Whether you live on a salary that barely gets you through the month, or you earn millions, the habit of saving money and adapting for different ways to save money is essential for your long-term financial stability and ultimately, financial freedom.
Effective ways to save money
How does one save more—or even some—money? Most people do it by using one or two methods and simply can’t think of more. And some people don’t do it at all!
Whatever the case is with you, these 20 Awesome Ways To Save Money will open your eyes for at least a few possibilities you haven’t thought of, and ultimately make you richer.
1. Keep a budget and spend less than what you make
One of the basic rules in business finance works great for personal finance as well. The main problem of people who end up with too much month at the end of their money is that: they simply don’t know where all their money goes. They think they know where it goes, but they don’t.
A few years ago, when I was first trying to learn different ways to save money, I downloaded an app (the name I don’t recall right now, but there are hundreds of similar apps out there) where I entered how much money I make per month and then entered amounts on all expenses I could think of. These amounts were what I thought I was spending on the different categories, but when I started meticulously entering every expense in the right category…
Well, things just weren’t the way I thought they were. I thought I was spending too much on eating out and buying clothes and shoes on sale (hello, ladies!), but it turned out I was spending way more on travel. Even though I got great deals on flights, stayed with friends or family and was always careful not to spend too much, it all added up to ridiculous amounts!
So by cutting traveling in half and cutting a bit here and there from other things, I was able to save almost 25% of my monthly income! Isn’t that awesome? Keep a budget, that’s all I’m saying.
“Don’t tell me what you value. Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value.” ~ Joe Biden (Tweet this)
2. Adjust flexible (and not so flexible) expenses
I already gave you an example with traveling, but it wasn’t just traveling that I adjusted. I adjusted shopping, going out, and even changed my internet and TV plan to one that worked better for me and was cheaper.
Flexible expenses are all expenses that depend on your decisions more than anything else, which is practically all expenses. While most people would consider your rent or commuting expenses to be solid, you can always move or start walking or biking to work. But this doesn’t mean you have to. Some expenses are more flexible than others and they are usually easy to change. So play with them and see what you can do in order to save money and still have fun. And if you can’t do enough with them alone, look into adjusting the not-so-flexible ones.
PS. Don’t go too far here. Depriving yourself of all earthly pleasures will do you no good.
3. If you work for someone: ask for a raise
In our constant striving to spend less, we often forget that, great and easy ways to save money is to earn more. You might think that this is not a good enough reason to ask for a raise, but it might just be.
Obviously, you won’t go to your boss and tell him you need to save money, so he has to give you more. What you can do instead is consider what you’re currently getting and think whether there’s room for improvement. Maybe do some research on what others are getting for the same job in other companies.
It’s also a good idea to come up with ways in which you can do your job even better. How can you go that extra mile for your clients and colleagues? When you become better at what you do, it will become easier for you to ask for more money, and it will also become easier for your manager to give it to you—and even if he doesn’t, someone else will.
4. If you work for someone: get a second (or a third) job
If you are really motivated to earn more, and especially if you need the money urgently, you can always get a second or a third job. Many successful people have worked a few jobs while they were paying off college loans or investing in the travels and courses that eventually got them to where they are today. This is why getting another job shouldn’t scare you.
Plus, there are literally tons of possibilities out there. You can offer some hours of your time to your local McDonald’s or 7/11, but you can also become a freelancer of some type and offer your services online or in your area.
If you have a hobby you’re really good at, here’s your chance to make some money out of it. Maybe you’re into gardening or baking. Maybe you’re into graphic design or cars. Whatever it is, there’s someone out there who is ready to pay for your expertise and your skills. So take advantage of that. And who knows, maybe this will turn into your own business one day.
5. If you are a business owner or a freelancer: increase your rates
Most businesses owners and freelancers I’ve talked to are scared to death of increasing their prices. What if the business dies? What if there are no orders? What if all my current clients give up on me?
Yes, but what if you start making more money with the same amount of work? That’s exactly what will happen if you do it all the right away.
First of all, don’t necessarily think of increasing the prices of what you’re already doing. Maybe you can create a cheaper product where you do less, but the actual price-per-whatever is higher. Also, come up with an extra value you can offer for your increased prices—ideally something that would make your clients happier, but wouldn’t cost you a lot of money or efforts.
