50 More Tricks to Save Money that are Practical and Doable
We’ve given you 50 simple ways to save money.
But do you really think we can stop at just 50? We could go on and on about saving money and budgeting. Because we encourage frugality here at SAHM, we’re now giving you 50 more ways to save money!
1. Buy staples in bulk.
I know you already know about buying groceries in bulk, but do you also buy staples in bulk? These include school and office supplies like paper, folders, envelopes, pens, and pencils. You save not only on costs but also on transportation.
2. Shop around for insurance.
Insurance is not an investment, but it does help to cushion the fall. You don’t have to settle for the “largest” insurance plans. Just choose a plan that works best for your family, but remember to avoid shady companies.
3. Ask for a lower interest rate for your credit card.
Contrary to popular belief, credit cards are actually run by real people, so you can attempt to negotiate your interest rates. If not, just cancel your account and transfer to another bank with a lower interest rate (you can also hint at this while negotiating).
4. Stop buying coffee and make and take your own.
Starbucks may be a popular coffee joint, but I have breaking news for you: you can live without Starbucks! Buy coffee grounds and a stainless steel bottle, and take your coffee to work.
5. Buy energy-efficient appliances.
Energy-efficient appliances may cost more than their non-efficient counterparts, but they save you more money in the long run.
6. Calculate how much you can save through this calculator.
Try this nifty online calculator we discovered. It shows you how much you can actually save on electricity, car and fuel, and gas.
7. Save on electricity by using a company like Lumo Energy.
We have known Lumo can save you money for ages now, we encourage you to try it.
8. Use the shower instead of the bathtub.
We know you have these visions of sitting in the tub while sipping a glass of wine, just de-stressing the day away. But saving is your priority now, so maybe you can schedule your tub-sitting moments maybe once a month?
9. Regularly schedule a power-off time.
Remember how we all switch our lights and appliances off during Earth hour? A regular power-off time is like that, only it’s not just once a year. Maybe once a week or twice a month? It depends on you. This will not only reduce our electricity bill but also force us to actually interact!
10. Don’t hire babysitters.
Instead of hiring babysitters, ask your parents to look after your kids while you scurry away for a date night. If this is not possible, arrange a sit-swap with a couple friend. Ask them to babysit your kids tonight and you will babysit their kids next Friday night.
11. Use cloth nappies.
Nappies don’t cost much a piece, but we know how much nappies accumulate over a month and much more for over a year. To save on costs, why don’t you use cloth nappies instead? They’re also better for babies’ bums!
12. Explore DIY when it comes to beauty and skin products.
Hygiene products are a necessary evil, and they don’t exactly come cheap. However, to save on these products, you can make your own. We have a lot of beauty recipes featured in our section, DIY Beauty!
13. Explore DIY when it comes to kids’ playthings.
The same can be said for toys and playthings. Instead of buying play dough; make your own. Instead of buying moonsand; make your own! Instead of buying blocks and magnets; make your own!
14. Buy secondhand books from websites like World of Books.
We suggested borrowing books from the library in our previous post, but we know many of you would like to build libraries of your own. So buy secondhand books from stores and websites instead to save money.
15. Don’t upgrade your internet/mobile/house phone plan.
In our previous post, we told you to combine all of your services in a bundled plan. Now, if this plan is still working for you and your family, refrain from giving into the temptation of upgrading.
16. Cut off your cable subscription. If you can’t, try to reduce the plan.
Repeat after me: there is more to life than cable. And, no, I’m not talking about the internet. If you cannot completely cut off your cable subscription, consult with your service provider to see how you can reduce the costs of it.
17. Ditch your gym membership.
If you’re not using your gym membership, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t give it up. But if you’re using it, try to reduce the membership costs by doing some of your workouts at home or around the village.
18. Mend your old clothes instead of buying new ones.
It is so easy to just get rid of your old clothes, especially the ones in need of repair. I should know; I used to be this person. However, instead of buying new ones, why not learn how to sew and replace the missing button in your pretty blue shirt?
