There is a constant battle between your wallet and you desires. But if you are like the average person, then your desires win a little more often than you would like. The road to financial independence however, is paved with discipline, which is probably why you are wondering how to save money every month. If you are, then good news, because this list is sure to contain some techniques you can employ to make some serious changes in your financial well being.
1. Create Some Goals to Save Money Every Month
Benjamin Franklin once said “Failure to plan is planning to fail.” And boy was he right. If you aren’t planning out what you trying to achieve with your savings, then there is a good chance that you are going to fail.
Without a plan, there is no direction, and without direction you’ll never get where you want to be. So take the time and figure out exactly what you are trying to achieve, and how to do it. That’s the way you win with money.
Another great part about planning something out, is that you can set up a reminder system. It doesn’t matter if you are trying to save money for a car, or aiming to get that dream home, so long as you can think about it daily. Take a photo of what you want and put it on your bathroom mirror. Every morning when you wake up, look at that picture and focus on why you want it. This will help you stay on track, and form better habits in the long run.
2. Figure Out Your Budget
When we hear the word budget, all kinds of bad things come to mind. None of us want to give up the things we like, but that isn’t what budgeting is about. We don’t budget to deprive ourselves of the things we like. We budget to get those things. Without a solid budget, it’s almost impossible to reach financial independence.
Once you take control of your spending, you are no longer at the whim of how much is left in your bank account. You can aim for the things you really want in this life, and not have to hold out hope, without ever knowing how you are going to get there.
Too many people want to go full bore when they first start a budget, but don’t do this. If you cut out everything you want in order to save money every month, you are likely to fail. Instead, try cutting back, but keeping some of your finances dedicated to getting things you like. Then each month you can reduce that amount by a little bit. Doing this will actually have better results long-term, as you won’t just give up the first month.
And the best news is, that budgeting isn’t nearly as hard as you think it is. All you have to do is make sure you know where your money is going, and where it needs to go to achieve your goals.
Related Article: Stop Wasting Money on These 7 Things
3. Learn to Negotiate Prices
It may not seem like it, but there are few things on this earth that aren’t negotiable. Make a point to at least try, sometimes you can get one heck of a deal.
Remember it costs companies on average 10 times as much money to get a new customer, than it does to keep an existing one. Which is great news for you, because that means a lot of companies will bend over backwards to keep your business. They’ll only go so far of course, but even a slight discount is better than nothing.
If you are talking to people on the phone about this, make sure to ask for their customer retention department. Those are the people who can get you a deal, and their whole job is to negotiate with people over prices, so they are more than comfortable talking with you about it.
4. Don’t Eat Out as Much
If you have ever actually paid attention to what you spend on food each month then you would be horrified at what the average family pays on eating out each month.
Think about this, $10 a day is over $300 a month, and that’s just for one person eating lunch every day. If you are feeding a family, then things can get ugly fast.
Cutting the amount you visit restaurants in half is a great way to significantly reduce your monthly costs, without completely giving up the food you love. But if you really need to save big time, then try cutting it out all together.
Related article: How to Save Money Every Day
5. Cut Back On Spending
Make a habit of reminding yourself every time you go to buy something to determine if it’s a want or a need. Most of the time you are going to find that it is just something you want.
One of the biggest problems with being a human is that the more we do something, the easier it gets. This is part of the reason why addictions are so hard to break. But we can use this to our advantage too. If consistently think over every purchase, eventually that is how you are going to handle it out of habit. Which means you can seriously cut back on mindless spending.
6. Transfer Debt
Should you have credit card debt, then you need to take a good look at your statements. Many of these cards have monstrous interest rates.
If you have more than one card, then check to see which one has the lowest rate, then transfer the balance of the other cards to that one. Though, not having another card, or reaching the limit on the one you were planning to transfer to will cause a problem. If that is the case, then you should apply for a new low interest card, and try to pay it off as quickly as possible.
Many new cards have an introductory rate which can be less than one percent, although these tend to wear off in less than on year.
7. Choose a Good Savings Account
Not all savings accounts are created equal. Take this example: American Express offers a savings account which requires no minimum deposit to earn interest. It pays 1.45% interest over the course of a year. Which sounds pretty good, but then there’s Capital One, who will give you 1.5% interest. Which sounds good, until you realize they don’t start paying until you have $10,000 dollars in there.
And then there’s Live Oak, who pays 1.6% yearly and requires no minimum balance either. Which makes it better than both of them. The point is, shop around, and find the best plan for you. It can make a huge difference in how much you get paid back for your savings.