There’s always something you can do to make your product just a bit better or enhance the customer service. Additionally, it’s also okay to raise the prices only for new clients and keep the same rates for loyal ones.
All in all, there’s always a way; so stop making excuses and find it!
6. If you are a business owner or a freelancer: look for more clients
Other than increasing your rates, a great way to expand and earn more if you are a business owner or a freelancer is to look for—and get more—clients. How can you do that? Well, we’ll find a way together, but before we get into brainstorming strategies, let’s consider one thing? Are you really prepared to take on more work?
There are so many—ridiculously many—business owners and freelancers I know who have spent months or even years complaining that they don’t have enough customers. Finally, somehow, they get more customers and start complaining that the work is too much and they can’t handle it. I know what you’re thinking: whiners. Right?
You don’t want to be like that, so put a plan together on how to increase your effectiveness. When I first started writing marketing and web copy for clients, I created templates for the different pages based on the structure I know web pages and sales pages must follow.
I also pre-wrote my sales and deliver messages, so I could just copy and paste them. Another thing I love is my list of emotional words, without which I’d be lost. All of these helped me handle more work.
What can you do in that area? Once you know the answer to these questions, let’s brainstorm ways in which you can get more clients.
First, sit down and write 20 ideas about how you can achieve that. Anything goes, we’re not looking for perfection, just write 20 ideas—even if they seem impossible. You can then go over them, choose the best, and pick the one or two you’ll start with.
Another great exercise is to create a table with four columns:
- In the first one write down all marketing channels you can think of.
- In the second one, note how suitable they are for your business/freelance practice by rating them with 1-10 points.
- In the third one, rate how good you are at using the specific marketing channel or approach.
- And in the last one, rate how much you enjoy using it.
Then calculate the points and go with top 3 marketing channels to start attracting more clients immediately. If the points are even (or close) consider the last column, first. Because if you enjoy something, you will make it work for your business and you will learn how to do it. That’s the most important part.
We would also love for you to check out our article on how can some of the best money strategies can help your business to skyrocket.
7. Move to a city where living is cheaper
Maybe now is the time for a drastic change. Obviously, you can’t move to different city just to create more ways to save money, but if you take a look at the rest of your priorities and plans about life, maybe it makes sense for other reasons, too.
I have this friend. She’s single. She’s lived most of her life in Manchester, UK, where she was born, and she is a freelancer. So she could do what she does and get the same money for it from absolutely anywhere in the world, as long as there’s an internet connection and her laptop is with her.
Obviously, we make our own decisions in life, but if you are in similar situation, moving in a new city won’t just be a way of saving some money—it may turn out to be the way to meet the love of your life, to explore new places and to make friends for life. So before you dismiss that option, I’d strongly advise you to consider it.
8. Move to a country where living is cheaper
If moving to another city was a suggestion you found too “out there,” moving to another country is probably totally out of the question—but hear me out! Globalization and the internet have made the world one big village.
Now you and your family can explore new cultures and take advantage of new opportunities in a place where you can live with half of what you’re making and spending now. If your job allows it, I’d say that’s a perfect option!
In some countries in Africa, Asia, and even Central and Eastern Europe, you can enjoy the conveniences you’ve had at home and pay less for them. And if you are worried about the environment and language barriers, don’t be. You can always learn, plus there are expats all over the world now, so you will probably quickly make new friends.
9. Move back with your parents
This is definitely not my favorite one and I’ll assume it’s not your favorite one either. Still, it’s an option that can help you save, and if you’re saving for something in particular and know how much time it would take you and how much living with mom and dad would help, then just go for it.
Be careful not to stay too long though. This may have a negative impact on your confidence levels and freedom, and these are some of the things that are more important than money.
10. Invest your hard-earned money
There is literally no rich person on Earth who doesn’t know how to invest—or at least the basics of it. When I say investing, I definitely don’t mean just stocks and bonds. I mean anything that would put your hard-earned money to work: property, land, stocks, bonds, mutual funds, even bank deposits, investing in start-ups or whatever else you can think of.
When I say “invest” you should know that this usually comes at a later stage of the saving money process—however, it is important to always keep it in mind as you get better and better with money. So what do I mean when I say that this comes later.
By a general rule of the good money practices, your first savings should go to (and stay in) your so-called “emergency fund.” This is the fund where you have enough money to live the next 3-6 months without having to work at all.
