Figuring out how to save money can be hard, especially if you are a low income earner.
However, there are ways for you to save extra cash if you are consistent and willing to make some changes to your spending habits.
I know for me, creating the kind life I want involves being debt free. Therefore, I am always looking for ways how to save money so I can put extra cash towards paying off my student loans fast.
Below are the 7 best ways how to save money so you can keep more of it in your bank account, sock it away for your retirement, or grow it in your investments!
How to Save Money
1. Actively Pay Yourself First
One of the best ways how to save money is to pay yourself first.
It’s a popular concept I learned from my favorite book The Richest Man in Babylon by George C. Clason. You pay yourself first before you pay any of your debtors because 10% of what you earn is yours to keep.
I understand this can be challenging if you are living paycheck to paycheck. However, even if you can pay yourself 5% or even 1%, it will put you on the right path and mindset to consistently save money.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, I recommend that you start with that first.
This is super important and will make a huge difference in your personal finances if you become burdened with an unexpected bill or sudden job loss.
Once you save for your initial emergency fund, continue paying yourself first and ideally, focus on paying down debt and building wealth. You can easily start saving using the 52 Week Money Challenge that I used or something like the envelope budgeting system.
2. Bring Your Lunch to Work
Buying lunch everyday or even lattes can quickly dry up your wallet?
Ever heard of the Latte Factor? David Bach first discussed the Latte Factor in his book Smart Women Finish First.
The concept is simple.
The little amount of money that we spend on a daily basis can add up to huge gains if we invest that money instead.
Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying lunch or a latte every once in a while, but if you are doing this daily, you are spending a lot more money than you realize.
Thank about it.
If you typically spend an average of $7 per day on lunch, 5 days a week, that’s $140 a month or $1680 a year.
If you are someone who doesn’t have $1000 or even $500 cash saved at home or in the bank to pay for a small financial crisis…well, it was all spent on lunches and Starbucks coffee.
How to save money can be so much simpler if you can bring your lunch to work.
Therefore, pass on dining out, especially with co-workers, and watch your savings quickly add up.
3. Use a Grocery List
Here is a tip… Never go grocery shopping on an empty stomach – LOL.
I did that once and boy, I overspent on groceries!
So, make sure you eat something before grocery shopping and bring a shopping list. More importantly, stick to the list!
Having a shopping list is a really great way to save money because it can help prevent you from buying excess food that can potentially go to waste.
Consequently, if it’s not on your shopping list, then don’t buy it unless it was something that you really need, but forgot to write down (ie. eggs, milk, toilet tissue).
4. Stop Upgrading Your Cell Phone
I love getting a new cell phone just as much as the next person, but constantly upgrading your phone is a waste of money, especially if your old phone is working just fine.
The newest cell phone can easily cost well over $800 or more where you have to ask yourself, does it make good financial sense to drop that that much money on a phone?
Don’t fool yourself into believing that financing your phone somehow makes it OK.
That extra $15-$35+ per month you’re paying to finance a new cell phone can be put towards yours savings, investment stocks, retirement plan, credit cards, student loans, or an emergency fund.
If you’re looking for smart ways how to save money, next time the newest Android or iPhones comes out, simply pass.
5. Stop Shopping
Just like the shiny new cell phone, you can save money by not shopping extra clothes, shoes, or accessories.
I love shopping too, until I realized my sister and I were spending $400-$500 each per month on home decor, shoes, and dining out.
My sister was shocked when I told here how much we were spending on a monthly.
She couldn’t believe it!
However, when I bought a car, I didn’t have that extra money anymore for shopping because I now had a car note.
That’s how I know we were spending that much money.
If you wish to buy a new blouse, handbag, or pair of shoes that’s fine, but try to give away or sell something you don’t wear first to prevent having a closet of stuff you don’t use.
I decluttered my closet and it looks like it’s time for round 2 because I still see clothes I haven’t worn in a year.
6. Pass on Outings
Going out with friends is always a blast, but honestly, ever tracked how much money you spent?
If you are serious about incorporating ways how to save money, you would skip the outings with friends. That’s what Scott Rieckens did, author of the book Playing with FIRE and filmmaker of the documentary with the same title.
FIRE stands for Financial Independence, Retire Early and its becoming increasingly popular.
Rieckens and his wife Taylor passed on outings with friends and really tightened their spending in order to save 70% of their income.
I am not saying to not hang out with friends every once in awhile, but if you can skip the outings with friends on the weekends, the money you would have spent on food and cocktails can add up in big savings.
Try something free instead at home like a movie night, game night, or just some enjoyable conversation.
If you are really focused on how to save money, maybe the FIRE Movement lifestyle is for you, or something like minimalism or simple living.
7. Get Rid of cable
This one I’m sure you heard before. Every time you read about how to save money, the “Get rid of cable” tip is always on the list.
Well… because it’s true!
Cable is so expensive anyway.
I think I had cable only one time in my adult life and there was never anything on that I wanted to watch. I have Netflix instead which I split with my sister.
Maybe that’s something you can do too with a friend, family member, or significant other.
Since steaming TV shows and movies are so popular now, I’m sure cable networks are trying hard to keep their customers by bundle packages that include cable, internet, cell phone, and even a house phone.
Not sure what those bills would cost if you paid for those services separately, but if you find you can save more by cutting the cable, I say go for it!