I hope y’all enjoyed yesterday’s post about how to save money. There were a couple of comments with some more ideas, so check them out! And now I have another 10 plus 1 for your viewing pleasure. Enjoy these 10 more ways you can save more 🙂
Be your own auto mechanic
One of the best things I ever did, hands down. When I was younger, I was the lazy one in the family, and I’m sure my dad was afraid I would never learn how to change a tire, let alone anything else. But frugality prevailed and when I bought my first car, I went out and bought a Haynes manual, which is a complete tear-down and reassembly of your vehicle. I know my boundaries with certain things, but it’s surprisingly easy to change out filters, batteries, spark plugs, alternators, belts, etc.
Give yourself 24
This is for those impulse buys, ones that you’d like to think are premeditated, but you really know they aren’t. You see something and you can feel it: fate. Your palms get sweaty. Your pupils dilate. You start to salivate. You don’t care about the price. The only question you have is, “Where have you been all my life?” In these situations, give yourself 24. Hours that is. Take some time away from said product or service and think about it. Will your life be better off with it? Is the benefit worth it?
Don’t do fads
I knew a guy once who changed his entire wardrobe every time something new came along. He would spend hundreds of dollars equipping himself with more cool than the rest of us could ever imagine, and then he would give all his 6-month old clothes to his friends. I don’t expect that any of you are that obsessive, but when you are tempted to buy something just because it’s “in”, step back and think about what’s important. Your long-term goals or keeping up with the Joneses?
Communicate with your spouse
I know of at least one couple who almost divorced because of a large purchase one of them made without the other’s knowledge. Not every situation is going to be so extreme but it would be stupid to think that your individual purchases can’t cause strain in a marriage. My wife and I have gotten better at this because we budget together and if there is anything beyond that, we talk about it. We weigh everything and decide if the purchase is warranted or if it can wait. I would suggest agreeing upon a minimum, for example $50, above which any purchase must be discussed unless it was previously agreed upon. This can not only help you have another opinion that is isn’t as attached as you are, and it can help your marriage!
Re-evaluate your insurance
Chances are, you’re paying more for your insurance than you should be. In fact, when I sold insurance, I replaced quite a few life insurance policies because my clients were paying too much for policies that weren’t even best suited for their needs. So do some research. Check out other companies. Run some quotes. At the same time, make sure the policy is best suited to your needs. There are some shady insurance policies out there that are cheaper per month, but it’s definitely not worth it.
Do you live within walking or biking distance of your work, church, family or friends? Go the Euro way and ditch the car. All those trips add up quickly with gas prices already high, and who knows how much higher they’ll go. If you can carpool or reasonably use public transportation, do it. It’s nice to have your own transportation wherever you go, but it isn’t a necessity and shouldn’t be treated like one.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized just how expensive it can be to do a family movie night. For example, it could cost around $50 or more(!) for a family of four to see a movie if you include drinks and popcorn. If it’s up to me, we would just get a Redbox and pay $1.29. Many people are also dropping cable and satellite in favor of Netflix or other online streaming, which is what I plan on doing when we move out. When I want to watch a BYU game, we’ll just go to the in-laws 🙂 Or you can just read a book, which costs you nothing if you get it from a library.
Cut your debt
The first place you need to start is credit card and any other consumer debt. Then tackle student, auto and any other loans. Lastly, the mortgage. Pay it off as quickly as you reasonably can. This may seem counter-intuitive to the whole saving thing because you’re putting money to the debt instead of your savings, but once it’s gone, you’ll have that much money each month to go purely toward savings. On the mortgage, decide what you want to do. Paying it off more quickly will definitely save you money in the long run, possibly tens of thousands. But tackling that much is daunting, so be smart about it.
(BONUS!!!) Don’t be lazy
A lot of savings problems come from sheer laziness. Too lazy to cook, too lazy to do your homework, too lazy to budget, etc. If your goals are important enough to you, you can’t just sit back and expect it all to work out. You’ve got to work your caboose off. You’ve got to take extra time to make more educated and therefore better decisions. Nowadays it seems that everything has to be convenient, and this stuff isn’t convenient. As convenient as budgeting software like Mint is, it isn’t going to make these decisions or do this research for you. So doing the bare minimum isn’t enough. Are your goals important? If not, it’s probably because they aren’t awesome. Make them awesome, and then do something about it.