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Money-Saving Hacks to Spend Less and Save More
Are you a big spender? You tend to overspend or spend money you don’t have?
Well, you’re not alone.
According to The Motley Fool, 79% of Americans have difficulty sticking to their budget. Additionally, the average American overspends by $20 per day. If you’re one of these people, you’re probably overspending by a whopping $7,500 a year. And that’s a lot of money!
I know that getting spending under control is not always easy, especially for those who have always liked spending.
I know, because I’ve been there. And I always, always had that urge to buy something new even if I didn’t need it—whether it’s a new makeup product, clothes or shoes.
If you’ve heard of the term “retail therapy,” then you probably know what I mean.
Today, I want to share with you some of my secret money-saving hacks for people like you who just love spending and can’t control it.
Believe me, you can turn things around. You can start saving, instead of spending, with these hacks for saving money.
21 Money-saving Hacks for the Big Spender
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1. Think how much time you have to work to afford an item
This is probably my most favorite of all money-saving hacks out there because it makes you become aware of the time you lose for buying an item.
For instance, if you make $50,000 a year from your regular job, you are likely getting paid $26/hour for working 40 hours a week. That means if you buy a purse that costs $100, you are losing over 4 hours of your precious time just to own that purse. Do you really want to waste those four hours on a purse?
Remember, you don’t just sit around during those four hours, because you likely have to work, sweat or get stressed mentally to make that money. And most of the time, you have to pay (for gas, clothes, makeup and lunches) to earn money.
Running the numbers first will make you realize whether it’s something that’s truly worth your while.
2. Learn How to Budget Money
I have heard many people say that budgeting is boring. But for me, it’s the first important step you should take to have your spending under wraps. Without a budget, how would you know if you can truly afford something?
So, if you don’t have a budget yet (or the current one is not really working out for you), it’s time you take it to heart. Sit down, list your income and expenses, and give each dollar a job. But don’t feel guilty about spending on “pleasures.” If it fits in your budget, there’s no need to worry about it. The goal is to keep within your budget and not overspend.
3. Monitor your spending
Another nifty money-saving hack to decrease your spending is to monitor how you dispense money. I believe this one goes hand-in-hand with budgeting, so it’s just as important.
You want to monitor your spending so you get to know your spending habits better. Do you like to blow hundreds of dollars on a single Friday night out with friends? Do you eat expensive lunches? Do you spend so much on clothes? Once you know your spending habits, you can start cutting back. Identify areas of spending that you can cut back on, and trim your expenses as you go. You’ll be surprised by how much money you can potentially save by cutting out trivial expenses!
List all these things you are spending money on and how much you are spending on them per week or month. Then, determine which expenses you could cut back on. I know it sounds easier said than done, but it sure can be done.
4. Layout your financial goals
There must be a reason or reasons why you’d like to spend less and save more. For many people, having financial goals is one of the best money-saving hacks they can attest to.
Financial goals give meaning to your effort in saving money and reducing spending. Are you saving up for a holiday, to pay down debt, or finance a home improvement project? Do you want to inflate your savings by xx%? These goals are helpful in keeping you motivated as you go through this journey.
Financial goals also strengthen your commitment to saving money. You want to make something significant with the money you are trying to save, so always come back to these goals whenever you lose heart.
5. Get into a saving challenge
Oh, how I love money-saving challenges! For me, making saving a fun challenge is also one of the best hacks for saving money. Completing money-saving challenges can be addicting too, because chances are, once you complete a challenge, you will want to do another one. And it’s definitely a better addiction than spending, right? 😊
There are lots of money-saving challenges that you can try, from saving every spare change you find to drawing a specific amount from your paycheck each time. The goal is to keep your motivation going so you don’t lose track of your progress.
Think of saving money as a challenge for yourself, not for others. You want to beat your previous record by increasing your saving each time (and in the process, decrease your spending). Here are the top money-saving challenges you can try this year. You might also want to check out my fun money-saving printables here.
6. Save money on autopilot
If it’s too hard for you to part ways with your money and save, then it’s probably best if you “force” the savings. That way, you won’t even see your money leaving your bank account because the bank already made the transfer for you. Automating your savings allows you to save regularly in a set and forget it kind of system. Whether or not you remember to save from that pay cycle, you are always sure that you’re tucking in some money into your savings account.
7. Never go shopping without a list
This is a classic money-saving hack, even our moms and grandparents swear by it, and works out even up to this time Never go shopping without a shopping list.
