I've spent over 15 years working as a Certified Public Accountant helping people. I'll share real world lessons that have helped my clients and myself create wealth, covering topics including your family budget, consumer debt, investing for income and much more.
7 Money Saving Tips – Use These Ideas and Your Money Problems WILL be Solved!
In my post I spend HOW MUCH on coffee?? I discussed two different money mindsets, “I don’t make enough money”, and “I spend to much”. It may seem like a small nuance, just semantics. But, I think it’s a significant issue when it comes to getting ahead. Over my career working with people on their finances I’ve witnessed a stark difference between the under-earners and the over-spenders when it comes to talking about their personal finances. If YOU are an over-spender consider the following list of money saving ideas:
Cable television– A few years ago I was spending about $150 for cable. I don’t think this is unusual at all, in fact most people that I know spend quite a bit more. One day I decided that’s WAY to much and I cancelled cable. Over the past few years I’ve tried every cord cutting service there is, Sling, Hulu etc… I recently landed on the Direct TV subscription service and I love it, between Direct TV, Netflix, Amazon Prime and a good over the air antenna my TV options are as good as my $150+ cable package. The best part is I pay $40 for Direct and $10 (I think) for Netflix and that’s it. Well, technically there’s a cost for Prime but I’m a Prime member regardless so I don’t factor that in. Savings over $1,200 per year.
Music– I was rocking out at work the other day to my 80’s rap playlist, a co-worker walked into my office and commented on the fact that I’m always listening to something different. We started talking about music and it turns out that she has tens of thousands of songs in her iTunes account. I asked her what sort of investment that is, “well, I guess tens of thousands of dollars”. I’ve been a member of music subscription services since the start, I was with Rhapsody for years, I believe they were bought by Napster. But now I use the Amazon Prime service, I think it’s $8 a month (if you have a prime membership), they have every song that I’ve ever wanted, for $8 a month. If you’re on the road a lot and can’t stream no problem, you can download all the music you want and listen without a connection. If you cancel your subscription then your music just expires on your cancellation date. Savings, possibly thousands.
Trade in that expensive car – I have a good friend whose husband recently bought an expensive jeep ($40K+ for a jeep seems expensive to me). Financed it all, see Compound Interest, He Who Doesn’t Understand it Pays it. if you don’t understand how expensive that is. And, it turns out that Jeeps use a lot of gas on the commute… All in the Jeep costs well over $1,000 a month. I own a Kia Optima Hybrid, I bought it for less than $20K a few years ago, no maintenance issues and it gets almost $40 miles to the gallon. I told my friend to trade out the Jeep for a good slightly used hybrid sedan. The monthly savings would be a few hundred a month. Looking around my neighborhood at all of the expensive luxury cars and big SUV’s, it appears that the Jeep story is not unusual. Trade in your expensive cars for something reliable but reasonable, savings thousands each year.
Ibotta – I wrote a post on my 3 favorite apps and ibotta’s on the top of the list, Three Apps to Help You Save Time and Money! I have some mental block when it comes to clipping coupons, I CAN NOT do it… I see them in the newspaper (well, actually I haven’t read a newspaper for years, ever since Al Gore invented the internet) I know coupons can save me big money, but it’s just not going to happen. If you don’t have ibotta on your phone download it NOW! The whole process takes roughly 5 minutes or less a week and they send you MONEY! The part that I like about ibotta is that instead of reducing the price of an item they write you a check (or send you gift cards). I love it when people send me money for essentially doing nothing. I save about $10-$20 each week with ibotta, so total annual savings $520-$1,040.
Use a freakin budget!! – If you’ve read any of my prior posts then you’ll notice a theme. Budgeting is a big deal for me. It’s the single best thing that you can do for your financial future. In the words of one of my mentors, you can’t manage what you don’t measure. I spent half my life working my butt off, getting to the end of the month with nothing left. I’ve been diligently using a budget the past decade or so and I’ve accumulated a pretty significant net worth. I’m 100% positive that would not have happened if I didn’t start using a budget. Those dollars add up over the years, and unless you know how much you spend on what you’ll spend TOO MUCH! It’s human nature, please, pretty please start a budget. For ideas on budgeting visit, How to Build a Simple Budget for Budget Beginners, or Your Budget is Complete!, potential savings, MILLIONS (seriously over a lifetime including return on your savings, potentially millions).
Payoff your credit card debt – Eliminating excess consumer debt is Another topic that I’m pretty passionate about. If you need an in-depth discussion on the topic of consumer debt visit, Compound Interest, He Who Doesn’t Understand it Pays it. Most families are paying thousands each year on interest on consumer debt (credit cards, auto loans etc). Here’s a great opportunity to use the savings that you found above to start paying off all of your debt. Above you found your payoff accelerator that I discussed in Eliminate Your Debt, Create a Snowball. Use this technique and you can save literally hundreds of thousands of dollars on interest over the rest of your life.
Acorns – This is another app that I mentioned in Three Apps to Help You Save Time and Money!. I’ve been using Acorns for a while and I’ve saved a lot more than I expected. I’ve been stressing for years about starting a college fund. I think this is it. The App rounds up your purchases and deposits the difference in an investment fund. You can also designate an amount to save each month. With virtually no effort and without even missing it I’m saving a couple thousand $$’s a year (including my extra monthly deposit). This one’s another no brainer. Savings, tens of thousands over the years.
These simple changes if maintained over a long period of time will save you significant money, especially if you’re able to invest some of the savings and generate a return to get compound interest working in your favor. I suppose the alternative is to work the rest of your life and live on cat food when you can’t work anymore…