19. Also, ask your friends and relatives for the things they no longer use.
Don’t be ashamed to ask people you are comfortable with for the things they are no longer using. Chances are they would be happy to get rid of it anyway. If you’re not at ease with asking, offer to repay it using services (like babysitting or mowing their lawn) or trade it with your stuff that they like.
20. Organise a garage sale.
Since you’re sifting through your old stuff anyway, try to categorise your things into two types: the ones to be given away and the ones you can still earn good money from. Organise a garage sale with your neighbours or friends — it’s a lot of fun!
21. Stop listening to your cravings! Do not buy junk food.
Eating out and buying junk food impulsively makes a serious dent in your budget. You don’t need it anyway. Plus, fast food and junk food is awfully unhealthy and fattening.
22. Buy generic brands.
Similarly, you also don’t need to buy name brand all the time. For dry goods and house supplies, don’t be afraid to occasionally try generic brands. Who knows? You might discover generic brands that are better than name brands.
23. Buy fruits and vegetables that are in season.
We encourage buying as much fruits and vegetables as possible (for every piece of junk food that you usually buy, replace it with a piece of fruit or veggie…). But to save even more money, try to buy fruits and vegetables that are in season. They are not only usually cheaper but also tend to be fresher!
24. Stop buying trendy things or clothes that don’t last.
Stop collecting clothes. Just stop it. Instead, buy occasionally and only buy timeless pieces that you can wear for years and even pass on to someone else. Some of my clothes are even my mother’s clothes when she was younger!
Homeschool is not a decision that you can make in a jiffy; we know that. However, if you’re already on the brink of going for it and just need one final shove to do it, consider this tip your shove.
26. Recycle old school supplies
Speaking of school, there are times when the academic year ends and some of our supplies look barely used. Some notebooks have barely been opened and there’s still one whole ream of paper left (remember, bulk buying works!). Take inventory of these and remove the items from your school shopping list.
27. Enjoy cheap or free family activities like riding bikes and going to the park.
It’s really nice to raise children with the mindset that having fun doesn’t necessarily mean spending. Bond with them over free activities that also give them a reason to exercise.
28. Organise community classes where neighbours can give classes to kids and each other instead of enrolling children in expensive after-school lessons.
We like enrolling our kids in cool after-school classes like piano and swimming, but instead of paying for these classes, why not hold classes for free in the community? Neighbours can barter classes with each other or you can pay using services. It’s up to you! This is also a great way to get to know the neighbours.
29. Don’t buy things you don’t need on sales.
Sales are very tempting; just the sign “SALE” makes us think we’re saving money on something. Well, it’s partly true, but when we’re buying something we don’t even need, we didn’t save any money at all!
30. Automate bill payments to avoid late fees.
Late fees are the worst! You know you need to pay the bills but something came up, so you forgot about it. When you finally get around to doing it, your bills already have additional overdraft fees. To avoid this, set up your online banking account and get it to automatically transfer money from your account to pay the bills. Goodbye, late fees.
31. When applying for a credit card, ask to waive the application fee.
Going back to credit cards, if you’re considering applying for one (because we all know the benefits of a good credit rating), ask if they can waive the application fee. Negotiate. Look for companies that will supply your demand.
32. Evaluate your medicine cabinet before buying an over-the-counter drug.
I can’t count how many times I’ve bought an OTC drug that we already have in the medicine cabinet all along. This is why you should always know what you have to avoid buying duplicates. Also, take note of their expiration dates – get ride of those that are already expired.
33. Use the envelope system of budgeting.
The envelope system of budgeting is quite popular because it’s an effective way of avoiding overspending. Divide your expenses into categorised envelopes (Food, Groceries, School, Bills, Charity, Mortgage/Rent, etc.), and try to spend only the amount of money you have allotted for each envelope. Once you’ve used up the money inside the envelope, it’s time to stop spending.
34. To save on petrol, shop for items online and prioritise shops with free shipping.
Shopping online is a godsend for those among us who don’t have time (or reason) to change from pyjamas to acceptable wear. Another benefit of shopping online is how you don’t need to spend on transportation. Look for shops that ship for free to save more money.
