Let’s talk about the “S” in “ESI Money.” As noted in the explanation of the site’s meaning, the “S” stands for “Save.”
Saving is the second part of the key financial guideline “spend less than you earn” (the first is to earn as much as possible) and is just as important as its brother.
Two Parts of “S”
As it relates to its use in this site, “save” actually has two important meanings. They are:
- Spending your money wisely, paying less than you need to for the things you want. In other words, “save money” when you buy things. This usually requires both knowledge (of prices, promotions, money saving tactics, etc.) and intentionally (not just spending haphazardly, but planning spending.)
- Putting money aside (i.e. “saving” it) for future needs or, more related to this site, to invest for future growth and income.
At ESI Money we’ll discuss both sides of saving and how you can supercharge your “S” on your road to becoming wealthy.
Spending Wisely and Saving to Invest
By knowing prices, how to use promotions, the best money saving tactics and the like, you can spend less than others do for the same goods in services. In many cases, these savings are quite substantial. And even the ones that aren’t can add up to significant dollars over time. Put all these together and they contribute significantly to the growth of your net worth.
Part of saving is also just choosing to spend less than you earn. If you make $40,000 a year and control spending to $30,000 a year, you can put away (“save”) $10,000 that can then be invested to drive your net worth. This requires self-control and financial discipline, but if you can do it, you will grow your cash flow and rocket your net worth to new heights.
And by the way, I have lived what I’m preaching here: we saved 36% of our income over a couple decades.
On the other hand, some people can get carried away saving and live a miserly lifestyle. I don’t recommend that and prefer a more balanced plan for spending and saving I call moderate and selective frugality.
Don’t Overlook the “S”
As the second part of ESI Money, saving is a vital step in becoming wealthy. Do not overlook, dismiss, or downplay it. You can make $1 million a year, but if you spend more than $1 million, you will be decreasing your net worth. Thus is the power of focusing on saving. It’s not a simple sideshow on the way to wealth, it’s the necessary step #2 that opens you up to great wealth.
If you want some specific tips on how to save money, check these out:
- 52 Best Ways to Save Money
- How to Save on College
- Save by Living in a Low-Cost City
- Save Money on Food
- Save by Stacking Discounts
Or simply read all my articles on saving money by reviewing the posts in my save category.
im stressing what to do with our life savings. we have 30k in bank. all bills paid except mortgage. our mortgage is 830.00 a month with 14 yrs. left.
we have no medical bills(just paid 18k cash for 2 surgeries in last 15 months-WITH insur.- this country terrible!, school, c. cards, car payments. we r empty nesters now and r in our 50s(51, 58). how do we make more money with our savings??
Are you asking how to invest your money to earn a better return?
Im asking if i should pay down my mortgage with the 30k rotting in our bank
That’s a lot tougher question today than it was in my day — when interest rates were 8%. Then it was a no-brainer to pay off a mortgage quickly.
Assuming you get 1% from the bank and your mortgage costs you 3-4%, it’s really a judgment call. If the money is your emergency fund, I certainly wouldn’t use it to pay off the mortgage.
Otherwise, it’s really personal preference.
DJ Heger says
Joining Amazon Prime has been a real money saver for us. I’m talking about needed items, gotten quickly, not just luxuries. We get at least 2 free books to read a month (fewer library trips, fewer purchases). And plenty of movies & TV shows (no cable subscription). Purchasing staples (cleaning supplies, etc.) is cheaper, unless you hunt the store sales. I had to replace a broken headlight – it was 1/2 the price on Amazon as compared to auto parts store – + I received it in 2 days – no difference than having the parts store order it.
I’ve noticed the exact opposite!! Amazon Prime has allowed me to increase by spending, because it makes purchases too easy! I had to put a lid on it, so now I add things to my Amazon basket, then sit down once a week to determine what needs to be purchased, and what can wait 🙂
Richard Ryan says
I agree with Deryl. Amazon Prime is great for the benefits you mention — but makes it way too easy to buy something on an impulse or whim.
To counter this, I removed the Amazon app from my phone, turned off the “one click” settings, and even removed my credit card from the site.
If I buy something now, I have to add it to the cart, check out, and manually enter my credit card info. I still use Amazon for a lot of purchases, but this requires me to be more “intentional” and less impulsive.
Each paycheck is budgeted out to the penny for every expense that I will have for the year. No payment sneaks up on me and frankly, it is less painful that way. I use Mvelopes for online old-school cash in envelope system. Then I have a game with myself to see if I can save even more between paychecks. When my next paycheck comes around, I almost always have some money left over in certain areas like going out to. I take that money, divide into three and send it off for an extra principal mortgage payment, Emergency Fund, and Vanguard VTSAX investment fund. It is usually not a lot, but over time it all adds up. Anytime I get a deal like yearly service credited me my annual payment this year or friend treats me to dinner out, that money is divided the same way and off it goes.
My best saving technique is to put aside money for something before I get it. For instance, I saved little by little to redo my rental apartment kitchwn. When I had enough money UT, I had the job done and didn’t need to raise the rent cost for my tenant.
Use a credit card that gives you cash back or travel points on everyday purchases. Of course I pay off the balance in full every month AND I get rewarded. I’ve used accumulated travel points for free airfare and hotel stays. I’m not dipping into savings to travel.
Budgeting is the easiest way we save, give every dollar a place to go as soon as you get paid!
As I get older and hopefully wiser I think what I have learned most about money (and maybe life) is to be thoughtful about money and how you use it to better your family’s life. When you go to buy something stop for 30 seconds (or mire) and think about what you are doing. You are trading “X” dollars for an object or service. Probably you already traded your time to get that money so basically you are trading your precious time on this earth for an object or service (basic math: A=B and B=C then A=C). Is it a good value trade for your family? If not, put your wallet away. Get off the consumer treadmill.
Basically stop and THINK!
We save by having 401K money taken out of dh’s paycheck, by having a small amount immediately moved to a savings account. I am self employed in a small business, and I “overpay” myself by taking a slightly larger percentage of each payment and putting it into another savings account for my quarterly taxes. When I figure my tax liability there is money left over. That money gets rolled into either family savings or our travel fund.
The best thing I ever did for savings is to pay myself first. I have all of my savings goal deducted from my paycheck and put into my savings account before I ever see it. Prevents me from getting in my own way.
Lawrence Church says
The best thing I have done is to keep track of all my spending for several years to analyze how much money is coming in and how much is going out, and where it’s going. Also, having all investing and saving money direct deposited lets me auto save and learn to live on less.
I think one of our best saving tips. Is work towards a goal of trying to get as debt free as possible. My wife and I both work, we both have 401K’s I also have an IRA the remainder of my wife’s check goes in the bank. And we are able to live off my salary. Vehicles are paid except the wife’s lease which will be gone in 2019 the pay cash for a newer vehicle. Then we will be debt free except for a small credit card balance. Feel confident our retirement when the time comes will be comfortable .
Budget. The number one place to start is with a legit written budget. Everydollar.com or use an Excel spreadsheet. It’s not that hard!
We tried Everydollar but found it to missing many feature. Switched to https://www.youneedabudget.com/ earlier this year and love it!
We also use YNAB to budget and it has been a game changer for us. We save much more than with our previous budget method. For further saving, we are currently going over all of our expenses once again to try to increase our savings even more. And we also increase saving with each raise/increase. Reading financial blogs also helps to challenge our thinking and explore new ideas, to see if they might work for us. Reading about the progress that bloggers are making is encouraging, especially since money is very taboo in our circle.
Automate – $ to retirement, $ to Roth, $ to targeted savings account. All of this comes out before my paycheck hits my checking account.
Joshua Collier says
The best financia was given to me by my dad over 25 years ago… tithe 10%, save 10% and live off the rest. I view these as minimums and the main point is being disciplined for the long term picture.
Amazon has made spending money so easy. Those little purchases add up! How to save: limit amazon purchases to one day of the week. Anytime you think of something you need to purchase, simply add it to your shopping cart on Amazon. Choose a day of the week (preferably the same day) and go through your amazon shopping cart and decide what you need and what can wait. For those who want to accelerate savings, limit amazon purchases to payday!
Lisa Davis says
Learn to cook and eat at home. Pack your lunch.
Keep a budget.
Shop online for the best deals.
Pay yourself first.
You must save! One easy tip worked for me was to reduce the amount of money I was spending at restaurants (make dinner at home and have pb&j at work) and to make the resulting savings automatic with retirement account contributions and direct deposits. If you don’t have to consciously choose every time you save it can just build up.
