Saving money is easier said than done. Yes, we all know that we should save money, but that doesn’t make it any fun. However, saving money is more important now than ever before. For one thing, we’re living in an unprecedented economic moment within our country. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many Americans to work at home, deal with cut hours or reduced pay, and even lose their jobs. This means that where it was once easier for some of us to both make and save money, now many more Americans are facing unemployment than ever before.
The stability of certain industries is virtually gone. For example, those who worked within the travel and hospitality industries are now struggling to make ends meet; before, they had regular paychecks to look forward to. Indeed, for many, saving money has become a necessity. If you don’t have a job, you’ll, of course, need to save as much money as possible in order to take care of yourself until you find a new one. And if you do have a job, you’ll need to save money and build a nest egg so that if you do lose your job, you’ll be somewhat financially prepared. Today, looking into how to make sure you save money is as much about the present circumstances as it is about the future.
But even outside of the pandemic, saving money should be taken more seriously. We all need to consider how to best prepare for our futures, wherein we won’t be able to work even if we want to as retirees. Many people retire well before they die, and therefore they need to be able to maintain their lifestyles for decades without being in the workforce. Saving money has a lot to do with that. If you don’t begin saving money now, you may not be able to have much of a future — or at least, not a stable one.
So while it feels difficult to think about saving money now, if you can, you should. And if you can’t afford to save a lot of money now, you can still research how to make sure you save money so that in the future you will be able to do so effectively. It’s never too late to begin turning around your finances, and the more effective that you are, the easier it will be for you to relax in the future. But at the same time, don’t put yourself down if you’re not quite able to start saving now. At the very least, look at these tips as goals that you should aim for at some point.
1. Cut Routine Luxuries
This may seem a little strange at first. What is a routine luxury? Not all people indulge in luxuries on a regular basis. Some may save up for them over the course of months and only spend money on them a few times a year, if that. But consumerism has caused many Americans to incorporate big splurges into their regular budgets. The issue with these types of luxuries is that they are repetitive, rather than being one-time buys that you invest in for the long term. It’s one thing, for example, to buy a somewhat expensive car that you will last you for years. It’s another thing entirely to get regular Botox injections that will need to be refreshed within months. Technically, you don’t need a higher-end car, but if that car is expensive because it is more durable, it’s actually a better buy than a cheaper, low-quality car. When you consider how to make sure you save money, you should think about what you’re paying for on a recurring basis, and cut what you can out of that budget.
Of course, something like Botox injections is not where the expenses stop, and many are seemingly more minor but add up over time. For example, if you subscribe to a frivolous subscription service that bills you every month, you should consider whether or not you really need that service. This is arguably more financially stressful than even a streaming service subscription. While a streaming service can potentially be cut as well, depending on how committed you are on your search for how to make sure you save money, at least it gives you access to one continuous service. Subscription boxes often pile on the same types of products every month. This means that you’re essentially wasting money on things that you don’t really need. A low monthly charge may not seem like much now, but over time, it can add up and make a serious dent in your savings. Check your bank account for these types of recurring charges, and see if you really need all of them. If some could be cut, you’ll be able to save.
2. Buy Used Rather Than New
On the topic of cars again, you don’t necessarily have to buy a brand new car in order to make a great investment. In fact, newer cars are often worse investments than used cars. If we look at a car as an investment, then you should know that your brand new investment will begin to lose value as soon as it leaves the lot. This will result in you losing money if you sell it down the road. A used car, on the other hand, can retain its value more, and if you end up improving it, may even gain some value. When you visit used car dealerships, you may be surprised by how much money you can save while buying something that, though used, essentially runs like it’s brand new. You can get exactly what you need without spending as money when you buy used products. You simply need to make sure that you’re buying them from a trusted source.
With that being said, you can go online to look up a lot of used products, especially used appliances. Used appliances are sold on websites like eBay, as well as through refurbishment companies. These types of companies will refurbish used products and sell them at great prices. You may not be buying a product that is brand new, but rather one that released a few years ago, though it’s not uncommon to get products that were released fairly recently. When you buy from trusted refurbishment companies, you can be assured that you’re getting a product that works properly. This can sometimes be less verifiable through eBay, or for that matter when you’re browsing someone’s yard sale. Yes, you’re looking into how to make sure you save money, but it’s also important that you buy products that work as they’re meant to work. You should also consider visiting your local Habitat for Humanity restores. You can buy used products there that have been checked out and verified as usable by the employees while getting a deal and benefiting a good cause. Restores have not only used appliances available, but also used furniture, kitchen accessories, and much more. All of this will make it easier for you to buy whatever you need to buy used at once, rather than going from place to place looking for deals. Though the latter is not a bad approach to saving money at all, you’ll need to balance saving money with saving time.