Groceries and department stores know exactly how to entice you to spend more money. They play slow music, strategize their product placements and even use color psychology. How many times have you brought extra items because you’ve seen them right at the checkout counter?
So, before you go shopping, create a list and stick to it. Go to the right aisle, pick your products, and check out right away. The quicker you are to get out of the store, the more likely it is that you can curb overspending.
8. Ditch the cards and use cash instead
Paying with a credit card is the most convenient thing to do. You take out your card, swipe it, and walk away with your purchase. And it’s mainly because of this convenience that many people end up with so much credit card debt. They tend to overspend because they don’t see money leaving their accounts – well, not until the credit statement comes in.
Paying with cash helps you become more attuned to your budget. You see money leaving your wallet, so you become more mindful of your spending. This strategy hits two birds with one stone: you reduce your credit card debt and you become better with budgeting.
9. Get an accountability partner
When you think saving money is too difficult to do, maybe getting some help would make it easier. Get an accountability partner to help you stay right on track.
Your accountability partner should be someone who’d be honest enough to tell you that you’re about to overspend. When you go shopping, that person should be able to say it when something’s too overpriced. Importantly, this person should care enough for you to motivate you to save by making you realize you have financial goals that you’d like to achieve.
Of course, this relationship is a two-way street, so make sure you’d be able to do the same for the other person.
10. Spend on what you value the most
Different people value different things. Maybe for you, it’s the experiences that matter. You’d willingly spend money for a vacation at a new destination and watch live football games a couple of times a year. Some people would probably spend more on material upgrades. Others are happy to spend on their basic needs and keep the rest in savings.
If you want to become a more vigilant spender, look into yourself and ask what truly makes you happy. There’s nothing wrong with wanting a few vacations each year or buying a new car every few years. But, you do have to be intentional with your spending. To spend money on what you value the most, you must spend less on trivial things. This helps you to rethink your purchases and focus on what brings more meaning into your life.
11. Don’t spend money you don’t have
Sounds obvious, right? One of the challenges many chronic spenders face is spending money they don’t have. This means they don’t have the money to spare, yet they go ahead and buy the item. I know, that fancy pair of shoes would go perfectly with your little black dress. But wait a minute, do you even have the money to spend for them?
I’ve learned it takes discipline and self-restraint to master the art of saving. You must wait until you have the money before you buy something. If it’s not in your hands or your account yet, then simply think you can’t afford it and take a pass. If you indulge yourself, you’ll only go into debt and that would spell more financial woes down the road.
12. Find Cheaper Alternatives
Over the years of living frugally, I’ve learned so many cheaper options for almost everything. Expensive cable? Get Netflix or Hulu. Costly restaurant meals? Cook your own food at home. Even the brand items you buy in the grocery stores have cheaper generic alternatives.
Also, one of the top money-saving travel hacks is to opt for cheaper accommodations like AirBnbs, hostels, and boutique hotels. Instead of paying a premium for a room, use that money for more experiences during your trip.
Making the switch isn’t that bad, especially if your heart is all set on saving more money. You don’t have to drastically do it too. For instance, if it’s hard for you to give up restaurant meals altogether, consider eating out only during special occasions. Also, try to keep an open mind. Generic products perform almost as well as branded counterparts, yet they cost less money.
13. Set a spending allowance
If you think allowances are just for kids, then you’re dead wrong. They’re for everybody, even for the big spenders. I even believe that those who have the tendency to spend impulsively should live with a set allowance per week or month.
Having an allowance gives you a sense of limit to your spending. If you can only spend this much money for the entire month, then it’ll force you to rethink your spending and become more resourceful.
14. Don’t check out your cart right away
These days, it’s easy to lose your hard-earned money when shopping online. But one of the best ways to stop yourself from overspending is to leave your orders in the cart for a couple of days before finally deciding whether to check them out.
During those few days, you are giving yourself some time to reflect on whether you really want to buy that product and if you truly have the money to spend on it. Chances are, you’ll realize it’s only a waste of money. It’s not bad if you ended up buying the item. What’s important is that you’ve given yourself enough time to think it over.
15. Stay away from people who overspend
Are you friends with the Joneses? If you spend a lot of time with the Joneses, you might find yourself keeping up with them. Mrs. Jones just brought that trendy kitchen appliance, so you think maybe you should do the same.
Who you are constantly with has a cognitive impact on you. If you are constantly around people who overspend, it’s likely you’ll overspend too. You’ll give yourself all those lame excuses to blow money because all your friends are overspenders.