Phil Smith says
Save all “found money.” What I call found money is money I get back as rebates, birthday money, any money that was not earned money (15% of all earned money is already being saved). I also even try although not always successful to look at what money I saved by using coupons and the saved money also is put aside for the savings. It is typically small amounts, a dollar here and there but it adds up. I also save almost all change, and a couple of times a year roll it and it also goes into retirement savings. I got my check for $1.23 from a national class action law suite the other day. It went into the lock box I use to accumulate these savings then in a couple of months, I will have enough to put another $100 or so into the ROTH.
Anna K says
My best tip is to automatically save in your 401K. We also have an automatic withdrawal each month into our children’s 529 plans. It’s amazing how these plans can grow over time. We also save by eating out less.
Here’s an easy tip, actually TWO tips on saving; #1 pay for everything with CASH, not debit and not credit cards. Physiologically it’s much more difficult to let go of that money because it’s tangible, not “digital.”
The second tip is to throw all your silver change (nickels, dimes, quarters) in a gallon milk jug. All loose change goes in and non goes out till you reach the top.
It took me three years to fill one and I had $423 saved in it when i finally took it to the bank and cashed the coinage in.
Mark Chevalier says
My tip–make savings a priority by having it come out of your paycheck automatically before you ever get a chance to spend it. Ideally you’d set this up as soon as you start working, before you have a chance to get used to spending it.
Make saving the first transaction for any income. Setup auto-transfer timing to move money to savings on the days you get paid before you get paid. If you do it right, you’ll never miss it.
Dave Drabek says
I have recently retired and am enjoying your sight. I particularly enjoy your millionaire stories. I am not there but am still hoping to get there even though I am not longer working.
Tim Williams says
Automation is the best way to save money. Set up monthly auto withdrawals for various retirement & savings accounts so money automatically moves out of your checking account.
Start off small with your savings and do it automatically. Then bump up the rate when you consistently have extra at the end of the month. You’ll never miss it if you never see it.
Auto invest! I started a few years ago and it has made all the difference in the world. Also Amazon Prime!
Julie Soar says
Great article. As with others, setting up auto-transfer into a savings account is fantastic. I use the other portion of my salary to go to bills, mortgage, vacations etc. Thanks!
Automate cash to account that has no checks, no debit cards, and can’t be withdrawn online. Only way to get the money is by making a phone call. It’s hard to make that phone call!
Brandon Robinson says
I “save” money by doing travel hacking. This year I have booked over $5k in free travel by using credit card sign up bonuses. Of course you need great credit and a way to generate the required spending out of your normal budget. I also use these cards to cover my business travel, generating more reward points.
Start by reading The Points Guy, Million Mile Secrets or The Doctor of Credit.
It takes some time investment and discipline, but i view this as my “side hustle”. It is easier than you think and does not destroy your credit either.
My best tip to saving money is not spend it. That’s right, look at where you are about to go, look at what you are about to “add to cart”, check before you “check out”, push off buying that new thing as many times as you can. If you have an attitude where you can help yourself here and there it will add up and slow the splurge.
Tip: Take action. In order to save, you actually have to save. Setup automatic savings, or save by moving the money yourself.
Rob Tosti says
The best and most basic financial advice I ever got was from my father. He said I should start saving for retirement as early as possible. I followed his advice, and over the years it has really added up.
Top ways to save:
1) don’t cut out, cut down – let’s say you typically bought a service or item once a week (ie housecleaning, babysitting so you can go out for dinner without kids, expensive coffee drink), just reduce your frequency and you will save each month and not feel like you have sacrificed much of anything!
2) travel hacking – we just went away overnight on a trip we wouldn’t have done if we hadn’t had the points in our hotel loyalty program which we got by hacking!
3) scrubbing your medical and dental insurance coverage plans – I just learned my plan entitles me to more covered services than I thought so I was able get reimbursed for something I had paid for out of pocket!
Accidental Fire says
My best tip is to drive a jalopy and ride in it with pride!!!
My top ways of saving that come to mind – automated savings into different accounts for different purposes. And secondly I love to travel (I’m up to 17 countries!) and common misconception is that you have to be rich but not the case at all – I use rewards and different programs/promos wisely to maximize traveling.
I love automated savings into different accounts for different purposes! I do this as well. For Christmas gift purchases last year– I used a lot of my rewards via ordering through Amazon.
Jordan Says says
Best savings tip is to automate a percentage of your savings. If you aren’t used to seeing it hit your checking account, you won’t feel like you’re missing anything. Always remember to increase the rate annually as well as with any pay raises.
Josh M says
A great way to save is that many stores these days have their own branded credit cards and give a small percentage off anything you purchase from the store with the credit card. I believe both Amazon & Target give 5% off anything you purchase from them with their credit cards. This is a great way to save money on things you were going to purchase anyway. As always with credit cards, you will need to pay the monthly balance in full.
yes!!! I second this comment! AMAZON all the way!!
I use credit card points to get gift cards for birthdays or holidays.
Andrea ODay says
Automate your investments so they are consistently done. It’s easy to delay or not invest if you do it manually or without a schedule
East Coast says
Hang out with people who value living simply.
Dean J says
Love this comment. It’s simple, but so sensible. You are the average of who u hang out with.
Mrs. Adventure Rich says
Automate your money. Make the savings automatic so that you don’t have to remember to make a transfer and you are not tempted to spend that money elsewhere!
I’m going to leave two.
1. Using Acorns is a great way for new/beginners to save money because it’s sort of like out of sight out of mind. It takes a little bit of your credit card purchases and saves and invests them so it’s probably the best for saving.
2.Automate! Try to setup some way to automate a certain amount each month to a high yield savings account of in my opinion a robo advisor platform and watch it grow.
James Cooper says
Years ago I started saving 10% of my take home pay. I now save 18% of my take home pay as well as 13% pre-tax into a 401(k) at work. I also save the maximum each year into a Roth IRA. I also have two DRIP plans that I send in a couple of hundred a year to. All of this has added up nicely and I plan to retire in six years but I may continue to work if I still enjoy it.
I make a “Need”, “Like” and “Love” list. Everything I spend can fit into a category. And each category has priority. As you may guess, the “Like” list is the one to really get chopped down to save money. It just helps you stop and think about what you’re really spending your money on.
Best tip for saving money – If you can’t or if you are unable, don’t be afraid or embarrassed to say “No”
Kyle Adams says
For us (family of 6 going on 7) – having a weekly money talk with my wife has proven invaluable. Our budget doesn’t always work exactly how we plan, but discussing what’s going on and being flexible has made our weekly money talks on Saturday morning something both my wife and I look forward to regardless of how things went.
David D says
My best tip for saving is stacking discounts. I love saving 5-30+% on goods and services. A quick example: I recently purchased gift cards on Raise.com at a 20% discount of their face value. I then bought $50 worth of items that were discounted 33% from their retail value. So, I spent $40 on $75 worth of goods. This is close to 50% off.
John Bennett says
The biggest thing about saving money is knowing how much you are spending. Without tracking, you don’t realize what you have spent and you have a harder time finding where to cut.
Stop buying things on credit. Set that money aside until you can afford it. This is easiest done by cutting it out of your check before any other budgeting.
Bring lunch to work instead of going out to lunch.
Automate your savings. Create a count down board where you can mark off milestonea to your goal. Don’t increase your lifestyle. Buy a car and home that meet your needs and them keep them for as long as possible. Cook at home.
K D says
One of the best ways to save money is to delay a purchase. Later you may feel differently about something that you think you need today or you may figure out a better way to satisfy your “need” (use something else, borrow, buy used).
K D says
One of the best ways to save money is to delay a purchase. Later you may feel differently about something that you think you need today or you may figure out a better way to satisfy your “need” (use something else, borrow, buy used).
K D says
One of the best ways to save money is to delay a purchase. Later you may feel differently about something that you think you need today or you may figure out a better way to satisfy your “need” (use something else, borrow, buy used).
Richard Ryan says
Good idea. Worth repeating. 😉
I think a shift in mindset is what has helped me the most in efforts to save money. I think being able to get off of autopilot when you shop or spend, and ask yourself whether something is a need or a want is really important. Trying to be mindful in spending is so tough, but really important.
I am naturally a saver–this enabled to buy my own home on a STEM graduate student stipend at age 23. Now that I have graduated and have a “big girl job” (tripled+ my income) I have found that having my savings taken out of my paycheck directly into my 403b helps a lot. I also capitalize on this by maxing out my Roth amount every year as well. This is allowing me to save over 20k per year plus the 9% my company adds to my 403b. It makes me feel like I will be able to catch up to those who finished school 5 years before me.
