In order to become a great investor, you must first become a disciplined saver. Here are five tips to help you save money on your monthly expenses.
You’ll never become a great investor without saving money first. There’s no way around it unfortunately – in order to have money to invest, you need to start saving a portion of your monthly income.
But saving money doesn’t always require you to retreat to the hills and adopt a Spartan lifestyle. By making some relatively small changes to your regular spending, you can get a better grasp of your finances and start putting money aside.
To help you get started, here are five simple tips to help you slash your expenses over the next month.
1. Learn How To Cook
Food is one of our biggest expenses, but it’s one that we can’t simply cut out all together – for obvious reasons!
However, cooking for yourself is one of the most effective ways to save money in the long term. And although it might be intimidating to those who have never cooked before, you’ll be shocked at how fast you can go from complete novice to a sufficient cook.
Once you get a few recipes under your belt, you can take advantage of the great savings that come from cooking in bulk and start bringing your own lunches to work. Dedicate an hour on Sunday to cooking a big casserole and freeze a few servings for those nights when you won’t have a chance to make something fresh.
If you still can’t manage after a few weeks however, you can cheat by buying yourself a slow cooker. Literally anyone can create delicious meals with a good slow cooker and free recipes from the internet – simply throw some meat and vegetables into it first thing in the morning, and you’ll have a home cooked meal waiting for you that evening.
You’ll save a fortune every week by cutting out on takeaways and expensive lunches everyday. It’s also much healthier for you and a great skill to have in general.
2. Cut The Cord
We hate to tell you this, but your parents were probably right. Cable television is a huge waste of time and money.
But you don’t have to condemn yourself to a life of boredom by canceling your cable package.
Consider this – the average cable subscription in the US costs $99 a month. For that money, you could have two streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime – and still save almost $1000 a year.
Moreover, television is a massive time-thief. How often have you found yourself sitting in front of the TV watching something you have absolutely no interest in, simply because it was on?
Cutting the cable cord lets you focus on the shows that you actually want to watch, rather than channel surfing all evening until it’s time to go to bed.
3. Find Cheaper Transport
Transport is a huge expense that many of us could cut down on.
By spending some time looking into cheaper alternatives, you’ll be amazed at how much money you inadvertently waste in your daily commute.
If you drive everyday, you could save big money on gas and parking by using public transport instead. Even if you don’t live within immediate walking distance of pubic transport, you could still save money by driving to the nearest bus or train depot and availing of the cheaper parking available.
Alternatively look into get a bicycle. It might seem crazy to suggest buying a $300 bike in an article about saving money, but if you’re paying $30 a week in transport costs, the bike will have paid for itself in just three months. You’ll also be getting some exercise rather than playing Candy Crush on your morning commute.
4. Track Bad Habits
No one is perfect, and we all admittedly spend money on things we probably shouldn’t.
Plenty of money saving articles will simply suggest cutting out these bad habits, but that might not be totally practical either. Most people work extremely hard during the week, and they’re entitled to a night out or an expensive dinner every so often.
So instead of becoming a hermit, why not spend a month tracking the money you spend on these vices?
We naturally try to avoid thinking about these expenses because it makes us feel bad about ourselves. Unfortunately, this leads us to dramatically underestimate them.
But by keeping an eye on how much you actually spend on so-called ‘bad habits’, you can get an idea how much it will hurt your bank balance when you decide to blow off some steam.
For example, if you were to go out to bars or nightclubs every weekend, you’ll be spending money on taxis, club entry, drinks and expensive bar food. By seeing that figure, you should be encouraged to take a few weekends off every month.
5. Cut Energy Costs
Making a few small changes around your house can really help you cut down on heating, lighting, and appliance costs.
Again, these aren’t exactly big changes you need to make. Most of them are just common sense solutions that will help you save money:
- Turn off lights in rooms that aren’t being used and install dimmer switches to cut down on lighting costs.
- LED bulbs cost more than regular bulbs, but are far more energy efficient and longer lasting. Find the four or five most used lights in the house and invest in LED bulbs for these.
- Rather than rely on air-con, open windows at night and invest in a ceiling fan (make sure it’s Energy Star certified).
- Get a power strip for electronics and unplug them when not in use. Most of the power unit like TVs and stereos consume occurs when they are idle. This is especially true for any cables that include an adapter, like laptop chargers. Similarly, turn off any computers or gaming consoles fully rather than leaving them in ‘rest mode’.
- If you have the money; replace old appliances like refrigerators and washing machines with Energy Star certified alternatives. This is a big up front expense, but it is one that will save you thousands of dollars over the lifetime of the product.