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My Top Money Saving Tips

January 28th, 2019 at 09:45 am

The underlying assumption for saving anything at all is that you must live beneath your means; spend less than you have in after tax income.

Here are my (our) top money saving tips in no particular order:

1) Know how to do your own taxes. You don't actually have to do them yourself, but it's important to know how taxes are figured in order to know what deductions and credits you might qualify for that could lower your tax liability. The less you send the government, the more money that stays in your pocket to save. This also goes hand in hand with understanding how to figure your withholding for your paycheck so that don't send more to the government each month resulting in a large refund. That was your money all year long and you could have been saving it!

2) Understand how compound interest works. Know how it can earn you money on your savings and how it can cost you money on your debt. No one wants to pay more for things, yet keeping debt, particularly on a credit card is very costly. It's probably the number one reason we haven't ever paid interest on a credit card, because I know how it works and I don't want to pay more!

3) Evaluate all ongoing purchases. This can be anything from your mortgage payment (rent) to, a regular service such as a manicure or hair coloring to a magazine subscription. I actually think it's good to think about this before you commit to the purchase. Often we think it's only $X (say $30), but $30 every month is $360 of your income for the year. Is that valuable to continue to spend or more valuable to give up and save?

4) Eat at home. We eat out occasionally and more often when traveling, but our general plan for eating is to buy groceries, and make our meals to eat at home. Our daughter's took their lunch to school EVERY day the entire time they attended public school. My husband also takes his lunch to work everyday, although now he is just four minutes down the road, so he comes home for lunch!

5) Eliminate the consumable products and reuse. Our culture is full of things that we use once and throw away and then feel the need to buy again because we ran out. Many of these items have a reusable option that works just as well. A few examples are: cloth napkins, menstrual products and diapers, cleaning sprays and rags vs wipes, plates vs paper plates. Be on the lookout for reusable options, that yes are a small investment initially, but will save money in time.

6) Research the big expenses. The purchase of a home, the costs of the taxes and insurance involved, the purchase of a vehicle, construction work, and even appliances. This doesn't mean you will always get the best deal, but you are going to have more information in making a good decision if you research before you buy and give yourself as much time as possible to do so.

7) Watch the small expenses. No one gets rich only by using coupons at the store, however, they are part of the bigger picture of evaluating the cost of items and paying the lowest cost possible. So yes, use coupons, but only if you need that item, want that particular brand or would be buying that item anyway. But also, compare prices on the shelves or between stores. Pick up the nickel on the street. Change banks, if they are offering a lower rate on debt or a higher rate on savings. Lower your thermostat in the winter and increase it in the summer. Combine trips to save on fuel.

8) Have a goal and automate if possible. If you don't even know what your goal is for saving it's hard to reach where you want to go. Having a goal to strive for with saving and continually working towards it helps motivate you and set your mind towards how to reach the goal. It's even better if the goal can be automated, such as contributions to your retirement plan or sending money each pay period to your savings account.

9) Watch lifestyle expenses. Our culture is one of consumerism. Companies are marketing to us constantly to buy their product, often with the idea that we will feel better if we buy their product. So we have people who shop to buy the next decor item, the trendy new clothing styles, technology or beauty treatment. Almost all of it was completely unnecessary and only a want, not a need. Those new subscription boxes for make at home meals and pet treats are easily part of the lifestyle creep I'm thinking of that can cost us a lot of money over time. I'm not saying you can't have any of it, just that each one of those new types of items adds up and can keep you from saving as much as possible.

10) Look for the snowflakes! You know I had to mention this one. Keep an eye out for money coming in that isn't income. It could be a cash birthday gift, a rebate, or cash from something you sold. Those small amounts of money, if saved can add up! Keep your eyes peeled for that money or ways to make snowflake money appear and save it! (Snowflakes come from debt snowball method. The debt payment amount snowball's as you pay off more and more debt. Snowflakes originally were coined as a small amounts of found money to add to the debt snowball payment for a particular month)

There you have it my money saving tips. It's not to late to participate and list your tips. (Try to post by month end).

5 Responses to “My Top Money Saving Tips”

  1. Smallsteps Says:

    I am always amazed that many people do not know how to do their own taxes and do not have the lowest amount possible taken out of their check.
    I used to know a lady that said withholding was her only way of savings and then she blew it a week after her refund came.
    good tips and descriptions.

  2. crazyliblady Says:

    I like your list. It is a little different than mine. I wonder if we could come up with a combined list of all our tips?

  3. crazyliblady Says:

    For 2018, I had an FSA for the first time. I think it may have helped me to get a better return because it lowered my tax liability. What do you think of this?

  4. creditcardfree Says:

    I think that's exactly what I mean by knowing how to do your taxes and lower your taxable income. Your FSA contributions are definitely a tool to that end. We had one of those before my husband went full time with the military, I loved it! Great idea.

  5. livingalmostlarge Says:

    cooking a big money saver. I was about to talk about the big ticket items.

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