Save money by cooking at home most of the time. When eating out, don’t order alcohol…instead, have a glass of wine at home.
chris gualdoni says
This is spot on. You can buy a weeks worth of groceries for what a couple of meals cost at a restaurant. This is a great way to save.
Prior to meeting my wife, I couldn’t be bothered to investigate discounts or sales. If I wanted something, I bought it at retail price. She taught me that most of today’s products are marked up exorbitantly. Companies expect people to use coupons which is why there are frequent 20%+ off deals everywhere. Her tip to me was, before you go to the register, look on your phone for a coupon. Chances are you’ll find something you can use after a one minute search.
1. Use the public library. Free books, movies, audibles. Great place to entertain the kids. Ask for a special order and they’re usually so grateful for the feedback they give it to you first.
2. Swap. My neighbor is a real handyman; I’m not. He fixes stuff for me; I set up and maintain his home network and Wi-Fi. Plus, his wife makes really good cookies and my wife (the BSN) does their blood pressure!
Melissa Becker says
The number one way we save is to automate our savings. It’s easy, convenient and it really works!!
Decide what things are important to you. Those that are, spend the money that will make you happy. Those that aren’t, cut back on as much as possible.
I use the library instead of buying all new books. I shop at consignment stores and always look online for a coupon code or store discount when shopping.
We also transfer our monthly overage into our savings account!
Buy 1/2 the house the nice real estate lady says you can afford.
Christine K says
I add to my savings by earning cash back on Every online purchase. Use Ebates, free to join and easy to use. You can earn cash back on every online purchase from most of the common online retailers such as Amazon, ebay, JC Penney, Walmart Kohl’s, home depot and hundreds more(too many to list). In addition when you pay for the same online purchase with a credit card that also gives cash back, the rewards add up even more.
Whatever you are saving now, set that as your minimum. Always work to increase this by using bonuses and raises and try not to decrease.
Mollie Jackson says
My husband and I each get an “allowance” each week deposited in our individual bank accounts from our joint account. This money is for our discretionary spending…lunches, drinks out with friends, and even gifts we buy for each other have to come from those funds. It encourages us to make wiser spending decisions (taking lunch from home) and makes budgeting and saving much easier.
Recent Grad says
1. Invest in a thermos, and make your own coffee each morning rather than buying Starbucks (no brainer).
2. Pack lunch each day – healthier and cheaper.
3. Delay purchases, buy clothes resale, especially from high-end neighborhoods.
4. Garage sale for a huge variety of things – lots of fun and can get so many things next to new.
5. Library all the way.
6. Email subscriptions for anyplace you regularly go, most places (clothing, electronics, etc) have sales constantly.
7. Groupon for oil changes.
8. Have fun with deals and savings! Negotiate hotel prices, just enjoy the hunt for savings!
Richard Ryan says
I have a weakness for Tommy Bahama shirts but would never buy them at retail prices (yikes! 8-0 ).
But, I work in an area surrounded by affluent suburbs and visit a nearby Goodwill store. I have purchased several Tommy Bahama shirts in ‘like new’ condition at this Goodwill for less than $10 each!
Know the difference between a “need” and a “want” and how to say no to the “wants”.
Beyond that know what things cost and research before purchasing. Just because something is “on sale” does not mean it is a good deal.
Oscar Quintero says
This is how I have saved this past year:
-5% 401k through my employer
-5% to my emergency fund (had to use a bunch of it this year so I’m replenishing it)
-For every day I don’t purchase anything, I transfer $20 to another account. Once I have enough ($500-$1000), I transfer that to a Roth. I usually end up with about $60 per week.
-$25 each week to a savings account on Fridays automatic transfer. Combined with the above account.
I do all of this but still using a budget. Both last two items are after my budget is met for the week.
1. I didn’t look at my balances during the 2 bear markets this century. I just kept adding to the pile of money and used the auto balance feature in my 401K.
2. Instead of a gym membership, I purchased a “walking only” golf membership for half the price of the gym membership. Now I walk 18 holes of golf 3 time a week instead of the treadmill at the gym.
Be frugal, but smart.
David Keith says
Set goals and budget! When my wife and I first married I told her that we were going to save $50K by our fifth wedding anniversary – she thought I was nuts, but when you break it down it’s not that hard! It gave us something to dream about and it influenced our spending decisions….our friends were flying off to Europe and Hawaii every year – we went to our local mountains at 20% of the cost. Now, we are both retired (in our mid-fifties) and our friends say “how’d you do it???” 🙂
W Fox says
A great way to save money is to physically not go to the store (or shop online). Go exercise, play outside, do yard work, or hang out with friends but don’t go shopping “for fun.”
Katie Hall says
-bring your own lunch to work and drink water all day long instead of buying drinks or coffee
-use retailmenot.com when doing any online shopping to maximize any online discount codes
-ask for the discount from anyone and everyone. They may say no, but may say yes
-use Ibotta app to get extra money off groceries and online shopping for things you already buy
-pay cash for vacations, plan, make a budget and put money away each month(including spending money). Enjoy your vacation knowing you wont be in debt when you return!
-maximize your employers 401k match, it is FREE money
-sell things online (trusted places) for items you no longer use but still have good life in them. Someone can use them!
Laura Dunn says
Avoid signing up for “subscriptions”–whether they are for magazines or products or monthly clubs. They are usually difficult to get out of and sometimes you can forget all about them. But those monthly fees add up!
Jessica H says
I make sure we have enough leftovers for everyone to eat for lunch the next day. Much cheaper (and healthier) than running out to get a $10 fast food lunch!
Susie Hays says
Best way I have recently saved money is getting rid of cable, internet and home phone. Saving $200 per month. Don’t miss it a bit.
Saving = not spending or spending less. So one way to reduce spending is to review your needs vs any contracts you have each time they are up for renewal. Insurance, TV, phone. Look at what you use and compare…amazing what competition for your dollar gives you. Do it, it works.
Richard Ryan says
Best tip I have is to “automate” savings. I was thinking how great my 401k is because that money is “diverted” and never arrives in my checking account. I thought: Why not do the same with other $$? I checked and my employer’s system has the ability to deposit into multiple accounts. So, I linked my investment account and now a portion of my salary is “diverted” into that account twice a month.
Kathi Soniat says
We maximize our 401K’s. Our IRA’s are pretty stable – so we invest at a riskier level for the “new” invest (and take the over 50 catch-up, even though we don’t really need it).
Buy used cars, shop at discount grocery, cook at home, bring your lunch to work…choose your “splurges” wisely.
We are on acreage – so keep livestock to get agricultural status for tax purposes.
I’ve switched from using library exclusively – to ARC (Advanced Reader Copy) where I read and review for authors, they provide the book before it hits Amazon…. a win-win!
Eating out has to be one of my biggest expenses so bringing a lunch to work rather than eating out is a big savings.
The best advice I can give is “Just Do It”. Don’t get overwhelmed just start. Start now, don’t be afraid to make a mistake or do the wrong thing. I constantly fight paralysis by analysis. My dad always told me “Do something even if it’s wrong”. It is more important to start than it is to do the perfect thing.
Lisa Mease says
I love this comment.
* Brown bag it for lunch. This saves a minimum of $150 per month, and likely a lot more.
* Renegotiate contracts every few years for phone, TV. Do this effectively by calling in to their ‘terminate service’ phone prompt instead of regular customer service. This puts the fear of losing you into them and gets you to the agents who have the power to adjust your fees. My recent savings using this method is $70 per month.
* Coupons for groceries. My wife has typical receipts showing $120 of groceries for $50 after discounts.
* Never pay full price for anything.
Yes its best to call to cancel service and speak to someone in the retention dept. They have more power and deals available then the regular reps. Another thing I picked up on recently was you actually need to say you are calling to “cancel” and not just ask for a better deal via the retention dept. I have the mindset to never pay full price for anything also. You would be surprised what you can save by shopping around or even just asking for a better deal. I will check online using Walmart, Amazon, Ebay, Google search for the best prices, then try to use online coupon codes, cash back sites and credit card rewards or promotions to stack on top of it.
Max out any and all pre-tax savings vehicles (401k, etc.). Out of sight, out of mind.
Adam G says
Make a small sacrifice today so you can enjoy a great life in the future.
My money saving tip is a very small one, but I like it. My wife and I keep separate “fun money” budget lines. We reallocated some money away from eating out to our fun money, and whenever we get a drink from a restaurant (with the big markup that comes with it), we have to pay for that drink out of our fun money.
I feel it’s a nice way to give a bit of incentive for being more healthy.
My paycheck is automatically allocated to my 401k, after tax 401k for Roth conversion, my company’s stock purchase program, and then the rest goes into our brokerage account. We live off my husband’s paycheck (after 401k).
