When money is tight we naturally think, “If I only made more.” But what if you didn’t actually need to make more? What if you could make some small changes and become more financially efficient?
What if you didn’t need to make a cent more, but it felt like you got a pay raise? Would you do it? Well, that’s what we hope to help you do with this blog. Here are 12 ways to save money, so it feels like you got a raise.
1. PROGRAM YOUR THERMOSTAT
Stats say you can save up to 10% on your heating + cooling bill by properly using your programmable thermostat. Move your heat up 2° in the summer + down 2° in the winter. Move the temperature down significantly while you’re sleeping + set it to kick back up 30 minutes before you get out of bed.
2. REPRICE YOUR CELL PHONES + INTERNET
Have you ever heard of Mint Mobile, Google Fi, or Cricket? These companies use the same towers as T-Mobile, Verizon, and AT&T, but their plans are typically much cheaper. Do some research because you can probably save a significant amount of money by going with one of these other companies (also known as MVNOs).
As for internet, every year shop around for the best deals. Then, call your current service provider. Ask them to match the other provider’s deal in order to keep your business.
3. ADOPT A MINIMALIST APPROACH TO LIFE
We’re not telling you to sell all your stuff, but at some point you have to ask yourself this question… ‘Do we really need all this?’ Modern-day marketing would tell you, ‘Yes. Yes you do!’ But the truth is, no. You don’t.
Having too much stuff to manage actually costs you something: Time + Energy. And if you’re in the habit of buying things you don’t need, it also costs you money.
4. STOP BUYING NAME-BRAND
All brands are not created equal, but in many cases generic brands taste just as good as name brands. And at a fraction of the price. Take a look at the items you naturally put in your cart and start trying to find a generic brand alternative. You may be pleasantly surprised at how good other brands are, and even more surprised at how much money you can save by making the switch!
5. PAY WITH CASH
Grocery trips + coffee stops can get real expensive real fast, if you regularly pay with a card. Cash is more concrete and it’s harder to spend. You really feel the loss when you pay with cash. If you want to save money, only use a card when absolutely necessary.
Pro Tip: Pay bills like your mortgage and car payments with a credit card that gets good rewards. We use credit card points to get gift cards which we use for free date nights. But you should NEVER carry a balance!
6. SHOP WITH A LIST + CALCULATOR
Paying with cash is step one. This kicks the savings up a notch. I always grocery shop with a list, so I know I’m actually getting what I need. The calculator ensures that by the end of my trip, I can actually stay within my cash budget.
I recently went to the store and didn’t have time to run to the bank. I paid with a card and ended up spending almost $100 more than I would have had I brought my cash. Combine Hacks 5 + 6 and you’ll save so much money when you shop!
7. REQUOTE YOUR INSURANCE
Just like shopping around for internet, you can save money by shopping around for insurance. To make things even easier, we recommend finding an independent insurance agent. Instead of representing one single insurance company, they represent multiple. They’ll shop around to different companies for you and find you the best deals.
8. PROPERLY INFLATE YOUR TIRES
Have you ever tried to pull a wagon or push a wheelbarrow with a flat tire? If your tires are low on air they don’t roll as easily, which means it takes more gas to make them go. Plus, under-inflated tires are more susceptible to excessive wear + tear and even blowouts. Get those tires properly inflated to save on gas and to make them last as long as possible.
9. CUT BACK ON TRIPS OUT OF THE HOUSE
A big portion of saving money is learning how to streamline your life. Hack #6 will cut down on trips to the store, which means you’ll save on gas. By taking a little time to plan your week, you’ll become more efficient, which means more money in your pocket.
Pro Tip: For short-distance trips walk or ride your bike. The added bonus here is fresh air and exercise. When possible carpool. It’ll save everyone on gas + foster more personal connections (something we’re missing these days).
10. TRACK YOUR SPENDING
Everything up to this point has been about lifestyle. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. We all overestimate our goodness and underestimate our badness. Tracking our money gives us an accurate picture of our actual cashflow.
You can use a pen + paper or an app like mint. Either way, you have to know exactly how much money you’re spending each month on Starbucks. Just be prepared. It’ll be a bit shocking.
11. CANCEL UNUSED SUBSCRIPTIONS
You may already know which subscriptions aren’t being used. If so, just call and cancel them. Why waste the money? However, once you track your spending for a month you may realize there were things you signed up for years ago that you’re still paying for. I told you tracking your spending would be shocking… Cancel those subscriptions and you have an immediate pay increase.
12. CREATE A SPENDING PLAN
You can do all of the things we’ve already listed, but if you actually watch your money coming in + going out each month then all the little changes you make will be so exciting! Take your total monthly income and assign every single dollar to a category. Deciding, in advance, how all your money will be spent will keep you from unnecessary purchases + free up dollars for more important things.
WE’RE SO EXCITED FOR YOU!
Being someone who’s more intentional with money starts with your mindset. It will take a few months before your new habits feel normal. At first, you’ll feel odd, but after a while, everyone else will seem odd! When that happens you’ll know you haven’t just changed a couple habits.
You’ve changed your identity!
If you want to ensure success, you need accountability. We don’t change in isolation. If you’re married make sure you’re on the same page with your spouse. If you’re looking to connect with others who are living life differently, we want to invite you to come join our Facebook group!
There’s definitely a better way to handle your finances, and it’s even better when you do it in community!
Trent + Sarah
Ps. Did we miss any money-saving hacks? Let us know how you streamline your finances in a comment! And if you loved this blog make sure you let us know that too 🖤