Saving money is important for everyone, but it can be difficult to know where to start. A user asked the forum, What are some interesting life hacks for saving money? Here are the common responses.
72 HOURS RULE
“This is not mine, but ‘The 72-hour rule” is pretty damn helpful. Basically, the gist of it is, if you want something that is not a necessity, instead of buying it immediately, add it to a list (in my case, I use a spreadsheet, but whatever works), then wait 72 hours.
If, after 72 hours, you still want it, then you can buy it. It seems that 80-90% of the time after the 72 hours is up, I don’t end up buying the item I thought I wanted.
The reason I like doing it with a spreadsheet is I can then, at the end of the year, easily add it up and see how much money I DIDN’T impulsively spend.”
BUY REUSABLE OBJECTS
“Try buying reusable objects in place of single-use ones. It’s better for your wallet and environment. Steel water bottles, reusable K cups, dish towels instead of paper towels, etc. Over time the costs of little things really add up.”
DON’T BE DESPERATE TO USE COUPONS
“Don’t buy something that you normally wouldn’t buy just because you have a coupon.”
LEARN ABOUT UNIT PRICES
“When at the grocery, look at the price/oz or whatever unit it is instead of the total price. It’s usually posted in one corner. It’s not going to save you tons of money, but it does add up. Plus, it takes out the guesswork when comparing similar items.”
BUY TOOLS INSTEAD OF INVESTING IN REPAIRS
“If you can buy a tool to complete a repair for the same price as the repair itself, buy the tool and repair it for free next time.”
EAT BEFORE FOOD SHOPPING
“Always eat before going food shopping.”
DON’T DRINK SODA; DRINK WATER
“Only drinking water is solid. Soda at restaurants or other drinks adds up a lot.”
AVOID BUYING CHEAP PRODUCTS
“Don’t buy the cheapest option. Often the middle-priced option will be the best value. Things that are too cheap are worth what you paid for them.”
GET A LIBRARY CARD
“Get yourself a library card. It’s not just books but also movies, workshops, education, software, computer time, and music. I’ve probably saved thousands on all sorts of crap.
If it weren’t for the library, I probably wouldn’t have been introduced to awesome books like American Gods, The Way of Kings, All Systems Down, or The Road.”
BE A MINIMALIST
“Live as a minimalist-“getting exactly what you need is not suffering”-The Minimalist Budget
Edit* The Minimalist Budget takes a more expanded view of how to be a minimalist. An example from the book: If collecting action figures makes you happy-then, why not allocate 5% of your income to it? Why not 10%? Life is short, and finding true happiness can be difficult. Sure, you don’t NEED action figures to survive, but if they truly bring you joy, then by all means, allocate resources to fulfill your hobby.
The book takes notice of not only how to be frugal and save money but also how to manage other resources in your life. Some of the said resources are possibly more important than just money, such as: Time • Spirituality • Happiness • Etc.”
LEARN TO COOK
“Learn to cook! 4 or 5 reliably delicious recipes will go a long way.”
GROW YOUR FOOD
“If you have any land whatsoever and you aren’t growing at least some of your own food, planting a fruit tree, etc., you are really missing out.
We got 20ish raspberry canes at an end-of-season auction last year for $1 each. They saved me at least $200 in the first year alone and are spreading nicely, filling out the space I planted them in.
I was pulling in 100 tomatoes every day at one point this summer. My freezer is full of free soups, bags, and bags of frozen tomatoes. I saved seeds (heirlooms), and I get free tomato plants from here on out forever.
If you mulch them heavily with wood chips, they are almost no work. You can make your own compost really easy. It’s all a lot less work than you think and totally free money.
Plus, FRESH raspberries, tomatoes, peaches, and strawberries, are LIFE CHANGING. The stuff in the store is hollow tasteless garbage.
This year alone, I bet I saved at least $2k from the food I grew, with zero inputs other than a few hours to drop some compost down, plant, mulch, then pick now and then.”
PAY YOUR SAVINGS ACCOUNTS IMMEDIATELY
“Pay your savings account immediately, and treat it like a bill. Each check, $100, $400, $50, whatever you can afford, gets put away no matter what.
Educate yourself on finance as well; the best way to save money is to be savvy about it in the first place. The amount that “they” tell you to put away (10%) is not nearly enough.”
BUY YOUR OWN MODEM
“Easy one- Buy your own modem. You can get a good one from Amazon for $100. Internet companies charge you $10-$12 a month to rent yours. Buy your own, return the rented one to an internet company, and get that charge removed from your bill. Pays for itself in under a year.”
BUY SECOND-HAND PRODUCTS
“Buy second hand!
Today I have secured myself a solid pine desk for my daughter’s room, no marks or damage, for £10, and a worn-once, three-piece navy suit for my son to wear at our wedding next year, also for £10.
I buy maybe 80% of my stuff secondhand. I bide my time, wait for a bargain, and I have saved sooooo much money over the years.”
“Drive slower. You will see an immediate increase in mpg. Your brakes will last longer. Your tires will last longer. You will immediately be at a reduced risk for an expensive accident. Your engine will be able to go further before needing expensive repairs.”
BUY QUALITY PRODUCTS
“A more expensive good quality product will save you money in the long run compared to cheaper versions of the product, which you might have to replace/fix more often. Of course, a higher price does not guarantee higher quality, so you have to do your research before purchasing. Sometimes the cheaper option might turn out to be the better product.”
DON’T GO TO STARBUCKS
“Stop buying Starbucks.. you can buy the syrup they use at Target for $5 and coffee for another $10 that will last a whole month… that would be three trips to Starbucks for that price.”
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The article was originally published on Mrs Daaku Studio.