Richard Ryan says
That is awesome. 🙂
Stephen Jones says
Set up an auto withdrawl from your bank account to buy EE US Savings bonds. Start with 25 per month and increase it as your salary grows.
We also save loose change in a piggy bank, roll them and use it for additional bonds. Currently have over 40k in bonds.
Olmiche Vital says
5 ways to save
1. the easiest way automatic transfer from one account to the actual savings account
2.coupons, digital or from the newspaper
3. always ask for student discounts, veteran discounts, and also any professional organizations you belong to
4. make a separate account and don’t touch it no matter what happens
5. open a CD, which would charge you to get your money out, in-turn saving you money
Best tip on saving money – like others have mentioned here – is to do it automatically. We advise folks to setup a two checking account system where you put funds for variable / fixed expenses. Savings would be a fixed expense. All savings would come out of that fund. Thanks.
Emily Yi says
Hello! I auto deduct money from my pay into wealthfront so that I pay myself first, bring a lunch to work, and make coffee at home.
Meal plan/grocery trip/food prep on Sundays – that way I can pack my lunches for the week and also not have to worry about what’s for dinner every day (saves us from picking up takeout or ordering pizza)! Crockpots this time of year are AWESOME!!
Don’t pay a “financial adviser” 1% (or more) of your portfolio every year for something you can do yourself with advice from this site and others. Some in my family do this out of fear – the financial services industry does a great job convincing people they are too dumb to do it on their own.
Like other commenters have mentioned, Pay Yourself First. Save first and then allocate the rest on expenses. Thanks for the giveaway,
Bank at a credit union.
I divert monies into different accounts for saving purposes. I have vacation goals, and other goals I am saving for, and my CU offers the ability to have “special accounts”. Also save into a Christmas Club account with your CU or some banks still have them. What a nice little pot to have just before the holiday shopping frenzy begins.
Cook at home – try new recipes.
Jim Paulson says
One of the best tips I can give for saving money is to not adjust your spending habits when you get a raise, but funnel the extra money earned to investments. I have colleagues who continually increased the cost of their lifestyle every time they had an increase in salary, whether its by getting a new house, car, recreation property, etc, and they are still living paycheck to paycheck even though there salary has doubled. If you are disciplined at this and maintain the amount of spending you are doing, the amount of income you have to invest keeps getting higher and higher over your career. This is an easier strategy than trying to cut back on spending, as it is easier to maintain a lifestyle than reduce it.
Read financial blogs that inspire you. 🙂 In all seriousness, it is motivational, and you get lots of good information (free).
Nicole Hopewell says
The key to saving money is to PAY YOURSELF FIRST. This is not a new idea, but it is the most powerful way to make saving a habit and hardwire it. For many years, I saved 10% of my salary. One year, I bumped it up to 12% with NO PERCEPTIBLE impact. Then, I bumped it up to 15% – again, no big deal! I now max out my retirement accounts through automatic deductions. Don’t underestimate your ability to adapt – you can’t spend money you never see!
Use internet for comparison when shopping and use sites like Ebates etc so that you get some cash back on your purchases. Thanks
My tip: high yield savings accounts. I use Ally but any online bank with a rate of around 1% is totally worth it. Only disadvantage I’ve found is being unable to deposit cash.
I’ve consolidated my credit cards and now they’re closed. I don’t use credit cards for anything now. I now know when everything will be paid off. Typically, I don’t go shopping unless I need to. This saves me from tempting myself with things I don’t need. Since my divorce, I’ve had to really cut back, so excess is really a turn-off. I check my accounts every day and check my credit score every week. This helped me track the ex’s payments, which were sometimes late. Now that car is finally paid off. The wild card is finally gone!
If you own a home take a class on home electricity repair, or get a few books out of the library and teach yourself. Do your own minor jobs & repairs.
Mow your own lawn, do your own garden and yard work, shovel your own snow = savings on the service, savings on a gym membership and you get outside and exercise!
[email protected] says
Cut your Cable or Satellite bill. You probably don’t watch that much TV. You can call your provider to reduce your bill with less shows on your plan or if you have been with them for awhile, they will cut your current bill and you keep the shows you have to retain you. They have “Customer Retention” department that will negotiate. They told me they would take $20 off my monthly bill for 12 months. I cancelled the service anyways. I will be saving $900 per year.
Kimberly S Holesha says
Christmas Club Account. Every paycheck I deposit a predetermined amount into a savings account specifically for Christmas. By October I have enough to buy all the gifts, and our annual party with cash. No January surprises anymore!
This tip applies to streaming services, satellite radio, (or even cable). Nothing wrong with having some entertainment, but do you really need to have it all year long? Subscribe for a month or 2, or even 3 or 4, get your fill of it then cancel for a while. Im sure you won’t miss much and find other things to do during that time. You can even use all the free trials to spread out the paid subscriptions even further. I also use Redbox and they have specials they throw out a few times a year for cheap or even free rentals. I’m not a movie junkie, so just having these things once in a while works for me. No need to pay for it all the time. Not a huge savings but more about the mindset/ principal of it and plugging another money leak in your life.
Do not be loyal when it comes to media subscriptions. When say Stranger Things is on Netflix, get Netflix for the month, binge, and then put on hold. Do the same same for Game of Thrones (HBO), Outlander (Starz), etc. Only keep Amazon Prime as the constant one since I imagine most people have it here for the shipping, and the media portion is then essentially free.
Megan M says
I double saved by increasing our 401k contributions and maxing out our HSA each year because we started paying exponentially more in income tax. We live worse off than before my husbands max overtime but I am not sending everything we’re making extra to the tax man. Took awhile to get the hubs on board – wanted him to reduce his hours but since that wasn’t an option I went looking for ways to keep as much of it as possible.
– Only buy used cars
– Always get five or more estimates for any remodeling or large maintenance projects (yes its an effort, but it pays off since you gather info with each estimate)
– Never buy expensive coffee at a shop (make it at home or office if you must drink that stuff)
– Automate all payments (including your savings and investments)
Like many others, we have just about every penny of a paycheck planned out. Firstly, we transfer a set amount to savings from every paycheck . We are building up at least a 12 months emergency fund, as well as putting a small amount into college fund accounts for our 4 young children. After those funds, and all bills have been paid or allocated, we then withdraw cash an use the envelop method to control spending for the monthly purchases like groceries, fuel, etc. Anything left over is put into savings. The Savings account is separate from other accounts and not easily accessible so we aren’t tempted to pull from it unless we are in a true emergency.
Mark G. says
Look at all spending as investing – what’s the payoff? Are you getting an acceptable value for your money when you spend it?
Do you get ($30/$60/$100)-per-month value from your entertainment provider? (For some, the answer is yes. For me, it’s almost-always no.)
Is the value of coffee from a coffee-bar worth the price?
Is the restaurant-meal worth the price difference over making it at home?
Or could you put that money to a higher-value use?
The answers will differ depending on the tastes of the individuals, but asking the question is an important part of the saving process.
The Wahine says
If you’re not a big traveler, then maximize the use of cash back credit cards (rather than travel reward cards). We use Amex Blue Cash Preferred for grocery, department stores and gas. We make good use of it at Kroger and then earn discounts on Kroger fuel. Saving up to a $1 off per gallon on a 36 gallon tank adds up! Amex BCP does have a hefty annual fee, but we find that we more than make up for this in cash back. For other purchases, we mainly use Citi’s Double Cash card and also take advantage of rotating 5% categories with Discover. Of course, the key here is to not overspend with credit cards and pay the balance off each month.
None of these are earth-shattering, but they always help me.
1. Dining Out: This is a variable budget category that can get out.of.control. Take your lunch to work. Cook at home. Not every day if you enjoy going out, but most days.
2. Goals: I always save consistently when I have a goal. Typically it’s travel-focused. Have a trip in the next year? Set milestones and automate how much to save each month. Will the trip cost $2000? Don’t just save $2k up to the day of the trip. There will be flights (potentially) and other purchases beforehand. Set a goal, establish milestones, and automate.
3. Look for coupons/discounts: I use Ebates any time I’m shopping online. Not only does it give cash back at a lot of places, it will also apply coupons automatically if you’re using the browser extension.
4. Wait on purchases: I will put potential purchases on a private amazon wish list and check back later. Helps me save on things I know I’m going to buy, but aren’t urgent.
5. Credit card rebates: My credit card tracks lower price rebates. You input your purchase info, including item, date, and price. The tracker tracks the price over the next 60 days – if it goes down, you’re refunded the difference. I’ve saved almost $200 over the last year for maybe a half hour total of work. Nothing huge, but nothing to shake a stick at either.
