You don’t need to be a millionaire to live an enjoyable life.
Here are the top 10 tips on how to save money and at the same time live a good life, and I mean a really good life. Live your dreams without tightening your budget to a point which feels uncomfortable.
There is absolutely no need to live cheaply just because you are not a high earner.
Of course, for any existence in today’s modern world some money is required. However, you don’t need big money, and it doesn’t matter where you live.
The tips below work for everybody. Read them, understand them and use them. Enjoy life without being ruled by lack of money!
Top 10 Tips: How to Save Money Straight Away
- Go shopping with a shopping list and stick to it, and never shop on an empty stomach!
This is actually quite basic advice and should be obvious to everybody. However, there are many people who simply never use a “to do” list or a shopping list. I have heard excuses such as, “I don’t need a list. I have a good memory…”, or, “I don’t need a shopping list – I’m not intending to buy much.”
The usual scenario is that even if you only need bread, peanut butter and milk, if you go shopping without a list it is very likely that eventually you’ll find yourself at the till with additional items in your basket such as chocolate, crisps, or beer. There may have been some cheese on offer which you also threw in.
If you add up the items you have bought and don’t actually need it may only be a small amount each time such as £5. But if you act in the same manner during every shopping excursion then the cumulative effect could be in the region of £100 a month, or even more.
Save the £100 for necessities – don’t spend it on comfort or luxury purchases!
- Add-up the bill as you go along. This will help you to stick to a budget.
Another very simple piece of advice. Set a budget for what you want to spend on this trip and then challenge yourself to beat the budget. Be competitive and try not to spend more than your budget allows (i.e. what you intended to spend), but actually less.
If you succeed every time you go shopping to save £5, then you will have totted up perhaps as much as £100 for other things by the end of the month.
- Always pay cash. Develop the habit of never using your card for shopping. This rule allows you to withdraw only your budget for a week (e.g. £100), to focus on it and then stick to it.
You have your shopping list and your estimate of the total cost. Don’t take any surplus money with you. Believe me, this truly helps.
- Try substitute brands. Don’t stick to “named brands” just because you’ve seen the TV advert.
Usually, the cheaper brands contain exactly the same ingredients. You are only paying for the name of better advertised products (i.e. their advertising costs).
In Germany, I remember some time back there was a big consumer test, matching no-name products which were produced for cheap shops such as Lidl against high profile branded products. Every single no-name product scored better than its branded competitor.
Keep this in mind when shopping. It will save you loads of money and see you receiving at least the same quality.
- Don’t be tempted by discounts (buy three, pay for two, etc.), as you certainly don’t need to stockpile large quantities of any products. Stretch out your money and only buy what you need.
Why should you be tempted by bulk savings to buy a discounted shampoo brand which costs £4.50 a bottle, paying “only” £9 for 3 bottles, when you could get the gel you normally use for £2.50 a bottle?
Big money saver here! Think before you buy! Do I truly need it?
- Never buy everything under one roof. Identify the cheapest places to shop for certain items.
Although this may sound a bit stressful or time-consuming to have to run from one shop to another to get the whole shopping done, you will soon realise what a huge money saver strategic shopping really is.
A nice side effect of doing so is that you give yourself a little more exercise!
- Don’t buy cheap.
There is a saying “buy cheap, pay twice”. Ponder a little over this phrase. It makes a lot of sense.
If you buy cheap (e.g. the cheapest thermos flask you can find) then it’s likely to be cheaply made, or sub-standard, and/or a product with a very short lifespan. This means it will need replacing sooner rather than later.
Okay. So, you buy a flask for £10. Then in five months’ time another for £10. And in a year a third flask for £10. Spending £30 right away would probably have bought you a flask with a lifespan of five years or more.
We are not rich enough to continue buying cheap. Keep this in mind and look for quality when shopping for durable items.
- You are your own boss. Don’t keep up with the Jones’s. Don’t be led into purchases just to compete or emulate your neighbours.
There is no need to pay any attention to the habits of other people. Your neighbours probably don’t spend as much time as you imagine thinking about you. How much time do YOU actually spend thinking about your neighbours? Do you care what brands they wear? Do you really care what make of washing machine they have?
The only thing you may find bothering you about your neighbours is some inner belief that they are better off than you. But do you actually know what is going on internally? Do you know how many sleepless nights they may have because they can’t manage their money as a result of the new car sitting on their drive?
- Think twice, three times, or more before buying anything such as clothes, or other long-term items.
Do you really need them? Abide by the One Year Rule for Possessions. This means that everything that hasn’t been used in the last 12 months, isn’t really needed.
Go through your wardrobe, go through your tool boxes. Take out everything you haven’t used for one year and sell it. I promise you will be hugely surprised at the number of benefits!
- Implement the “Value per Wear” or “Value per Use” rule. This means dividing the cost by the likely number of uses per year. This will help you to decide what to buy.
So, you are considering buying a used car. The one you have in mind is going to cost £1,500. You need the car to get you to work daily. This means, say, 48 weeks x 5 = 240 days.
£1,500 divided by 240 = £6.25 per day. Of course, there will be insurance, fuel, repairs, MOT, etc. to add on to this. Do the same sum with these items. Think twice – Is it really worth buying a car which will cost perhaps £20 a day to drive? Can’t you get to work cheaper than that? Has it ever crossed your mind that you may save a bucket load of money by getting a lift to work, even if you have to pay for each ride?
There is really no need to live poorly or in a financial mess purely because you are not a “high earner”. The secret of good money management is to rid yourself of false beliefs and, of course, a little lateral thinking and budgeting also helps.