35. Don’t underestimate store points and rebates.
Points and rebates may seem little, but overtime, when you finally redeem them, you will discover how much you “earned” while doing virtually nothing.
36. Stop smoking.
Just stop it. It’s not benefiting your body or your wallet.
37. Use a bicycle. Or walk.
If you know how to ride a bicycle, use it if you have some errands to do nearby. If you don’t know how to ride a bike, then walk. You do not only save money but also burn calories. Win win!
38. Carpool with your children’s schoolmates and with your work colleagues.
Carpooling is an excellent strategy to save on transportation costs. Organise with a group of friends, neighbours, or colleagues, and assign a particular car and driver for a specific day. You do not only save money but also reduce the Earth’s greenhouse gases. And, yes, less traffic, too.
39. If you are a small family, use one car and sell the other.
Unless you absolutely need two cars because of work, for example, try to maintain just one car and sell the other. For bigger families, instead of using two separate cars, buy one big van.
40. For packed lunches, use stainless steel bottles and lunch boxes instead of plastic or, worse, brown bags that you keep throwing.
Making your own lunch is beneficial, but using plastic or disposable containers (like paper bags) quite defeats the purpose. Instead, invest in stainless steel bottles and lunch boxes (you may also use glass bottles) that you can use for a longer time, are healthier, and are a lot more environment-friendly.
41. Organise a community swapping event.
A community swapping event is like a community garage sale, only there’s totally no money involved. You trade items for other items or trade services for services. Trust me: it’s so much fun!
42. Evaluate all the services that you’re paying monthly and annual fees for and cancel the unused services.
There are times when we subscribe to services just because they sound good at that moment — but then we find ourselves not using these services anyway! Hurry up and cancel those services right away.
43. Always wash your hands to minimise contamination and spreading of germs.
Washing of hands is a habit that everyone in the household must always do. We’re not only talking about proper hygiene here; we’re talking about possibly preventing a slew of diseases.
44. Shop for Christmas after Christmas.
Shopping for the holidays is a fun event that many of us look forward to, but the truth is almost every item (clothes, toys, groceries, even gadgets) are much cheaper right after the holidays. So do your shopping on December 26th!
45. If you don’t have a car yet, choose the fuel-efficient kind when buying.
Like energy-efficient appliances, fuel-efficient cars may seem more expensive upfront, but the amount of money you can save on the long-run over fuel will more than cover for the difference.
46. Get your family into the habit of reading instead of watching TV or using gadgets.
Reading books, especially if you borrow them from the library or buy them secondhand, is much cheaper than watching TV or browsing Facey. Also, can you imagine raising children who would rather read books than use the tablet? How lovely!
47. Plan holidays in advance.
Holidays are exciting moments, but when you’re caught in the moment, chances are you are going to settle for more expensive hotels and expensive but unnecessary rooms and services because every acceptable option is already taken. Therefore, plan holidays in advance. Book tickets in advance to save and book rooms in advance to choose the most ideal ones for your family. We have a lot of tips for you in our Holidays section.
48. Encourage the entire family to drink water instead of drinking sugary drinks.
There’s no question over the health benefits of water. But another benefit that water has is that it’s virtually free! Encourage your family to replace sugary drinks with water — you can even give a prize to the most successful drinker.
49. Mull over a desired item for at least two weeks to allow you to decide whether you really want to buy it or not.
The saver’s biggest enemy is instant gratification. This is the reason why we resort to impulse buying. However, if you can practice waiting before you finally make the purchase, you can avoid buying on impulse. For small items that you don’t really need, spend at least 2 weeks to mull over it. For bigger purchases, more time will be needed. Also, don’t forget to consult your family.
50. Download and use money-saving apps.
Money-saving apps are a lifesaver, like seriously! Some of you may prefer using good old pen and notebook to track your money inflows and outflows, so I’ll let you be. However, if you are like me who always has her phone in her hand, take advantage of this and use money tracking and saving apps.