Alan S says
Have a savings goal for long-term (retirement), medium term (10 to 20 years), short term (1 to 5 years), and specific items (i.e. house, car, vacation, college, etc.). Setup automatic transfers for each savings goal.
My best money saving tip is to cultivate “enough”. With a sense of enough, my wardrobe is fine. With a sense of enough, my home decor is fine. It can carry into almost any area you would be willing to spend money.
My second (practical) tip is to eat at home, and on the rare occasions you eat out, do not order alcohol (or at least, no more than one drink). The amount that you pay to have food prepared for you, or drinks delivered to you one by one is astounding! Figure out a way to enjoy eating at home and do it!
Best savings tip is to automate it. Whether it is a 401K or IRA don’t let the money be deposited to your regular checking account.
I’m a big fan of travel websites. I can usually find pretty good travel deals on websites like travelzoo.com. If you’re interested in travel and have a flexible schedule you can usually rack up some sweet deals and save a bundle.
One of the easiest and best ways to save money is by bringing your lunch to work and eating out less overall. Not only is it healthier for your wallet, it’s also healthier for your waistline.
One of favorite save tips that has helped me is to figure out your priorities/values. Spend on those items and cut back on the rest!
Example: I drive a beat up car (because I could care less) but love to buy wine from local startup wineries to share with friends!
Three Best Tips I have:
1. Automate your savings – scrape it right off your pay stubs so you don’t even see it. Put it into an account that is difficult to access, not just a swipe and move type of account.
2. Work for a company that matches 401K and figure out how much to put in to get the most.
3. Find a place to live for free, i.e., we did it for a while by keeping an eye out for trailer park owner. We were not the managers, but additional – fill-in staff that collected money, laundry, etc. You could do this with an apartment complex, or even huge estates where you are the caretaker.
I believe an important tip to saving is pay yourself first.
Maxing out your 401k, ira’s, as soon as possible.
Use all your raises to max out contributions in 2 to 3 years.
(your lifestyle won’t be affected at all since you didn’t have that money before … )
I guess that’s 3 tips ..?
My best savings tip is to automatically up the percentage saved in my 401K each year when I get a raise, that way I don’t notice!
1. Make your own coffee each morning rather than purchasing out(Starbucks,Caribou,Dunn, etc.)
2. Pack lunch each day – healthier and cheaper. Prepare for the week on Sunday night
3. Never make purchases, (clothes especially) you do not want because it is cheap; it will never be dear to you. If you don’t love it at the store, dealer, etc you will not love it later in life.
4. Moderation in spending: never spend what you don’t have or don’t need. If you can save 30-50% on everyday essentials when on sale and you can afford the cash outlay, it is likely the best Rate of return on investment you will get. i.e. toilet paper, can goods and items that do not spoil or have long shelf lives should be purchased on buying opportunities where the price with or without coupons is 40-60% off what you typically or normally pay. Buy only in moderation, what you can afford and avoid a lifetime supply!
5. Be deliberate in Saving. Pay yourself first and be generous. Follow the instructions and advice on this website for reasonable returns and reasonable risk.
6. Enjoy the Ride! Have fun with finding deals and saving on everyday essentials, invest the savings, laugh and make a game of it and recognize you are having fun on your path. The destination is awesome! Nowhere is it written you can’t enjoy the process of getting there!
My tips for saving are to stay away from shops as much as possible, buy used and sell stuff that you don’t use.
I am not one to recommend automating services when it comes to one’s financial life. Too often I have heard horror stories of automated bill paying withdrawing too large of a sum and an individual fighting to get their money back from a various service. However, when it comes to savings the greatest position someone can take is to pay themselves first. If they are unable to do that every payment cycle then I would recommend setting up automated savings into separate accounts, just like your 401k account from your employer. That way emotions are removed from the equation and you are doing the best service to your future self. At the start of each year I try to automate my contributions to a brokerage account. Therefore, every other weekend I do not get paid I am saving a portion of my paycheck so I don’t spend it on “wanted” items. I take the same approach for my Roth IRA account as well, quarterly putting $1,375 into that account to hopefully compound exponentially until the day I retire and decide to withdraw. An individual with a strong savings background can learn to become a strong investor of their money, all it takes is proper discipline.
Arty jay says
As a parent of 3, I’ve always insisted on my children saving a decent portion of there allowance. The amounts are negligible but they habit of saving some of every paycheck is the most valueable lesson
My best savings advice is to spend mindfully. Buy whatever you want, but make sure you really want it, and keep in mind that things probably won’t make you happy.
I have found that the best way for me to save us to do it consistently so I automate. Money comes directly out of my paycheck into retirement and savings account. I also take lunch to work a couple of times a week as eating out is my (expensive) weakness. When I get a pay raise I increase my retirement savings and pay extra to my mortgage. I have not got it all figured out but I’m a work in progress… but sites like this keep me motivated!
Zero based budget really helps us keep track of where our money is going and we’ve found the result is that there is more left over at the end of each month this way!
Tareq Haque says
Everyone has to eat, so usually a good idea to check your weekly supermarket flyers for items you regularly use to stock up and save.
Lisa Mease says
Save and reuse the inside bags from cereal boxes.
I buy chicken, ground beef, etc in bulk. I divide the meat into smaller portions and use the cereal bags to freeze it. Then, I use a Ziploc freezer bag for double insulation. Since the Ziplog bag never touches the meat, I can reuse them over and over.
Of course you can use the cereal bag for other things as well.
The beauty is that when you recycle to save money, you also are helping the environment!!
Use a data aggregator like Personal Capital to keep on top of all your income and expenses. Much higher motivation to save when you see your net worth growing and shrinking as a result of your spending, investments and income. Also a very quick way to monitor balances and review transactions enabling you to catch fraud much much quicker.
Ben B says
As far as ways to save money, I love getting free gas from Giant Eagle fuel perks. Any purchase, large or small for which I can use a gift card, I get one and pay with with it. It generally saves me about $45/ mo at the gas station.
Yun Zhu says
Minimizing the tax bill to save! I max out my 401k with employer matching. I open HSA (triple tax benefits- pre-tax to reduce taxable income, dividend tax free and no need to pay tax when taking out for medical use) to invest into low fee balanced index funds.
Now the kids are getting paid part-time jobs while in collage. Do they need to file tax at any pay level, even a few thousand dollars per year? At what pay level they are no longer qualify as our dependents?
David Galilei says
Pay yourself first! Max out contributions to your 401K, IRA’s etc. Live well below your means.
Lead a minimalist life. If you don’t need a lot you don’t need to spend a lot!
Scott Parker says
Pay off all non mortgage debt aggressively and save 15% for retirement.
Millionaire Doc says
Shop around for homeowners and auto insurance. Some policies can be much less expensive and save you hundreds of dollars each year.
Luann Brunner says
Top money saving tip for us is save off the top of the check making use of all employer matches.
Second tip is learn to cook at home…quick simple flavorful meals in minutes saving ALOT . BUDGETBYTES.COM is a great place to start.
R V says
Here is my saving plan for car:
For my next/future car budgeting, I start putting some money side every month as soon as i bought my current car. Plan is to accumulate enough money in next 8-10 yrs for my next car and start saving as soon as bought my current car. Every month put money into my saving account and every 3 months move that money from saving account to my investing account and put 50/50 Index fund and bond fund.
Stay out of debt (spend less than you make) and budget as tight as you can go without it being overwhelming.
Ask yourself before buying anything, will this purchase make me happier. If not, you don’t need to spend the money.
My favorite savings tip is to save automatically. It’s easier to blow off moving over $50-$100 or whatever than it is to actively grab it back for yourself if you have it being withdrawn automatically.
Picture yourself as an old person in retirement and imagine funding his expenses. Don’t make him/her have to eat alpo…
track your net worth every month (i use excel, but personal capital, etc. work too). It’s so motivating to see that number increase every month! And if it doesn’t, that gets me fired up to cut costs the next month!
Save/Invest at least 75% of every raise. You lived without it last month so you probably don’t need it now.
In my younger years I struggled with impulse purchasing, especially clothes. I introduced a rule to never immediately use what I buy. I still do that. I leave the purchases unopened with tags on for a week or two (I would always ask for the return policies). After that time the initial draw of the purchase somewhat fades and I am able to evaluate with a clear head whether I really need it or not. Another rule – try not to buy anything full price. Almost everything goes on sale eventually.
I agree with so many commentators who write about cooking at home since it is cheaper and healthier. But I would like to add another consideration for cooking and eating at home. I might be wrong but it seems to me that we as humans have natural boundaries or limits to our total amount of enjoyment. For example, if we make eating out a special occasion we derive much more enjoyment from it. Whereas if we eat out frequently then the enjoyment might be frequent too but it also becomes very weak, so somehow the “total amount” of enjoyment remains the same.
