- Saving money is a universal struggle
- There is no painless trick to saving more money
- Determine on an individual level what you can cut out
- Saved money should be put away, not spent elsewhere
- Some simple saving tricks
- Unplug electronics not in use to save on passive energy drain
- Learn housekeeping skills
- Insulate your home
- Lower water usage
- Saved money should be invested, to work and grow for you
If you often find yourself unable to save much money, you’re not alone. Life is expensive; between rent and utilities, food and clothes, going out and enjoying yourself. Especially as a college student or a recent college graduate, your income isn’t very high and you really don’t want to be drinking Keystones again.
This is a hard truth. If you want to save money, you will have to be content living a less luxurious lifestyle, regardless of your income level. Living frugally is generally not fun. It takes discipline. It takes time. It doesn’t particularly get better. I’m sorry there isn’t a better way of phrasing it.
What this means for you is: you’ll have to eat out less. You cut back of treats for yourself. You’ll go to less events or cut out a service you don’t really need. To effectively save, you’re going to have to set limits individually, based on your situation. And even if you are very strict on your guidelines, you aren’t going to all of a sudden see your bank account explode. It’ll take months or even years to see any noticeable accumulation of wealth and even when you do, it’s not like you can go out and buy something with the savings. (Side note: if you’re saving to buy a house, all real estate purchases should be treated as investing, not simply buying) That’s a big reason why I like treating contributions to saving accounts as a monthly bill. The money has to be put away every month and there is nothing I can change about it.
For smaller scale savings, a few simple habits can save you some cash. Not a ton of money, but 5-10 dollars a month is better than nothing.
First, and super simple, unplug everything you’re not using. The passive energy drain of a flat screen TV is as much as a refrigerator. Microwaves, internet routers, lamps, chargers. Anything that plugs into a wall, should be unplugged. Especially when you’re asleep or not home. It’s especially easy if you can plug everything into a power strip, because then it’s just one motion.
Personal example: I have my TV, PS4, sound system, internet modem and a lamp on one power strip. Every day when I get home from work, that one strip is plugged into the wall. And it is unplugged before I go to bed. That saves me around 16 hours of passive energy draw, significantly lowering my energy bill at the end of the month.
Things you can learn to do yourself will also save you from hiring someone to do it for you. Skills like cooking can become hobbies and allow to you eat both cheaper and healthier. Basic needlework, leather upkeep (for shoes and bag and the like), ironing, cleaning and home repair are all valuable skills to learn and once you’ve learned them, you will no longer have to pay someone to do it for you.
Additionally, things like cable or a landline might be redundant if you pay for things like Netflix or have a mobile plan.
Often, insulating your house can also save you money on heat and air conditioning. Putting old pillows or blankets in the crawl spaces of your home will increase insulation. Sealing holes and leaks in your walls or window frames can also help. An often overlook area is the wall plugs and ceiling light fixtures, which will also leak air. Those can be sealed with various supplies you can buy at home improvement stores. Talk to a friend-recommended contractor to see what other improvements you can make.
If you pay for water, washing your dishes by hand instead of a dishwasher will lower your water bill. If you joined a gym, showering there will also help. Putting a jug or a brick in your toilet tank will lower the amount of water you use to flush.
Again, cutting costs and saving money is a consistent and inconvenient struggle. It also doesn’t end up saving all that much, unless you take some extreme life-style changes. What we should keep in mind is that once you have saved the money and are consistently saving, safe investing outlined in this blog are how those saving grow and work for you.
In a part two, we will discuss some other saving tips as well as where to put the savings i.e. and emergency fund