3. Buy Generic Products
There is a reason why it’s often advised that people buy generic products over brand name products if they want to spend less. This is one of the most basic things to learn when you’re researching how to make sure you save money. A brand name essentially adds value to a product that may not actually be superior to the generic product at all. And while you may think that you’ve been using the superior product for years, this could very well be the result of clever marketing. Chances are high that both products are equally good and perhaps have even been made with the same ingredients. But you’ve been convinced that one is better through a brand. This is especially effective for food products, though it’s also sometimes used in medical sales, as well. You don’t have to take brand name medications, and many doctors prescribe generic medications for the specific purpose of saving their patients’ money.
Furthermore, buying generic doesn’t mean that you can’t buy things that are of high quality. Rather, their packaging may be duller and their marketing less pervasive. If you like to order ground coffee online, think about moving away from the high-end brand names that you like and see if the same type of product is available through a smaller company or through a big box generic brand. The savings may not seem substantial at first, but if this is something you buy on a regular basis, as most food products are, you could save more money than you would think over time. So much of how to make sure you save money surrounds incremental savings, rather than massive savings.
4. Visit Affordable Clinics
You may think that there is no way to save money on your medical care without sacrificing quality. And obviously, you won’t want to sacrifice quality when looking for medical care. But in fact, if you visit an affordable clinic for vaccinations or checking up on minor concerns, you can receive great medical care without breaking the bank. Affordable clinics are set up as alternatives to more expensive private practices. Whether or not you currently have health insurance, they may be a good thing to explore if you want to know how to make sure you save money.
For your teeth, there are fairly obvious options on the table as well. Rather than visiting your typical dental clinic, you may want to ask around about local dentistry schools. These schools need their students to be able to practice. If you’re just looking for regular maintenance care, you may want to consider going to have it done by students. These would be experienced, advanced students working under the supervision of their teachers, who would be fully qualified dentists. This is a great way to save money, while not neglecting your health.
5. Invest Your Money
This can be tricky and you shouldn’t do it without careful consideration and research. Furthermore, you should have a solid amount of money in your savings before you proceed in any way. However, investments have become more accessible to people who wouldn’t have considered them before and they can be great ways of placing your money elsewhere so that you don’t spend it frivolously. If you invest wisely and trade when necessary, you could actually grow that money as well. If you’re exploring how to make sure you save money today, it’s a potential option to consider.
With that being said, investing your money isn’t something you should do alone. Speak to broker dealers from trusted, ethical institutions to seek advice before moving forward with this option. But if you’re really committed to saving money and would like to make money as well, it’s an option to consider.
Sometimes, there is no way to negotiate on prices. But in some cases, you should feel comfortable with at least asking for other options or different plans, rather than simply accepting the first thing that you are offered. This is particularly true if you’re on the phone with car insurance companies. Insurance plans often come in many different forms, with each offering different pros and cons. Explain your price range, and see where you can go from there. Talking to internet and cable service providers in the same sense can often give you different options. Salespeople usually really want to keep your business, and will be open to negotiations.
Now, when it comes to buying things in person, you may even be able to haggle. This is particularly true for auto sales, where haggling is sometimes expected for certain deals. You may be uncomfortable with the idea first, but able to ask questions about how final sales are is an important part of how to make sure you save money. You need to be assertive about it, too.
Sometimes, it’s not easy to explore ideas surrounding how to make sure you save money. Budgeting is hard, and it’s not always fun; there’s a reason why 87% of families are in debt, and a lot of it has to do with taking on debt rather than waiting to pay for something when we can afford to or paying for things incrementally. But keep in mind that when you save money, you may grow your wealth enough to get things that you want now, later. You may not be able to install granite counter tops now, or landscape your yard now. But if you save money, you may be able to do whatever you wish later.