How to keep one’s head when the markets drop: I remind myself that although no longer a spring chicken by any stretch of imagination I am still young enough. And if I lived so far without using the money I invested in the stock market then I can certainly live another 5 or even 10 years without touching it. In 5-10 years the markets not only will return to their prior levels but grow even higher. It helps that I invest mostly in well diversified funds. They do go up eventually.
There is truth to the saying “best things in life are free”. For example, one can have a great weekend without spending much money. We go to the nearby forest preserve for long (3-4 hour) walks. It helps reconnect with nature and each other and unwind from a long work week in the office. It is not only good for our wallet but for our health too – fresh air and exercise. Another idea – invite family and /or friends over for potluck and games. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote that “there is only one true luxury, that of human relationships”. I am at the risk of including too many quotes but I happen to agree with him. One doesn’t need to sacrifice quality of life by not spending too much money on things. In fact, you can improve your life by spending more time with people you like and value.
Richard Ryan says
“One doesn’t need to sacrifice quality of life by not spending too much money on things. In fact, you can improve your life by spending more time with people you like and value.”
Excellent. Very well said. 🙂
Tip: Don’t waste money at Starbucks, Amazon, or iTunes!!!
j/k:-), I love all those companies and their products, and it is quite generous of ESI to share these gift-cards with the lucky winners! If I may take myself out of contention for these great gift-cards because I was a lucky winner in a prior contest, and besides that I already like ESI!
Eliminate all discretionary recurring expenses for at least six months. Cable, netflix, food delivery, Amazon prime, etc. We’ve eliminated 100% of these items from our budget and don’t miss a thing. The library is an amazing place to replace nearly all entertainment needs!
Brandy H says
Cable and food delivery I can understand but Netflix and Amazon Prime?!?! Nooooo!! ?
Easiest way for me to save money is to automate it. Just take it out of the paycheck every month and either put it in a high yield savings account or an investment account. The real key is to do this at a level where it will hurt a bit and put some pressure eon you to keep hustling to make more.
My best tip for saving money is to remove the temptation to spend it unnecessarily. Avoid looking at ads, sales, window-shopping at the mall, etc. It’s too easy for me to get caught up in the hype and excitement of feeling like I saved 50% (or whatever,) but the reality is that if I hadn’t been browsing in the first place, I would never miss the item and would have saved 100%.
I have two chest freezers and buy a lot of my meat frozen, in bulk. I try to purchase the best-quality food I can afford (as an RN, I’ve seen first-hand what eating poorly can do!). Often I’m able to find a great deal on grass-fed beef, wild salmon, etc and when I do, I stock up! I love ordering from Zaycon Foods, a lot of the time they beat Costco prices. They’re a refrigerated truck that you meet up with at a certain time and place in your area.
As has been said before, automate your savings before you have a chance to spend it. Mainly your 401K but your regular savings as well.
Before I purchase something I do not need, but want, I think of the number of hours I need to work post tax to pay for it. This helps cut down on impulsive purchases.
My saving tip will be to follow blogs like esimoney.com and then take action on advice related to saving and other tips.
One good saving point for me this year is to open the high yield saving for bonus sign up. For example, us bank, discover, etc. Thanks.
Pay yourself first. Take a portion of your paycheck and put it in a separate account. That way you don’t touch it.
Biggest thing is to follow Bogle and Buffett, and be okay with low expense index funds…I’d be much further along if I would have know that when I first started.
Smartest thing we ever did was taking a 15-year mortgage on the first house we purchased, sold it after ten years for a nice profit, giving us a large down payment for the second house we purchased, also with a 15-year mortgage. We saved thousands in interest payments and are now mortgage-free.
set up automatic transfers to savings, roth, brokerage, etc. accounts every month!
Heather S says
Pay yourself first, hands down. Thanks for hosting such a RAD and GENEROUS giveaway, cheers!
If you find that you have allowed sneaky spending habits to creep into your life (e.g., fast food meals, too many media subscriptions, food delivery), place yourself on a spending fast for at least one month. Cut out all of those discretionary expenses & take the time to evaluate which really brought value and which could be permanently discarded. This worked for us. Amazon prime and a Costco membership were things we valued & signed up for again. Netflix and trips to McDonald’s went away.
A great way to save money is to try to win a gift card when someone is just giving them away. It’s not the best way to earn money however. And ESI will have to tell us if it turned out to be a good investment for his online presence.
Good communication with your immediate family is crucial to maintaining a savings plan!
Purchase a dependable vehicle and drive it as long as possible.
Srikkanth Sridhar says
One of the better ways to save money in the shop is to negotiate and haggle, whenever you can. You won”t lose anything in that process. Just ASK for a lower price on the product. This definitely works if you are a repeat customer. This worked for me
Mike H says
Pay yourself first, take the money right out of your paycheck like tax withholding and you won’t miss it.
Thanks, ESI for building up the comments.
amy stonger says
I think it’s important to your research before making a large purchase to compare prices and products.
Best tip to save money is to read doctorofcredit.com every day! Churning is awesome
Zack Giles says
Easiest way is to automate it. Whatever percentage/amount you choose take it off the top before bills, fun, etc. Have it automatically taken out of your pay check and deposited into a 401k, SEPA, 503b, brokerage account, etc. Setting it by a percentage is even better than setting an amount so that whenever you get a raise you automatically get a raise in saving.
30% of take home check goes directly to brokerage account and is invested – doesn’t even pass through regular checking / savings, all recurring bills paid on second of the month. We create a bit of scarcity and live on what remains for the next month! I’ve tried multiple budgeting tools and this has been the best (and easiest) for us!
Create separate accounts to save for different things – that way you can more clearly watch each goal. I used to lump them all together and I don’t think that worked as well as having a separate account (even at the same online bank) for non-regular spending, long-term savings, saving up for car/house/whatever.
Julio D. says
Do meal prep on weekends (or cook daily) so you can eat healthy food easier. This will pay off with convenience and decades of theoretically less hospital bills.
John Wedding says
Buy used whenever it makes sense. It almost always makes sense with cars.
AUtomate savings and cutting meat from our diet
To save, negotiate. ask around for discounts. Be it for regular purchases or at work.
To save money: 1) If in debt, snowball out of it. 2) Once out of debt, continue snowballing directly into a savings account.
Stop spending money
Split direct deposit into multiple accounts – at least two: one for budgeted spending, one for long term saving. (I also recommend one for giving.)
Mrs. Kiwi says
I track my spending every month which showed me that I could save a lot more! And of course I pay myself firstborn by investing in my 401k and 457, so I never see most of my paychecks!
When thinking about buying holiday gifts, (or asking for a gift) stop and ask yourself (or your family members), “What did I get last year, and do I still use it?” If you can’t answer or you don’t use it, reconsider how you give/receive gifts.
Brandy H says
I always pay extra on my car! Some people think that’s not saving me anything but it saves me in two ways. First I pay less interest to the bank. Second, I pay my car off long before I can run the wheels off of it which allows me to save up the money I would have been paying on a car. By doing this, my next car should be paid in full at the time of purchase.
We like to go for big wins, which for us is two things:
1. This is hotly debatable, but I stil maintain that for most people the best way to save money is to pay down any large debts. People will counter that you can invest instead, but MOST people will not do that; they will still spend their money. So for us this meant paying off large swaths of our mortgage in the first few years until the portion of our mortgage payments going to interest was <20%. We then invested heavier and let the mortgage resolve itself.
2. Maximizing work retirement accounts. You can't spend the money if you never even see it, and you save for retirement while reducing your tax burden.
Digit Savings. Through its algorithms it will transfer money from your checking account to a Digit Savings account in varying amounts at varying times. There is a small monthly maintenance fee, though, and they reward you after certain time frames with a “bonus”. Refer up to 5 friends and get $5 each if they sign up. It does not take the place of regular savings methods however, it can be your mad money account and you can transfer funds back into your checking account.
My improved saving tip was to move over my credit card spending to an improved cash back plan. For me that turned out to be Amazon’s Visa. Since we use Amazon for basics (i.e. toiletries, food, etc.) as well as the occasional larger item, I’ve found it makes a difference. The big boost was using it for an international vacation since there are no bank fees for non US currency transactions.
Meal prepping, making a list and checking what we have on hand. Saves from overspending in things we really don’t need. Saves on wasting food. Saves from not going out to eat because we have meals ready at home.
My unique savings advice is…..JOINT checking account.
