This is a guest post by Jacob, the creator of @DollarDiligence! Check out his blog via his bio below the post.
Whether it’s not having enough money for bills or that vacation you’ve been wanting to take for years, very few people are really satisfied with the balance in their bank account. However, it’s not always realistic to just make more money. On top of needing more money, people have responsibilities, taxing jobs, and sometimes…you know…people are just tired!
The solution? Trying to save more of the money that you’re already making.
We’ve all heard the typical ways to save money: turn off the lights and the television when you leave, make your own coffee, eat meals at home instead of going out. It’s useful, sure, but we’ve heard it before. Well, here’s six outside-the-box ways to save money.
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1. Programmable thermostat. Here’s the deal: It really doesn’t save a lot to just turn off the lights when you leave. The biggest energy usage comes from your thermostat, and we always forget to turn that off when we leave the house. Instead of reaching for a blanket when you’re chilly inside, try turning your thermostat up a few degrees. You can also invest in a programmable thermostat that can set itself higher during the day or when you leave, and then lower down when it’s time for bed.
2. Cancel subscriptions. Have you checked your subscriptions lately? Chances are there is something you pay for that you don’t use enough or just plain don’t need. If you’re not even sure what subscriptions you have anymore, there’s an app for that. Apps like Truebill or Trim help you find and locate all of your subscriptions and assists you in canceling the ones you no longer use.
3. Do your own car maintenance. Your car is one of your main assets and you need to keep it in working condition. However, cars are like computers, sometimes the simplest thing causes the biggest fuss and routine maintenance is better than fixing a problem. A lot of the routine maintenance can be done at home, like oil changes, replacing batteries and lights, and keeping up on the tire pressure. Just properly inflated tires can save you up to 3% in gas efficiency, but doing regular maintenance like that can save even more.
4. Switch to generic brands and buy in bulk. Exactly why do we pay twenty cents more for ‘name brand’ canned goods? As if beans can be canned any differently than they already are? Switching to generic brands can save several dollars on each grocery trip and quickly add up to hundreds of dollars for the year. Also, sometimes the generic brand actually tastes better, too! You have to be careful, though, when switching to generic with things like makeup, medications, or other personal care items, especially if you have allergies.
5. Negotiate and/or refinance debt. When trying to save money, you have to sit down and take a hard look at where your money is going. You obviously can’t stop paying credit cards or the mortgage, but you can negotiate and refinance both! If you are trying to erase credit card debt, options like refinancing and consolidating are good options if the debt. Likewise, if you are like most Millennials you are probably trying to beat your student loans. If you have been paying both regularly and on time, refinancing loans and mortgages for lower interest rates can save a lot of money immediately and for long term.
6. DIY whatever you can. It is easy to DIY more things than you think, but some of the easiest are cleaning products and gifts. DIY cleaning products are better for the environment and your body because they contain far less toxins than their store bought counterparts. They’re cheap and easy to make — one of the best cleaning solutions just happens to be baking soda and vinegar. When it comes to holiday gifts, if you’re trying to shop for someone hard to please, a DIY gift is perfect because you know they don’t have it. Simple things like DIY cleaning products or crafted items would make perfect signature gifts for loved ones.
The key to saving money is to weave all these changes into your daily life. You can’t make a big change without making little changes, so consider your money saving strategies to be part of life. That will also make it easier to manage, so you don’t get discouraged or overwhelmed. By being a little more frugal, you can have more money for the things you really want and peace of mind for the future too.
This blog post was written by Jacob, the creator of the blog Dollar Diligence. He is a millennial blogger, freelancer, and teacher working to save you more money each month.