Last updated on May 14th, 2019 at 09:35 pm.
We all like to save money. But isn’t that easier said than done? I mean, it’s easy for someone to say “stop buying things you don’t need” and think they are giving sage advice.
But how do you actually do that? And is it really that easy?
Well, it actually really can be. In truth, money-saving opportunities are all around us.
All it really takes is a little patience, dedication, and mostly importantly, knowing where to start. I know that, for me, that last part was the hardest at first.
That’s why we’re going to look at how you can start saving a ton of money!
Let’s get started, shall we? This 6-month money saving challenge will help you save a ton!
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Money Saving Challenge: Apps to Help You Save
Who doesn’t use apps nowadays? In an increasingly digital age, it’s no secret that apps are everywhere.
In fact, accord to Statista, there were 178.1 BILLION app downloads in 2017 alone. That’s an absurd amount! All of these apps are vying for our attention constantly, and most of them are just about killing time or having fun.
But unlike Clash of Clans and Pokémon Go, some apps can actually help you make and save money!
I am just starting to get back into using Ibotta. I honestly thought it was a fad when I first heard about it, but they’re still around, so obviously I was wrong. If you aren’t familiar with Ibotta, it’s an app that will help you get cash back on all your grocery shopping.
How does it work?
Ibotta is very simple to use. All you have to do is scan your receipts with the app and you get cash back in return. Yes, that’s really all there is to it.
As I always say – you’re going to be buying groceries anyway, so why not get rewarded in the process?
This one is pretty much a no-brainer and I would definitely recommend it. Check out Ibotta!
All you have to do is link your card to the app, pick where you want to shop, and you’ll get points back on your purchases. You can shop at plenty popular stores like Amazon, Walmart, Apple, and so on.
Once you have enough points, you’ll be able to redeem them for gifts cards for a TON of stores. Think Best Buy, Target, Starbucks, and a ton more!
Plus, if you join Drop using Join my link, you'll get a FREE $5 bonus just for signing up. That's like a double win. And who doesn't love free money!?
Other Ways to Save money
Honestly, there are a TON of ways to save money. There are so many that I couldn’t possibly name them all. However, here are a few ideas to get you started:
1. Bring Your Own (Healthy!) Lunch to Save money
Yeah, okay. You’ve probably heard this one about 500 times. But maybe that’s because bringing your own lunch could save you at least that many dollars in only six months. Seriously.
If that sounds like some crazy voodoo math, it really isn’t. If going out for lunch has you paying $10 (which isn’t that much nowadays), you could easily save that much.
Imagine you meal prep for $4 per day (totally doable). That means you’ll be saving $6*5*26 = $780 in just 6 months!
Of course, that means you have to commit to this every day during the week. I know I was never quite that committed, but as they say – every bit helps.
Plus, it’s much easier to be healthy when you can control exactly what is going into your food.
2. Stop Paying So Much For Coffee
Yeah, Starbucks is cool, but did you ever think about how much it actually costs?
If you go to Starbucks every day during the work week and spend $5, that adds up to $5*5*52 = $1,300. Yikes!
But there’s good news. There are a lot of ways to cut back on this cost. One way is to make your own coffee.
But I’m sure there will be times when you just really want to get your favorite drink from Starbucks. When that happens, why not get your Starbucks for free?
It’s true – if you sign up for Swagbucks, you’ll get paid for doing simple tasks like searching, watching videos, and taking surveys.
Just complete a few of them and you’ll be able to get a $25 Starbucks gift card! How great is that? This could make a serious dent in that $1,300 cost.
3. …And Stop Buying Bottled Water
Alright, I’ve mentioned this one before, only last time, I didn’t mention my favorite style of water bottle.
I’ve had several Camelbak Eddy water bottles over the years, and I love these things.
With the Eddy water bottle, you drink from a straw through the mouthpiece at the top. This is a bit unusual compared to other water bottles, but it’s believe we drink more water when using a straw. This can be especially useful in the coming summer months when hydration can be difficult!
Oh, and don’t worry – the straw is reusable, so you’re still saving the turtles. 🐢
Not everyone loves them as much as I do, I must admit. Honestly, I think my anxiety is a factor because I like to chew on the mouthpiece. 🙈 They are rubbery so you can chew on them without ruining them.
Is that a good habit? Probably not, but I don’t use it every day, so I guess it could be worse.
4. Money Savings Challenge: Cut The Cord
I know I have mentioned this particular one before, and that’s because it, too, is a big cost for a lot of people.