You can’t track your income and expenses effectively together when your finances are seperate.
Joint account I’d one of the biggest reasons we are doing well today.
So many people separate their finances even after being married. This can cause so much $ to slip through their fingers.
Pay yourself first / auto investment!
Tom G says
My wife and I save on our auto insurance by purchasing an umbrella liability policy ($1M) and then lowering our liability coverage on our auto insurance which (in Michigan anyway) is more expensive coverage. We end up with greater coverage at a lower annual cost… we also pay the premiums annually and save even more.
We save money for vacation using the old fashioned ‘cash in the envelope’ plan! We started small, $10 each, and then were able to plan a trip knowing it was already paid for. Stress free vacation, loved knowing it was paid for before we even left home.
Never toss leftover food. Eat it in the next day or two, or at least give it to someone who will.
The best way I’ve found is to use the Acorns app. You connect your bank account and credit card to it and it’ll roundup your purchases to the next dollar and invest that difference. You can also set recurring investment amounts. These are great for beginning investors and is what I recommend to all of my college friends who’ve yet to start saving.
Pay yourself first!
Lori Miller says
I love to read. My favorite tip is to use your digital library card instead of buying books. Less cost and less clutter.
My best advice for saving is to try budgeting for raising a child. This works also for those who are childless and those whose children are already grown up and stand on their own feet — because the world and spending patterns are changing rapidly. Being the father of a young child has made me realize the importance of planning ahead more than I thought it would have.
Planning ahead for raising children involves combining a short term outlook with a long term vision. I believe it is a crucial component for creating self discipline to save — the S — as well as giving a drive to look for ways to increase earnings — the E — and make appropriate investment decisions — the I. Budgeting for raising a child and thinking about how to save while doing it will be a game changer.
A dollar saved is a dollar. A dollar earned is about 50 cents.
We have been doing great with ESI and have a quarter mil saved for the kids college. However, if I get a job at a University, they can save up to 90% off their college tuition. I’ll let you know how it works out!
Matt Eaton says
Step 1) Stroll through your neighbourhood and peek into the open garages you see. Realise how much unnecessary junk we all collect.
Step 2) Hop on Google Maps and search for “self storage” across America and see how rich the self storage owners have become storing the overflow of unnecessary junk that no longer fits in the garage.
Step 3) Ask several of your friends and colleagues how much they spend per month. I know a single 47 year old guy who spends $18K per month and literally has nothing to show for it.
Step 4) Get on a plane and fly to any other country and repeat Step 1, 2 and 3 and take stock of how the US’s over-consumption model has taken over your life. Realise that it is this over-consumption that has turned Americans into buying-zombies, fuelled the rise of China, and polluted our planet beyond repair.
Step 5) Take control of your life. US marketers have become masters of inflicting “perceived value” on your psyche. You have been tricked into believing how much money you will save if you buy from Amazon Prime or get the Costo Club Card. Think bigger. Think how much you will save if you buy NOTHING but the essentials. What do you really need? Food, water, shelter. Now think huge. What really floats your boat? Love running? Biking? Camping? Traveling? Crossword puzzles? Get into it. Really get into it. Get into 2 things. Get into 5 things. Spend a little money on those few areas you love, make sure you get quality food and have a quality shelter. Forsake everything else. Your savings will sky rocket.
Step 6) Invest that savings towards funding your kids’ education and then lock their true education through teaching them to stay off the consumerism train just like you. While the rest of the US is rapidly depleting their funds outspending you in futile efforts to try and be happy through ownership of the latest gadget, you are now actually happy with your hobbies, activities, and education that will last generations.
Beyond automating savings (if I don’t see it, I don’t spend it), my best tip is every few weekends, spend a few hours making extra large batches of 1 or 2 (or more) meals. I aim for ones that have protein, vegetable, and carb all in one dish. I then package them in individual serving sized containers (or ziploc bags – which I’ll wash and reuse if they didn’t touch raw meat) and freeze. This allows you to take advantage of savings on bulk purchases, and means you always have something homemade to heat up so you don’t eat out or order in as much. It also has an added career benefit – it’s easier to work late when you don’t have pressure to get home in time to start cooking, and if you need to work from home in the evening it’s a lot more pleasant to do so after a healthy home-cooked meal than heavy take-out or delivery.
This is somewhat specialized, but it’s a useful tool for other purchases that can wait. Instead of going to the gym I run to stay in shape. At about 2000 miles per year, I usually go through 3-5 pairs of shoes per year depending on how they wear.
I bought my first pair for full price after a fitting at a running store to make sure I had a pair that was comfortable, but since then I’ve had price alerts set up the shoes on Amazon using http://www.camelcamelcamel.com (no affiliation). I’ll get emails when the prices drop below a certain threshold. When the price drops I’ll buy a new pair. Usually I’ll have 1-2 extra pairs in the closet, but I know I’ll use them, and won’t have to pay full price when my current pair wears out.
Rob G says
Automate your savings so you are not tempted to spend it.
Peter Jung says
Best savings tip is to budget and use cash when possible. I recall reading that people spend 16-18% more with credit. Also like automating your life for simplicity.
When getting a raise or bonus, automatically saving the new amount now and moving forward to not inflate my lifestyle.
Save your bonuses or raises. You did just fine without them. Save for a rainy day.
A. Moorman says
Save all you can early. Compounding is your best friend!
I have bought very few new clothes for my kids. Local Facebook parent groups for buying/selling kid gear is a huge money saver. And a great way to get rid of clutter.
Besides the usual max out 401K and IRA… spend less = save more.
Use eBay to purchase clothes (retailers sell new items for pennies on the dollar)
Buy only on-sale items at the grocery store. Plan meals around that.
Besides the usual max out 401K and IRA… spend less = save more.
Use eBay to purchase clothes (retailers sell new items for pennies on the dollar)
Buy only on-sale items at the grocery store. Plan meals around that.
Buy Pre-owned cars from friends who buy new cars. I’ve been lucky with three $5000 cars:
1. Jaguar XJ8, silver – drove it 80,000. Gorgeous car.
2. 2000 Mercedes SLK230. Have driven 45,000 so far. Hope to drive it 70k more
3. 2002 Ford F-150. Drove it 230,000 mi.
You’d be surprised at how little it takes to maintain an older car. Buy a style that doesn’t go out of style!
Decide what you value. For us, that has been private K-12 for kids at demanding academic school and a new boat that kept all the kids coming to our house ( live on a lake). Chinz on everything else that you can.
Pete Devon says
Automate, delayed gratification and most important, know thyself.
Look at your parents, their friends, people in the magazines/press/blogs, co-workers and pick the best financial habits of each to build your own path to happiness. Don’t compare yourself to others if they have habits that don’t fit your financial style. Make saving fun and always look for new ideas. Find a spouse who has similar beliefs. Enjoy life and be happy though, being frugal is important but life is short too.
Don’t spend money unless it is going to the benefit of making more money from it. That simple.
You only earn so many dollars in your lifetime. Make sure you get the maximum potential out of every dollar.
Best saving advice is to just start, even if it is only a few dollars per week.
Andrew G says
Try to keep track of your spendings for a few months. Easier to track with free apps like Mint. With a couple months of data, separate your mandatory vs discretionary spending. Then try to cut the fluff(increase gradually with time), make a budget and stick with it. Remember to pay yourself first. What gets budgeted gets saved.
I set up an online saving account and transfer money there regularly. Given I don’t have a debit card for that account, it takes time to get money transferred back to my B&M bank, which helps reduce withdrawals and grow savings.
The best savings tip I have is to pay yourself first. When I setup my investing account for the first time, I turned on automatic transfers with the correct amount of money going from my chequing account to auto purchasing low cost index funds. Best thing I ever did.
D. Davis says
Don’t assume that any expense cannot be reduced, or managed better. Recent examples from my family:
1. Cell Phone Bill – For 5 years now I have had an additional phone on our plan for my in-laws, who are in their 90’s. The always had a landline, but as they are still fairly active, we wanted them to have a mobile phone, and they are not technically inclined enough to manage a phone via the internet. I finally took a look at their usage, and discovered they were barely using it. Turns out my sister in law gave them a phone too!! Called the sister in law, picked the cheapest option (hers it turns out), and now I’m saving $30 bucks a month, and the in-laws still have a mobile phone.
2. Cable bill – This has been an aggravation of mine forever, the ever escalating cable TV bill (bundled with landline phone and Internet Service). After 4 years of price increases, I finally had enough. I had looked at Roku, Hulu, etc. before, but seemed too complicated, too many “gaps” in stations, and technically complicated. After our bill increased to over $200 per month, I decided we had to try it. After a bit of research, I landed on Hulu via Amazon Firesticks, 100Mb internet service, and Magic Jack. I admit, I didn’t have high expectations, but I have been pleasantly surprised so far. Spent $200 on Hardware, got a month free of Hulu Live TV, and we are saving over $70 per month on what we paid previously. I should have done this a couple years earlier.