This is the money that gives you peace of mind and won’t let you go broke because you’ll always be able to react in a few month’s time, even if your business goes under or you get fired.
In order to get to the emergency fund, you should have no debt. So, as you can see, investing does come a bit later, however smart people always prepare. The sooner you start thinking about how you’d like to invest your money (when you finally save up some for investing, and maybe learn more about different options and choose one), the better and faster results you’ll see. So start now.
11. Get a roommate
Do you live alone? Yes, I know there are certain awesome benefits about living alone, but it’s also true that living with a roommate can be extremely fun and help you pinch some pennies. So why not look into that?
A word of advice: I know you’ll be tempted to ask a friend to move in with you (if you have one or more that live with or want to live with roommates), but I’d say that meeting someone new—or at least something you kind’a know—is a much better idea. Living with someone is different than enjoying their company from time to time, so it’s best not to risk your friendships over trying some ways to save money.
If you don’t like the idea of a permanent roommate, you can always list an extra room or even a couch on Airbnb or a similar website in your area.
12. Open a savings account
I let my husband deal with our money and I was always happy about this decision until recently. I realized we haven’t saved as much as we wanted to save last year.
So I asked him what happened and while we started with him not being able to say no to me (So sweet, isn’t it? And I do want to go out, go on vacations and buy new things like… constantly), during the conversation I also found out that he was handling all our money in one single account!
Can you imagine that stress? We have a place that we rent out, for example, and the money would go to that account. I have a few freelance practices and most of that money would go to that account as well. Our bank loan installment is also taken out of that account.
His salary is in that account. We spend from that account and he saves up in that account. Oh dear God! No wonder he was always calculating, always worried, always unclear about how much money we actually have.
One of the best ways to save money is to open an account for saving. In fact, when you save up enough for your emergency fund, open a new savings account specifically for investing. And when you want to save up for something else, open a new account. Bank accounts cost almost nothing to open, plus if you have a few in different banks, you’re not risking that if one bank fails, you fail with it.
Just make things easier for yourself and if you don’t have a savings account, open one now!
13. Get a savings box
Savings accounts will do you good for serious savings, but what about the change you have in your pockets at the end of the day? Instead of losing it by throwing it all around the house, get a savings box and put your change in there at the end of every day. Or at least parts of it.
Obviously, you won’t save enough to achieve financial freedom in your savings box, but it will give you that feeling of abundance, of “having enough,” especially when you can spend it for a fun night on the town every few months, or maybe even on a small trip.
And paying for part of your small trip with the change from your savings box means more money in your savings account also.
14. Create good habits
The things we already mentioned:
- putting your change in a savings box,
- keeping a budget,
- putting your savings in a separate savings account
all these are great financial habits that will sooner or later lead you to success.
There are many more great habits you can practice, but listing them here is not what this part of the article is about. It is about how to turn those things you don’t do (or only do from time to time) into permanent habits. And how do you do that? Just make sure you reward yourself.
Rewarding yourself is such a great way for creating a whole new belief in your mind—the belief that what you’re doing is not just one of the best ways to save money, but also something you enjoy, because it leads to an award.
You can create a “gamification” kind of plan and if you’re ‘good,’ just reward yourself with something you enjoy every week, or every month. If it doesn’t involve money, you can do it every day if you want to. This would be your way of patting yourself on the back and keeping up the good work.
I’ve made a simple commitment: whenever someone asks me for money, I give as much as I can. Whether it’s a homeless person begging, or a friend asking for a loan, or a charity worker asking for a donation—I give. I consider myself to be a channel that money flows through, and while much of that money I use for me and my family, I also make sure I do whatever I can to help.
So how will giving help you save more money? Technically, it won’t. But on a spiritual level, it will make you feel better and tell to the universe that you’re ready to use money for good and not just to satisfy your selfish consumer needs. And the universe always answers positively to that.
16. Create a strong vision
Why do you want to start saving money? To get some peace of mind? To buy something you really want? To go on a vacation? To surprise the love of your life? If your vision is compelling enough, saving won’t be a problem. Because your vision will feel much better than anything you can buy.
And if you say to yourself things like “I really want to make my vision happen, but I just can’t save money,” here’s a great little tip from one of my role-models, Marie Forleo.
In one of her latest audio sessions, Marie offers a fun little tip: what if you change “can’t” with “won’t”? Because that’s what you’re actually saying. It’s not that you can’t save money, or that you can’t lose weight, or that you can’t start a business—you just won’t.