8. Make Use of Cheaper Alternatives
You don’t need to buy everything new, and there are a lot of options which may not be the premium item or service, but are just as good. Consider these:
9. Buy a Cheap Used Car
New cars are nice, but a car you don’t have to pay to keep every month is even nicer. Used cars, can be nearly as good as their brand new counterparts, but at a fraction of the cost. It’s a well known fact that as soon as you drive a car off the dealership, it loses a third of it’s value.
When shopping for a vehicle, keep an eye out for cars which have extremely low miles on them. Anything under 40,000 is going to be a great car for a long time, and it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Although, if you are more mechanically inclined, you can go for a super cheap option. I bought a car with 186,000 miles on it for less than 4 grand, but because I knew what I was looking for, that car was a champion. I drove that car for 7 years, (which is almost the entire estimated lifespan of a car) put who knows how many miles on it, and it never broke down on me once. I’ve seen new cars do worse than that.
10. Get an Older Phone
Believe it or not, you don’t need a new phone. The newest, fanciest tech is always nice to have around, but companies release better models all the time. If you are determined to have the latest and best phone on the market, then you are going to be paying hundreds of dollars a year for this.
So out with the new, and in with the old. You can buy an older model phone for sometimes less than 60 bucks, which is a heck of a lot better than $600, and honestly they do most of the same things, just a bit slower, and maybe on a smaller screen.
Another great option is to buy a used phone. There are a lot of people on ebay, who either got a new phone or for whatever reason don’t need their old one anymore, which can save you a bunch of money. Although, you do have to make sure that the phone you are buying is supported by your carrier, otherwise it’s just wasted money.
11. Get Cheaper Medicine
Pharmacies make a lot of money because people aren’t willing to shop around. Actually, it’s more like they make a lot of money because people don’t realize they can shop around.
Once you figure out there are other options than your local drugstore, you can cut costs on medicine substantially. Over at GoodRX, you can hunt down the best prices on your prescriptions. They catalog the prices at over 60,000 pharmacies, which means you know you are getting the best price, instead of just paying whatever your closest store asks.
12. Grow Your Own Food
Food is relatively on the cheap side, but because of the amount you need to eat in order to survive, it becomes costly. You can save money every month on food though, and it’s not just about clipping coupons.
Growing your own food is one of the cheapest ways to keep you and your family fed. This is especially true if you own land. With good soil, and some water, you can get all the vegetables you need with just a little water.
If you live in the city, then there is still most likely a good option for you. These are community gardens.
These can allow you to plant and produce your own food, without needing to buy the land that is required to make it.
13. Change Cell Phone Carriers
There is little sense in paying more for the same service. Changing your cell phone carrier to one with a better deal can easily save you $50 a month. But this only applies if you aren’t already on the cheapest plan for you.
Still, there are a lot of options out there, and if you haven’t made a point to keep an eye on prices in the last year, then there is probably a better fit out there for you.
Group plans are another good option that is often overlooked. Everyone knows that families can get a good deal, but even friends and roommates can get on group plans in order to cuts costs. So take a look.
14. Make Your Own Coffee and Tea
Coffee and Tea are ridiculously expensive for the convenience you get for buying them at a shop. If you drink more than one cup a day this can quickly add up to thousands of dollars a year.
But if you buy your own coffee pot or electric kettle, you can make your own at home for a fraction of the price. Neither of these items are particularly expensive either, so they may well pay themselves off within the week. Don’t get me wrong, it takes some skill to make drinks on par with establishments that focus solely on this, but if you put in the time to learn how to do it right, then you can actually make better drinks at home.
I made the switch to making my own stuff, and not only does it only cost me a few cents a day, but I am way more satisfied with the quality of the beverages that I get.
15. Learn to Cut Your Own Hair
I admit that I don’t do this one often. But I also know that cutting your own hair can easily save you $40 a month.
It takes a little practice to learn how to cut your own hair though, don’t expect the same results that you would get from a professional the first couple of times.
Plus it’s a little awkward learning to cut in a mirror, so if you do have experience cutting other people’s hair, there is still a learning curve.
16. Buy a Water Filter
Bottled water is really expensive for no good reason at all. The price of the water itself is next to nothing. What you are really paying for is the packaging, storage, distribution, and marketing.
You might think this isn’t going to produce the same quality taste that bottled water companies achieve, but you would be wrong. Aquafina for example actually uses the same water supply as the surrounding communal area. So the only difference is that they filtered it, and put it in a bottle.
Well that’s good news for you, because that means that a quality filtration system is all that stands between you and fresh crisp water.
You can even get a portable charcoal filter which comes built into a bottle. With one of these, you can easily good great tasting water anywhere. And I do mean anywhere, a good one of these can filter the nasty stuff out of stream water.
17. Use the Library
Yes the good old library. You might not have even considered this with the reputation they used to have for being one of the most boring places on earth. However things have changed.