Cable/satellite subscribers spend over $1,000 per year on TV.
Instead, many people nowadays are turning to services like Hulu and Netflix.
In addition, you can stream through Amazon Prime as well. Many people already have Prime memberships, but if you don’t, this could potentially save you money on TV!
Plus, you can always try a 30-day free trial of Prime to see if you like it. The cost is $119 per year – nothing compared to the $1,000+ for cable.
Even if you subscribe to both Netflix and Amazon Prime, you’ll still be saving around $1,000 a year compared to cable!
Another way to save on TV costs is with a good-old antenna. Okay, maybe not the old bunny ears you may remember from back in the day. The antennas you get nowadays will give let you watch HD local programming all over the air.
The one I have is the Mohu Leaf 50. I get around 30 channels on it, mostly in HD. It’s awesome!
5. Do something CHEAP!
In today’s increasingly consumerist society, it’s easy to forget just how much you can do while spending little to no money. Everyone is trying to sell you something, but why not do something that’s cheap, or even free?
I mean, a trip to the movies for a family of four will typically cost around $60. That’s quite a bit of money, and I think we all have better ways to spend our money.
You get the idea. There are so many ways you have have a great time without breaking the bank. Sometimes all it takes is a willingness to break free from the forces pushing us to spend.
Of course, sometimes it will be difficult to avoid, but any time you can spend less is a win!
6. Use Ebates To Save Money On Everyday Purchases
I actually just started using Ebates, and honestly, it’s crazy I didn’t start sooner!
There are a lot of very popular stores like Target, Walmart and Target. All you have to do is login to the site, select your store and start shopping. Easy peasy!
7. Go For The Store Brand – this saves a ton of money!
Look, we all have to make money, so I don’t blame the brand names for charging people a premium. But – and I can’t stress this enough – there is often ZERO difference between generic and brand name products.
Whether or not there is actually a difference depends in part on the product itself.
Example: cereal. Most cereal is going to be the same whether it’s brand name or generic.
Another one? Medication. Drugs are drugs regardless of the brand name. Advil is a brand name medication, but the actual drug is ibuprofen. This one can be purchased as a generic in any drug store.
They aren’t somehow making a “better” version of ibuprofen because it’s a brand name. The drug is exactly the same regardless.
Okay, there are some store brand products I have found to be lower quality. One is trash bags. It may sound silly, and your experience may vary, but it’s true.
Low-quality trash bags break much more easily and are just a lot more difficult to work with. So, for this one, you may want to stick to the brand name.
8. Cut out Unnecessary Expenses with Trim
What’s really cool is that it can also negotiate your bills for you. Its “bot” does this and it’s all automated.
How it works: send them a copy of your bill and work their magic. You can also log into your account with popular providers like Time Warner, Comcast and AT&T. According to Trim, users save an average of $225 by lowering their bill payments!
Blogging has been a great way for me to give you all of my best money tips while peppering in some other topics like sustainability, plus my travel adventures.
The best thing about it is that it's 100% your own work. You get to do whatever you want with it and are in complete control of your own content. That can be to sell a product or just for fun.
If you're interested, go ahead and check out my post starting your own blog!
9. Pay Off Credit Card Debt
So, yes. Get those credit cards under control.
The best part? You can use some of the tips above to accomplish this. 🙂
10. Refinance Your Student Loans
I have written a whole post about this before because refinancing my student loans saved me a TON of money.
Of course, it really depends on your situation. Not everyone will be able to save quite as much as I did, and for your typical federal loan, the government’s own options may be better.
However, if you have private loans or happen to have PLUS loans like I did, refinancing could be a great option. I was able to reduce my interest rate from 7.8% to 5% and my monthly payments from $975 to just $275!
That added financial flexibility allowed me to do SO much that I couldn’t do before. Honestly, I don’t know if I would have been able to move out of my parents’ house had I not done that. Student loans can be a pain, but they’re not insurmountable!
If you’re ready to kick your student loans to the curb, you should definitely check out SoFi as they could save you thousands in the long run.
Ready To Start Saving?
Using these strategies you can easily save THOUSANDS a year! Even just the numbers in #1 and #2 above could put you well over $1,000.
So, how do we put our plan into action? Well, here’s what I’m thinking.
Many of us get paid every two weeks nowadays. So, why not put a little of that cool cash you’ve earned aside from every paycheck? After all, you have extra money now!
By using my guide below, you should be able to save $2,000 with (relative) ease.
What are your ways to save money? I would love to hear how you are doing so, too!