And when you say things as they are, it offers a refreshingly honest perspective that you can work with. Just say it to yourself: “I really want to make my vision happen, but I just won’t save money.” If that’s the case, you simply either don’t want your vision to happen, or you have decided you need to make more money instead of saving money. So create a more specific vision now!
17. Cook more often and eat in
A simple, but extremely useful tip. I am sure you’ve noticed the difference of the price of food in your local store vs in a restaurant—even not a great one. It’s ok to go out once in awhile, but if you do it often, no wonder you’re struggling with saving money.
Cooking can be extremely fun! Even if you don’t know how to do it, it’s a great chance for you to learn. There are tons of recipes online and inviting friends over to help and then share the meal makes it all even better.
If your friends or family are the ones who eat out all the time and you don’t want to feel left out, another great way to deal with this (besides cooking for them at home) is to offer them that you go out for just a drink rather than a meal. All in all, you’ll enhance a skill and your wallet will be happy. What can be better?
18. Walk more
Nowadays people are used to driving or using public transportation, even if where they are going is not that far. Walking or riding a bike instead can save you a lot of money, plus it’s really awesome for your health. And it’s a great pleasure. You clear your mind, enjoy some peaceful time alone and maybe meet an old friend on the street. Who knows?
When I was working in a hotel in San Diego, between the hotel and where I lived there was this amazing bike lane right along the ocean. It was beautiful and riding my bike to work took about as long as the bus ride. It quickly became one of my favorite things to do and I just couldn’t figure out why most of my colleagues were so surprised when I told them about my commute.
Give walking and biking a chance and see them make a difference both in your savings account and in your health status.
19. Read more, watch less movies
Going to the movies is not the most expensive pleasure in the world, but if you do it once a week or more, it can add up. You have the trip to the cinema, the ticket, the candy and popcorn (which are also unhealthy and a fast track to being overweight), and finally the trip back.
Plus there’s always someone who’ll suggest that you go out for a drink or a dinner before or after the movie. And here it is: watch your money fly out of your pockets.
Reading is a more-than-affordable pleasure and a great substitute to watching a movie. Even if you think you don’t like to read, that’s not necessarily true. My father used to say something really interesting about food that I think is a great metaphor for books. He said, “If you think you don’t like a certain meal, it’s very possible that it just wasn’t cooked well”. So very often it’s not the meal, it’s the chef.
It’s the same with books. If you think you don’t like to read, it’s very possible that you were never in the presence of a really good book in a genre you’re interested in. So even if that’s the case, do some research and give it a try. You might be surprised.
20. Change your mindset around money
This is probably the most difficult and time-consuming things you could do to start seeing your bank account grow, but it’s also the most important one. Whether you realize it or not, the way we see the world is directly proportionate to the way we experience it.
So if you think you don’t have money, you won’t have money. And if you think you can’t save money—and if you believe that deep in your subconscious—then your mind simply finds a way to prove you’re right. Hence you don’t resist the temptation to buy those amazing shoes you know you can’t really afford.
So what can you do to change your mindset around money? Starting with noticing your attitude towards money and your words about money is a good idea. It will bring awareness and when you see for yourself the things you keep telling to yourself, it will be easier for you to shift that.
Simply come up with a new set of beliefs and whenever you catch yourself repeating the old ones, simply replace them.
For example, you see something you really like but don’t need and can’t afford right now. Your mind, like a spoiled child, starts screaming “I have to have that, I want that, I’m going to get me that, I can’t save money anyway!” And what do you do? You buy it, right?
Well, next time that happens, say to your mind “Yes, you can save money and you don’t really need that. Let’s give you some time and if you still want it in a week, or a month, we’ll find a way to get this or something similar.” Then move on.
For extra willpower, here’s a trick that always works. After you say no to your own mind, it’s time to distract it with something positive—reward it for the sacrifice. So do something cheap and good. Get an ice cream. Call your boyfriend for a romantic chat. Whatever will make you feel awesome so that you start craving saving your money.
If you want to take it all to the next level, a book I strongly recommend is “Secrets of the Millionaire Mind” by T. Harv Eker.
Ok, enough with wondering about the ways to save money! It’s time to take what you learned and apply it. And don’t forget to get back to me in the comments about how it all works.