I know a guy who literally checks out video games from his local library. Now you might think that those are old games which no one will really want to play, but that’s not true! He regularly gets to play games that came out within the past six months this way. He saves a ton of money on entertainment this way.
So go take a look, because libraries aren’t just for books anymore.
18. Get Rid of Your Gym Membership
You don’t need a gym to be in great shape. Yes it’s true, there are some things at the gym, that you just can’t do at home, at least not without a serious investment in equipment. But if all you are doing is running on the treadmill, then you are wasting money.
Go outside to get some exercise. You can do sprints and even body weight exercises for strength building.
If that’s still not enough for you, then you might want to consider a cheap purchase of some dumbbells. They are extremely versatile, and you’d be surprised at the level of work out that you can get with just these.
19. Stop Wasting Money on Food You Don’t Eat
How often do you throw food away? I used to have a bad habit of not eating the things that I put in my fridge, but there are steps you can take to avoid that.
If you set up a meal plan, then you can easily make sure that you are actually eating all the food you buy, instead of just throwing it in there and letting it go to waste.
You should put up a list on the front of your refrigerator too. This list will not only tell you what is in there, so you don’t forget to eat it, but with the expiration dates too, you can avoid some costly monthly food waste.
20. Always Shop Around
The best prices are rarely found the first play you look, even though stores don’t want you to know that. So don’t be afraid to shop around. There is almost always a better price out there for the same products and services that you are looking to purchase. There are even search engines which are dedicated to comparing prices.
Although, this won’t always save you money. I know a man who would drive to five different stores to find the best price on something that costs 5 dollars. In scenarios like this, you are actually wasting more on gas, then you are on saving by shopping it out.
Don’t forget that your time is valuable too. It’s worth a second look to see if there is a better price, but not if you could spend that time doing something more productive than what you would save. So don’t discount your own worth.
21. Make a Point to Make Your Own Meals
Cooking definitely takes some practice to get good at it. I was fortunate enough to live in the mountains for a portion of my life, which doesn’t sound like it would be all that helpful here, but listen. When you live miles away from the nearest places to eat, then you have to cook for yourself. Or to put it simply, I had to learn how to cook if I wanted to eat anything worthwhile.
Chances are that you aren’t going to be in a situation where it’s absolutely critical that you learn how to cook, but taking the effort to learn this skill, can save you a crazy amount of money each month. There are people out there who regularly spend over $1,000 every month on dining. Don’t be like them, you can save a ton of money just by learning a new skill.
Plus, cooking can be kind of fun. And after having done it for a while, I am actually a better cook than most restaurants anymore. So I don’t even feel like I am losing out.
22. Make Use of Automated Savings Systems
Did you know that many banks will allow you to set up automatic deposits to you savings accounts? It’s true, and easier than ever to put saving on the back burner. Setting up an automatic transfer when you get a paycheck will ensure that the money gets to where it belongs, with no further effort on your part.
There are also automatic investment apps out there which can make saving as easy as paying. With Acorns, you set up your account, and every time you go to pay, it rounds it up to the nearest dollar, then sends that straight into an investment portfolio. Talk about an easy way to get started with investing.
23. Sign Up for Costco
Not just Costco either mind you, all of these big box stores will save you an incredible amount of money if you make a point to use them. I know that there are fees to even shop there, but so long as you go monthly for you shopping needs, you’ll almost always end up on top come the end of the year.
These stores don’t just have better prices either, they also allow you to buy things in bulk a lot of times, which gives you a much better price over all.
24. Get Cash
There are so many discounts you can get just by carrying cash that it’s insane. Plus there is always the fact that you can’t spend more money than what’s in your wallet when you are carrying cash. But if you aren’t convinces then read this article: Does Carrying Cash Save You Money?
25. Save on Air Travel
Of course this depends on how often you travel, but if you are among the frequent flyers of America, then you should know there are tips you can use to save tons of money on flights.
A great place to start is just using two computers. You use the first one to shop around for the best price, then when it comes time to buy, look up the same deal on a different computer. Because airlines know the second time you look at a price you are more likely to buy, they make sure to raise the price because they can get away with it. But not anymore!
26. Bundle Your Cable and Internet
If you are already paying for both internet and cable TV, then it’s about time you give one of your service providers a call. Cable and internet bundles make companies a lot of money, so they are more than willing to give amazing discounts for taking them up on these offers.
You can often get a better deal if you shop around a little too.
27. Or Just Drop Your Cable
How often do you really watch your cable TV? I found out exactly how much when I moved and realized that I wasn’t missing anything by not having it anymore.
That’s the funny part about this, we love the idea of having thousands of channels at our disposal, but the truth is we only watch 3. And when it comes down to it, you really won’t miss watching them all that much.
