Lots of people are having to save money right now, but especially in a time of unstable income, it can be hard to budget properly. Here are some hints, tips, and tricks to save some much-needed money.
1) Ditch bad habits.
Bad habits aren't ever good for you, but they're especially harmful if they use a lot of your money. For example, smoking is a habit that, apart from harming you physically, requires a huge amount of money weekly. Cutting off small, wasteful habits like this will leave you with a lot more money in the long-run, and will be good for you otherwise.
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3) Avoid buying impulsively.
Impulsive buying is a bad trait that a lot of us fall prey to, but often it results in piles of money being spent in one go, and in almost as much regret. When shopping, especially online, it's important to ask yourself the key questions; Do I actually need this? Will I ever actually use this? Could i find it cheaper anywhere else? Will I regret spending this much money? If you're unsure about any of that, take some time to go away and do something else. This works especially for online shopping- you can leave the item in your basket and do something else for a few hours. If you're then still convinced you need it, go ahead and buy it. If not, delete it from your basket.
4) Always stay above round numbers.
A helpful tip for saving money is to try your hardest to stay above round numbers for as long as possible. For instance, if you have slightly above $600 in your bank account, try to stay above the $600 mark, and avoid spending anything that takes you under. It might seem silly, but it's a simple way of keeping yourself from going overboard with your spending habits.
5) Compare and contrast.
While you might be used to visiting the same stores for specific things, sometimes it's good to branch out and get some perspective. One thing might cost a lot on one website, but a little on another. It's always good to at least check, and visiting several different sites will allow you to get the best bargains.
6) Use the 50/30/20 rule.
Whenever you receive money, whether it's pay day, a birthday present, interest, or anything else, try to use the 50/30/20 rule. Spend 50% of the money on essentials, 30% on optional purchases, and save 20%. You might not always be able to do this, but always try to stay around this mark. In the long run, you'll end up saving a lot more money.
7) Have one no-spending day each week.
Pick a day in which you know you won't have much to do, and make it your no-spending day of the week. For that one day, everything you do must be cost-free. It's a fun challenge to set yourself, and you'll be surprised at how much money you end up saving.
8) Always haggle.
Whether it's over rent, food, or literally anything else, you have nothing to lose, and you never know; haggling over price might get you more results than you'd expect.
9) Save on long-term deals.
Most companies have some sort of membership card, and investing in one will save you hundreds over time. For instance, if you take a bus every single day, buy a bus pass for the year, and travel everywhere with it. Or stack up loyalty points at your favourite cafe. In the long-term, it's small things like these that will save you the most.
10) Discounted gift cards.
Sometimes, buying a gift card and then using it to buy an item costs less than simply buying the item itself. Using this over a long period of time is a fun way to hack the system while simultaneouslt stocking up on saved money for a rainy day.
Any item of purchase has an optimal buying time. Often it's a sale, but it doesn't have to be so specific. For example, buy all your summer clothes in the winter, and all your winter clothes in the summer, when they're cheapest. Plan ahead and you'll save loads of money.
12) Don't lend money.
It's often hard to say no to a friend, but when you can, avoid giving out money, as well as having others lend you money. It will only cause you problems in the long run.
13) Make your own.
Whether you're at home, in school, or out and about, it's almost always cheaper to prepare your own lunch. This doesn't have to be your average sandwich- you can use your favourite foods and prepare whatever meal you most feel like, but buying the raw materials from the supermarket is so much cheaper than always buying take away, or eating out at every opportunity.
14) Know your student discounts.
If you're a student, everything is always so very expensive. Luckily, the majority of stores and companies have student discounts. They won't always tell you tough, so it's good to always ask, and to check beforehand what you're entitled to.
A lot of banks give you interest for every year that your account is up and running. It's usually not a lot, but over the years it could build up and end up being critical for your future self. Every last penny counts!