Before you think an expense can’t be lowered, do the Research!!!!!!!!
My best tip for saving money is probably to begin by just tracking your regular expenditures and see what that nets you. Expand from there and start cutting to find your optimal level of spending and saving.
The best advice is to pay yourself first and invest in low cost mutual funds.
Matt Spillar @ Spills Spot says
Wow, that’s a lot of comments! Haha. My favorite tips for saving money are:
1. Track your expenses – When you track your expenses closely, you’ll quickly see spending patterns emerge, this lets you analyze whether you’re spending money on what you truly value and find areas to cut back on, which often leads to saving money.
2. Negotiate your bills – Don’t just pay for something because “that’s what you’ve always done” or because “that’s how much it costs.” Think creatively, make a few phone calls, and negotiate your bills.
Thanks for doing this giveaway ESI, really cool idea!
Buy gift cards to stores I typically go to for additional discounts
For me it’s automation… If you don’t see the money coming into your account you’ll not want to spend it.
Sign up to your company’s pension so that comes out at source. Automate you bills (ensuring that you’ve negotiated cost down first) and then work out what you won’t ‘miss’. Set up a standing charge to take that money out on pay day and put it directly into another account.
Jeff Flynn says
I use my cashback credit card for everything – groceries, utilities etc – its free money (if you pay off the balance each month)
My best saving tip is to start tracking your expenses. Once you know how much you are spending in certain areas (groceries, eating out, entertainment, clothes, travel, etc.) you will know where to start cutting. You can trim your expenses little by little, all the savings can be funneled to a new savings account. Once you have enough in the new savings account, start investing it. You will love how much your little bit of savings has grown over time!
The key to becoming a multimillionaire is to start saving early (in your 20s or earlier if possible), living well below your means, maximizing the amount that can be invested with each and every paycheck. Don’t fall prey to “hot” investments tips, attempting to time the market, or panic selling of investments during market corrections.
After learning about FIRE and jumping the bandwagon. We did Two things:
1. Save first, spend next. We save a designated amount of the net income first and then consider the income remaining for our monthly expenditure. We spend less out of that money. ie there’s more to save by the month end.
2. Optimum and judicious spending. We have said NO to regular outside food, we take home food to work, day care and wherever else we can. Cutting down on cable, unsubscribing from magazines larger phone and internet packs (which are beyond what needs to suit our needs), basically being pound wise helped.
Have a ‘wishlist’ or wait at least 30 minutes to buy something in a store. This will help prevent spur of the moment shopping. By waiting, you will be more sure that you want the item in question.
It’s all about want vs need. Due to renovations in my apt, I have been living out of a suitcase for a month sleeping at other peoples houses, I realized all I need is a suitcase worth of belongings to get by!
Determine how much you can afford to save each month/pay period and automatically save/invest it as soon as you receive your paycheck.
I think that a lot of positive and helpful things have already been said so, I guess I’ll just add my two cents and try to keep this brief. I have always considered saving the more important component to the ESI equation, I guess my view comes from the fact that I work for the government and I knew going in expecting large salary increases and rapid promotions were not going to happen. With that said, the job for me is the best way I can earn a living and balance life and health.
Given that I may earn less over the course of my career, I decided early on that I would out-save my higher earning private sector counterparts and let compounding do my heavy-lifting. As, I was always told you don’t keep what you earn but, what you save.
I am 32 and have been consistently investing every year for 10 years. I do it in the following manner:
• Keep costs down and live below your means.
• Save 15-20% in my 403B plan (our version of the 401k) in an index that tracks the S&P.
• I contribute fully to a Roth IRA every year
• I live off of 40-50% of my net pay and save and invest the rest. (this works for me but it doesn’t have to be the recipe for everybody. Watching your savings rate and investing consistently is just as important. I just want to squeeze out as much savings as I can out of my pay.)
• As others have mentioned automating your savings is critical. I invest index funds, dividend stocks, and even invested in a rental property for a few years. Regardless of what route you take on your investing journey I strongly believe; setting and hitting goals along the way is also needed. Having milestones along the long road helps keep me focused and keeps the process engaging.
Lastly, I would like to add that the things I and others have mentioned above, are important to me. However, what’s more important is having a save first mindset. Saving and investing is not a chore its honestly something I like to think about and do. Saving and investing is part of my lifestyle; just like exercise is for others. Some find exercising regularly and eating healthy as natural as breathing I am not one of those people, but, I acknowledge its importance and work on it every day. Conversely committing myself to investing is like breathing to me its not an elective action; I must do it and more importantly, I enjoy the activity.
In conclusion, investing is important and should be done but, its more important to understand why you want to do it and how doing that specific activity (investing in stocks, funds or real estate) will get you to your end goal, whatever that may be.
Mindset is key.
Vegas Baby Guide says
-Automate savings into specific goals via Qapital
-Max out the 401k
-Perform secret shops for Dining out
-Work towards only living off half your income
-Never use cash for travel and use credit card reward points
-Stack discounts for groceries
-Negotiate car repairs and everything else
-Meet once a month with spouse to review budget
1. “Spend Less”. Meaning, when ever you have to buy something, evaluate the price to value and be reasonable in your “needs”. Do you really need the most expensive version of an item or can you be reasonably happy with a less expensive version.
2. The easiest way to make money is “your money making it’s own money”. Use the saved money from spending to invest in assets that produce passive income.
Kelly Greiner says
I believe the best tip is making saving automatic. We have automatic deductions to our 401K, IRAs, savings account, 529s, and mutual funds. This way we get used to living off of what comes in to our checking account.
I see that a lot of people advocate for Amazon and Amazon Prime shopping which I also do. I look at it as a significant time and frustration saver. I would add to this by recommending using the tools Honey and Wikibuy to your web browser for your Amazon shopping to see price trends and if you are going to be paying the lowest price. Amazon pricing fluctuates and there are often cheaper options. If you are not in a rush or patient you can also use CamelCamelCamel to give you price alerts when your item hits a target price.
I save automatically, and have convinced my kids to do the same – both my husband and I put 15% each in our 457 each paycheck then 10% into an online savings that I’ve frozen the debit card for in a glass of water. So in total we save 25% while aggressively paying off the mortgage we accrued when buying the house we now live in from his mom. At ages 30 and 32, my kids have both maxed out their 401K’s each year for the last couple years as well as saving towards buying a house with cash – so proud that my son at age 30 will hit that goal next year.
I use coupons every week when we go shopping. I take all the money I saved on coupons, and put them in a coffee can. I use that money to take the family out for dinner on special occasions, pay for vacations, and even had enough to buy a new snow blower (over $800). My average savings per year cutting coupons is about $1000
Pay yourself first and live below your means. Look beyond the ever present messages of consumerism, more stuff does not equate to more happiness.
ESI, your blog has been a tremendous source of honest, unbiased information. Incredibly difficult to find elsewhere in our consumption based economy.
I have a lot of saving practices I use in my everyday life but here are 2 of my favorites:
1. Compounding interest – I keep all the $5 bills I get into a jar and tally them up per month. Usually, it goes up to a $100 and I couldn’t even feel a pain in saving because it felt automatic and a $5 bill doesn’t seem like a lot of money when tucked away alone.
2. Christmas gift shopping all year round – I list down all my friends and family that I want to give gifts to each year and when I find a good deal (even if it’s on February) related to the gift I’ll give them, I buy it! It doesn’t seem like a lot of money when I gradually buy my gifts throughout the year but when November – December comes, I don’t spend hundreds of dollars because my Christmas shopping would be 80% – 90% done by then.
Track your spending monthly, and review where you are putting your dollars. You’ll be amazed at what you’ll find!!
Michael J. says
Eat at home rather than restaurants.
Devan Jones says
It is my opinion that an excellent way to save money is…(now hear me out and give it some thought, because it is unheard of I’m sure)…whenever you arrive at home take all of your cash, change, credit cards, and debit cards out of your wallet, purse, pockets and off your person. Leaving only $20.00 dollars, and put the rest all in a drawer where you can find it.
If you are not carrying the means to spend money unnecessarily and only have $20.00 for an emergency, you will save money. There is no problem with window shopping, it’s free and you can think of all the pros/cons of buying whatever you are looking at. Just give it a day or two before you decide to go buy it, then you can take the time to look online to see if you could buy it cheaper someplace else.