Saving money is obviously important, but it can often feel more than a little overwhelming. Whether or not you're used to budgeting, though, it's always good to pick up on a few simple things you can do to save money. As our lives and priorities change, our budgets often do, too; as such, continuing to learn new tricks and tips might go a long way to keeping you covered even when times are a little lean.
As is true whenever we talk about money in general — not just how to save it — there are no one-size fits all rules that will work for everyone's situations and personal needs. Even beyond the necessaries, everyone has their own preferences, and that's OK! It just means that while some people prioritize certain money saving tips, other people may utilize others. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you are comfortable with where your money is going — whether that's saving, spending, investing, or what have you.
That's why I was so excited to find an AskReddit thread today simply titled, "What simple things can you do to save money?" Posted by Redditor iruul, the thread has already received over 5,000 comments in less than a day and is still steadily growing. If there's one thing I like to see, it's people coming together to share advice and tips. This can be especially useful when a sensitive topic is at play — often, it's considered taboo to talk about money in our culture, so being able to get advice from the internet can actually be very handy. It also might contribute to a culture of greater financial transparency, which can only be a good thing.
Here are some of my personal favorites tips from the thread; head on over to AskReddit for more.
1. Move Your Money Before You Can Spend It
Setting up your payroll and banking information so that a portion of your earnings goes directly into a savings account is a great way to avoid spending extra money just because it's "there." If you don't see it in your checking account, you'll be much less tempted to spend it on an impulse buy in the moment.
2. Get A Library Card...
I know, I know; many people who love to read also love buying books and adding to their personal collections. But if you're tight on money, going to the library and simply reading books for free can be a terrific option. If your local library doesn't have a book you want, ask a librarian! They can likely order it for you from a partner library in their network. What's more, many libraries now allow you to check out books on e-readers, too.
3. ...And Get As Much Use Out Of It As Possible
Libraries are not only a wealth of free books, but also free entertainment. Depending on your local library's branch, you can not only check out books, but can also use free internet and rent DVDs and audio books. If your library offers free classes, that's even better!
4. Comparison Shop At The Grocery Store (And In General)
This takes a little more time to start with, but if you price compare on items you often buy in the grocery store, it'll start to become a habit. Once you get the same items again and again, you'll immediately remember which thing is the best value, making a money saving tip into a second nature habit.
5. Ditch Cable For Streaming Options
If you're not really a channel surfer, switching from a monthly cable service to something like Netflix or Hulu can be a great way to save money. However, this does hinge on you having your own computer or tablet and Internet access.
6. Figure Out How Many Hours Of Work It Takes To Buy Whatever You're Thinking Of Buying
Thinking of splurging on a big purchase (or even just going out to eat on a night you originally said you'd cook at home)? In order to determine how much enjoyment you'll get out of it, it might help to sit down and figure out exactly how many hours of work you'll need to clock in order to pay for it. This isn't to shame anyone on any splurges — again, your money is your money, and you can do with it whatever you want — but if you're not totally sold on the diea of buying whatever it is, it can quickly put into perspective whether or not an expense is "worth" it to you.
7. Cut Down On Your Meat Consumption
It's true: Cutting down on your meat consumption can save some serious money. Eater cheaper proteins like beans or lentils will keep you full and healthy; and if you don't want to remove it completely from your diet, meat can be a once-in-a-while treat.
8. Stay Hydrated
Sure, you probably have a water bill to pay, but keeping a filled pitcher in the fridge is still going to cost a lot less than anything you might buy at the store. Beyond that, it's good for your body. Getting into the habit of drinking water regularly may help you stave off cravings for other drinks, as well as help you save some money when you go out to eat.
9. All This:
I pretty much always sleep on big purchases, so from personal experience, I can say that tip definitely helps cut down on extra spending.
10. Bring Your Lunch To Work
Making your lunch ahead of time and bringing it to work with you can save some serious money. There are all sorts of meal prep ideas you can do to help save you time, but you're also free to simply bring leftovers from dinner, too. Afraid of missing out on team lunch culture? Go eat your lunch in a park or outside on nice days and invite everyone along — whether they've also brought their lunches or are ordering takeout.
So, there you have it! Be sure to check out the full AskReddit thread for more simple ways you can save money.