comes out!
11. Food Delivery
Food delivery services have been crucial to us lately, especially due to the coronavirus pandemic. We understand that nowadays it’s difficult to not give in to the benefits of ordering food at home, especially if you’re overworked or worried about exposing yourself due to numerous shopping trips.
But delivery fees and driver tips can really add up and the only way you can offset these costs if you cook more at home. Try to make one big shopping trip and stack up on everything you need. Then, cook big batches and freeze leftovers whenever you can. Yeah, there is a learning curb, especially if you’re not used to making big meals and making your food last, but it’s worth the extra money you’ll be saving!
12. New Books
Trust me, this was one of the hardest things I’ve had to give up on in order to save money. If you’re a book lover then getting new books is practically second nature, so how could you possibly resist?
Well, getting your hands on books for free isn’t a new concept! You can probably find good books, new and old, at your local library. Most also have programs for new releases, but it’s best to make sure ahead of time, so always check their online portals first.
By sticking to just borrowing books for a while you’ll save quite a bit of money. What helped me especially is always taking note of what I would have paid if I bought them on my own. At the end of the year, I was shocked to see the numbers and it made me continue!
13. Landline Phones
Are you still clinging to your landline? This is a ‘problem’ that many households have, especially our parents and grandparents. But if everyone you know has a cell phone, there’s no use in holding on to your old landline.
There are some instances that still might require a landline. For example, if you have younger kids with no cellphones that may stay alone at home for a while, making sure you have an open line of communication with them is crucial. Also, if you live in an area where the cell reception is iffy, then giving up on your landline might not be a good idea.
But it all comes down to your needs and your personal situation. If there’s no reason why you should still be paying for it then it’s time to say goodbye!
14. Brand-name Products
You’re probably tired of hearing this from us over and over again, but it’s crucial that you learn to give up on brand-name products. If you think it’s difficult then you’ve already fallen trap to one of the oldest marketing tricks in the book: you’ve been convinced that nothing can compare to your favorite brand’s products even if you haven’t necessarily put this theory to the test.
Labels are the first culprits. Big brand names have the money and resources to come up with colorful labels meant to attract you. They also have the money to ensure that when you’re shopping, their products are at eye level so that you won’t even think about looking up or down for alternatives.
Where you can, ignore brand names. It’s easier to start with non-food items and then slowly work your way up. Trust us, you won’t believe how much money you’ll manage to save in the long run!
Here’s a fun fact. Did you know that most people will give up a lot of luxuries in order to save money, but they’ll hardly ever give up on manicures and pedicures? If this statement resonates with you then it’s time to reconsider this splurge.
Now, we understand that this is a pick me up for a lot of people, and you don’t have to give up on this treat forever, but cutting back when you can, even for a short period of time, can really make a difference in your budget.
We also recommend trying to learn a few things at home by buying a good-quality manicure kit and watching YouTube videos!
16. Cleaning Products
You could save thousands of dollars on cleaning if you stick to DIY cleaning products. Big-name brands and their flashy commercials have convinced millions of people that if you don’t clean your house with their items, you’re basically unhygienic.
For the most part, using baking soda and vinegar will help clean every surface around the house. Most people also use lemon in order to add a fresh fragrance to their homes.
There are a ton of DIY tutorials for this kind of thing online. All it takes is one try for you to switch over to the financially efficient side!
There are a few instances in which a professional car wash makes sense. For example, if someone gets sick during a car ride, or if you spill your coffee all over your seats and cannot get the stains out.
For other needs, you can simply wash your car in your driveway and keep the extra dollars you’ve saved for yourself. Or if you’re really not a fan of this chore, we’re sure a neighborhood teen will do it for half the price of what they offer at the drive-thru.
18. Paper Towels
If you have pets or children, then giving up on paper towels might sound impossible. We hear you! But for everyone else, keeping a few handy cloths around the house is the way to go.
My mother used to just ‘make’ them out of old tee shirts, aka she just cut up squares which I’m sure she still uses to this day. This is not only efficient in terms of money but also easier on the environment. Just chuck them in the washing machine when you’re done cleaning and you’re done!
19. Premium Gas
Do you have a car that doesn’t require premium gas? If so, then why are you spending the extra money? You have to be careful at the pump and know what your car needs before spending all that cash.
Premium gas makes a lot of promises… it’s almost as though it can revive your car and make it feel brand new. But it’s really not worth it.
Make sure you’re using the right stuff that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg!
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