It doesn't matter whether you've got a pretty healthy bank balance or you're inundated with debt. We're all constantly looking for ways to save money each month. If you're not used to cutting back, though, it can be something of a culture shock. Don't panic. We've all been guilty of frivolous spending at one time or another. The most important thing is to take the first steps to help you save more money.
That's why I've compiled this list of some of my favorite (and most effective) cost cutting methods that I use all the time. This blog was built on the concept of sharing, which is why I think these will go a long way to helping you take back control of your financial situation.
The first thing you'll notice when reading through some of these is that few of them are going to yield dramatic and immediate results. When it comes to smart budgeting, that's not always the point. What we're trying to achieve here is scaling back a little each month with an eye on long-term financial security. Not all of these tips will apply to you, but even utilizing just a few of them could help you towards putting something aside for a rainy day.
Earn From Your Groceries
No doubt at this point in your life, you're pretty settled on your grocery store of choice. You know the layout, it's conveniently located, and you've grown accustomed to their products. But are you getting anything back for your brand loyalty? I'm talking about reward schemes here, which are growing more and more common amongst retailers. By signing up for the service, you can earn points every time you shop. Eventually, you'll have enough points to cash in on a free shop.
Switch Up Bank Accounts
The same principle as above. You're probably still sticking with the same bank that you settled on in your younger years, unless the relationship ended on bad terms. Changing banks can sometimes be a bit of a hassle, but it could be in your best interest. Look around to see if other banks could provide you with better deals, higher interest rates, better credit options, and the like. Your savings could increase dramatically over time with the right bank.
Avoid the Hoard
Throwing out our old and unwanted items seems to be against human nature for some reason. When we've spent our hard-earned money on something, it becomes difficult to part with it, even when it's outstayed its welcome. Try and buck this trend and sell all your old clothes, games, and furniture. You probably won't get much for them, but it'll give your savings a little bump and make your house tidier in the process.
Get Energy Efficient
We've all had it drummed into us by now about the importance of going green, but the benefits are not just on the environment. Even something as simple as switching out your regular light bulbs for eco-friendly ones will mean saving on your utility bills. You can also get paid in cash for recycling, so that may be something worth looking into.
Cut the Credit
If you're in debt, you're never going to get out it while you have a never ending list to pay back. Stop using your credit card. Cut it up if you have to. Only buy things you can afford to pay for upfront. That way, you'll avoid incurring further debt and reduce your monthly expenses. Instead, look at using discount codes to make purchases less strenuous on your bank balance. Discountrue has a wide variety of codes for tons of different brands from Target to Kohl's.
Over time, we seem to accrue an awful lot of monthly payments. More often than not, we're still paying for subscription services we don't really use anymore. Analyze your monthly output and determine what you can afford to cut loose. If you still have a magazine subscription coming in and don't have the time to read it anymore, phone up and cancel! Likewise, if you find yourself only booting up Netflix on very rare occasions, it would be cheaper to rent movies when you want to watch them.
Convenience food is not only bad for your health, but it also takes a huge dent out of your wallet too. Put down the phone and the take out menu and get yourself in the kitchen. You'll be doing your body a world of good, and saving money in the process. Likewise, switch out cans of soda for filtered tap water.