But if you surround yourself with people who save, their habits may rub on you. You will learn from their experiences and wisdom, and you’ll end up becoming a saver yourself.
16. Borrow instead of buy
There are many instances when you can save money just because you opted to borrow. For example, you can borrow a friend’s cot or stroller instead of buying new ones for your baby. Some loving friends may even give you hand-me-downs so you won’t have to buy new clothes, toys, and books.
Need power tools? Maybe your friends or extended family have them. Ask to borrow instead of buying brand new ones (brand new tools are ridiculously expensive!). Borrowing can be an awesome money-saver, but of course, you’d have to return those things in good condition to maintain a healthy relationship with the lender.
17. Set aside some blow money
Being too confined in your budget can feel restricting. It might feel like all you ever spend on are your needs. But what about your wants?
Having some fun money brings more joy to your otherwise budgeted financial life. This is the money you can spend free of guilt. You can use it for discretionary shopping, facials, and mani-pedis, or even something to spend for a weekend getaway. Once you have settled all your bills and gave each dollar a job, you can now budget for some fun money that you can happily spend.
18. Set a spending freeze
Many people swear by doing a spending freeze and how it has helped them save more money and reduce their inclination to spend. A spending freeze is a period of time (maybe a week, a month, a few months… up to you) when you don’t spend anything outside your basic needs. Of course, you’d still have to make sure that you’ll pay all your bills and your family is taken care of. So instead of spending your money, on say, fancy dinners, you’ll pocket that amount and throw it into your savings account. Check out these tips on how to win a no-spend challenge!
19. Invest in education instead of material things
I am a huge follower of this. Instead of spending money on things that you don’t need, why not spend it on valuable resources instead?
Acquiring new skills and advancing your knowledge makes you more marketable. So if you want to work-from-home, explore new opportunities, or advance in your career, this education would set you up on the right foot.
There are now plenty of free and paid resources for just about any subject matter. Spend your time and money on them, instead of endlessly scrolling through online shops that only tempt you to spend unnecessarily.
If you want free money-making courses, check out this list of free courses for online jobs here. These courses were created by experts in their fields so you can rest assured that these courses are some of the best courses out there,
20. Be happy with what you have
Some people tend to overspend because they tie their happiness with material purchases. They feel a rush when seeing something new and shiny. But that doesn’t mean that once they’ve bought that item, they feel happy.
Having the right money mindset will certainly help you stop spending. If you’re happy with your practical car, you won’t feel the need to buy a luxurious one. If you’re happy with your current home, you might not consider getting a bigger one. Being happy with what you have and feeling content with your blessings will make you realize that, indeed, money can’t buy happiness.
Ready to Use these Saving Money Hacks?
I know spending money is loads of fun. For that moment, at least.
But if you think long-term, you’re better off saving money. While you might not be able to curb your overspending habits overnight, I believe slowly incorporating these money-saving hacks will set you on the right track.
Do you have more money-saving life hacks to share? Let’s connect in the comments.
More Money-Saving Tips
Use Ibotta each time you buy groceries
Use Ibotta to earn cash back on items you regularly buy at the grocery store, such as milk, bread, vegetables, fruits, meats, toilet paper, toothpaste, medicine, or yogurt.
I am an Ibotta user, too, and I’ve earned over $1000 in cash back and bonuses by using the app!
Another bonus? Join Ibotta for FREE here and receive a $20 Ibotta Bonus after scanning your first grocery receipts.
Use Rakuten when shopping online
Rakuten is a FREE app or site that pays up to 40% cash back for your online purchases at any of Rakuten’s partner stores. The company is affiliated with over 2500 stores including Amazon, Macy’s, Apple, and Best Buy.
I highly recommend signing up with Rakuten if you always buy things online. You’ll also receive a $10 welcome bonus after making your first $25 purchase. Check out Rakuten here.
If you need help with meal planning or simply don’t have the time to do it, I highly recommend using the $5 Meal Plan.
For only $5 a month, you will receive a delicious meal plan where every meal costs $2 per person or $5 per family. It’s a great tool to use if you are spending too much money on food and want to reduce your spending. Following a particular diet? They also offer special diet plans, including gluten-free and vegetarian meals.
They are currently offering a FREE 14-day trial. You can cancel anytime with no questions asked so it is absolutely risk-free and you’ll get 2 weeks worth of free meal plan!