Saving money is quintessential to living a good life. But that doesn’t mean it’s much fun.
As the recession hurdles towards us, it’s important to have iron-clad financial habits to help us stay afloat.
Below are some of the cool and creative ways I’ve found to save money, outside the typical strategies you hear. It’s quite a long list so I’ve divided them up into categories depending on the type of person you are. Sounds good? Let’s go!
It’s not how much you earn but often how much you spend that leads you into the red. I know that’s certainly a problem of mine. These tips will help you curb that nasty spending habit.
My addiction was to fast food. How did I kick the habit? I would charge myself for buying food.
Whenever I have the urge to buy fast food, I would transfer that money into my savings account. If I still chose to buy the food, then I’d effectively be buying it twice! Pretty soon, buying fast food became insanely expensive and no longer worth the small pleasure. Plus I managed to save a small pot of money in the process.
What are you overspending on? Could you do a similar system with your spending addiction?
This may sound obvious but it’s not as obvious as you may think. Many people set savings goals on a surface level.
When I was saving for an apartment, I dug down deep for the reason: “I’m saving for my independence”.
Then each frivolous spending became a threat to me finally getting my independence! When that switch was made in my brain, it took me just 3 months to save the deposit on the apartment I live in now. Get clear on the reason behind your goal and it can work wonders.
Prepaid debit cards are great for gaining more control over your spending. Simply transfer the amount you want to spend for the month onto the card and only use that card – that way, you won’t be able to spend beyond your means.
Once you reach your limit, that’s it! It’s quite strict but helps you whip your spending into shape.
Literally freezing your credit card in a glass of water is an old/school trick. It’ll take at least 24hours to defrost your card. Use that time to do more research and consider whether you really need that purchase. 9 times out of 10 you can go without it and put your credit card back in the freezer.
Technology can save us when our humble brains fail us. For the techies and phone lovers, this is for you:
Budgeting apps are game-changers. Not only do they appeal to our phone addictions, but they also gamify money saving. There are certain budgeting apps that are more suitable for different financial goals – some that are totally free to use, and others that charge a monthly fee. For details – check out our write-up on all the best budgeting apps.
Choose wisely, trust the system and they could change your life!
I’m sure you’ve had that strange bill from a subscription you don’t even remember you had. Now’s the time to clean up your subscriptions. Cancel all the things you don’t need right now. You can always sign up again later if you miss it!
Some budgeting apps and banks allow you to create a direct debit order for your savings. All you need to do is tell your bank or app how much you want to automatically save per month and when. The best time is when your paycheck arrives. Then your money will automatically move to savings every month like magic! It’s way easier to save money if it doesn’t hit your checking account.
Discount code tech comes in a few forms. There are apps, plugins, and sites you can use to get money off your purchases. Just don’t fall into the trap of buying more because there’s a discount code!
Not all savings accounts are built the same. If you can place a metaphorical digital lock on your savings, do it! It’ll stop you from accessing the honey jar before you need it.
For example, I use PayPal as my hard-to-reach digital place. It works because money transfers from my PayPal account to my checking account aren’t instant. That 24 – 48hour buffer creates a barrier between me and my savings, which makes me think twice about withdrawals.
If you suffer from FOMO heavily and want to get your financial life in order without compromising your social life, this section is for you!
Accountability is a science-backed way of achieving your goals. And who doesn’t enjoy saving money? There are tons of cool savings challenges on the internet. Supporting each other in achieving your financial goals is an awesome way to strengthen your bond with your friends.
One of my favorite pastimes is a good swap session. Shopping your friends’ closet can lead to finding unique pieces and scratching that itch to buy new clothes. This technique works for anything that you actively collect with others. You can trade plants, jewelry, makeup, shoes, video games, accessories, gym equipment – you name it! Save money and save the planet by grabbing second-hand stuff from your loved ones.
As a social person, you don’t want to compromise heading out but there are more economical ways to travel. Carpooling is an excellent way to still enjoy going out while saving on gas and having more fun than public transport. Bonus points if you can create a killer carpool playlist!
If your friends are partial to a bottomless brunch or pricey rooftop soiree, how about becoming the host of simpler at-home versions? Host BYOB (Bring Your Own Booze) BBQs at your house or board game tournament picnics in the local park. If you can initiate creative free events, you’ll save yourself (and everyone else) a couple of bucks on your social life!
You’re the type who loves notebooks, spreadsheets, and to-do lists. You just haven’t figured out some solid financial habits yet! This section is for you:
I tried the envelope method in college when I was in a particularly complicated financial hole. It goes like this:
It makes you feel like you’re in the 1950s but it’s pretty effective. No cards allowed.
Meal planning isn’t for everyone. If this technique works for you, you can have some serious fun designing new recipe combinations for your week. Meal planning helps you save money by helping you resist the urge to buy takeout. You can also choose economical ingredients that work for many meals in your plan. And no, your meal plan doesn’t need to be an unseasoned chicken breast and brown rice every day. You can still be creative while keeping to a food budget – there are plenty of YouTube, recipe social media profiles or blogs to the rescue.
If you’re a technophobe, you’ll love the comforting image of a piggy bank sitting on your counter. That familiar clang as you drop in your loose change when you come home will become the soundtrack to your finances growing. For optimal results, I suggest keeping your piggy bank untouched for 6months to a year – or at least until it’s too full to fit any more coins!
These are the big and small ways you can save money if you find savings extremely tough to accumulate on your own.
Weird tip for an article about saving money right? Well, let me explain. Remember that fast food addiction? It came from anxiety. Many overspending habits and addictions are masking anxiety. Getting to the route of your problem can transform your finances as well as your daily mental health.
There is nothing quite like that familiar sneaky feeling that you’ve lost your wallet at home. You have no money – what will you do! Contrary to popular belief, you do not need money every single time you leave the house. In fact, being more selective about when you need your wallet will help you be more intentional with your spending.
If you’re a repeat offender, credit cards are a minefield. The best thing to do is to cancel the card completely but you may be working on your credit score. With that in mind, try cutting up your physical cards instead so they are unusable and you have no access to the numbers. That way you can continue to pay down the balance with no fear of added spending.
This is an excellent question and one I’ve often wondered about myself. While it’s painfully dry to restrict your spending when you’ve lived a financially risqué life so far, there are a couple of ways of making all of this much more fun. Here are three:
I purposefully wrote this article in a way that could start you saving money straight away. Most of these tips are actionable enough to do right now. So choose your favorite, put your cellphone away, and get started. When it comes to building financial stability, there’s no time like the present!
Olivia De Santos is a freelance writer, wedding planner and entrepreneur from London, UK. She's a world traveller, wordsmith, film buff, mental health advocate and shea butter enthusiast.