Then there are other services which are much more enjoyable. Netfilx will allow to watch your show directly from almost any device. Which is awesome, but what’s even better is that there’s no commercials. And for only about $120 a year, it only costs about as much as one month’s worth of cable TV. I know what one I picked.
28. Make Your Home More Energy Efficient
Your power bill is a monthly cost that you just can’t avoid, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to reduce it.
Energy.gov says that out of the average amount paid for electricity and gas, 48% of it goes toward heating and cooling. That’s pretty steep.
By simply installing some weather stripping, and window coverings you will reduce that cost substantially.
Related article: How to Save Money on Electricity
29. Cut Your Student Loan Payments
Investing in your education is one of the best things you can do to increase your earning potential. However the cost of formal education has gone through the roof, and it’s still climbing. So it’s completely understandable if you have gotten your fair share of loans to go along with that degree.
You don’t have to let high payments get you down though. Refinancing your student loans is a very viable option.
Not only will this reduce the interest on the loans, but it can also cut down the monthly payments.
30. Reduce Your Car Payments
There are two great ways to reduce your car payments. The first is to refinance your loan. Provided you have the credit score to get a better loan, you can reduce interest, which should lower your payments.
The other option is to sell a newer car and pick up a used one. When you know how to shop right, you will find cars that have years of life left in them for less than half the price of a new one.
I know it’s hard to change from a new car to an older one just for the sake of spending less each month, but when you can afford a new car that is completely paid off, it’s all the better.
31. Get Cheaper Car Insurance
There are a lot of ways to save money on car insurance, but one of the best ways is to increase your deductible. By raising this one thing you can easily shave $100 dollars a year off your insurance.
You can also save money every month with a car and renters insurance bundle. By pairing both of these forms of insurance up most companies will offer around a 10% discount.
32. Spend Less on Gas
Check the pressure on your tires regularly to save money on gas. It doesn’t seem like that big of a deal, until you realize that each pound per square inch of air that you tires are missing is decreasing the efficiency by .3%. Plus this is extremely easy to take care of yourself.
Having a day job usually means that you have to drive there, but you don’t have to eat the cost of travel. Starting a carpool at work will allow you to split the bill.
As an added bonus, you’ll be able to get to know your coworkers better, which can help you do well in the company later on.
34. Never Use a Taxi
Taxis are expensive, crazy expensive. For the exact same service you can rent and Uber driver. What car you are riding around in, will vary, but the drivers tend to be on the nicer side. Though I think this is due to the fact that each one can get reviewed, and that effects whether or not they are going to get clients later.
A friend of mine drives for Uber, and told me that it’s a great way to make money, if you are in the right area. But you should check out this article if you are looking for ways to make money online.
35. Refinance Your Home
Your mortgage doesn’t have to be that high. By refinancing your home you can get a better interest rate which will save you money in the long run. But by changing your mortgage to a 30 year from a 15, your payments will drop drastically.
36. Sweep the Clearance Sections
Before you go buying something make sure to check the clearance section of whatever store you are shopping at. You would be surprised what ends up in there for around 15-50% off.
I always shop at one of these for odds and ends. I picked up a pair of clippers from Marshalls which was normally 60 bucks, but I only paid 20.
37. Get a Programmable Thermostat
It turns out that keeping your house at a constant temperature to save money on cooling is a myth. Instead, you should invest in a programable thermostat. These will make your house the ideal temperature when you get home, without having to keep it cool all day long.
You can save an estimated 10% on heating and cooling annually by making this switch.
38. Buy Your Internet Modem
As it turns out, not only can you negotiate your internet bill, but you can also reduce costs by buying your own modem. Companies rent these out to customers so they can connect, but they charge a monthly rental fee for the equipment.
It ranges from 5-10 dollars a month, which isn’t much, but the modems are only around 60 bucks, so buying it will save you quite a bit in the long run. That is provided you don’t switch carriers.
39. Track You Spending
If you want to get control of your money, then you need to start tracking your expenses. Even with a good budget you may not realize exactly where your money is going, and that can cost you.
You might be over budgeting for one thing, then using the rest of the money that you could be saving without even thinking about it.
40. Check Your Bills
Doing everything else on this list is going to put your finances on the right track, but here’s the one thing that most people ignore, their bills.
It’s not enough to try and get discounts on your bills, the second part is making sure they stick. A friend of mine bought his internet modem, only to find later that his service provider was still charging him a rental fee for the equipment he owned.
By checking his bill he was able to get all of the money they owed him back with just a few phone calls. Granted, they only gave him a credit toward future service, but a couple months of not having to pay the bill because of their mistake is pretty good in my eyes.
Related article: How to Save Money
Luckily for us there are lots of ways to save money every month. You just have to be persistent, and make sure to keep your eyes open for new opportunities.