Bottom line, saving money is tough.
Today, I am going to show you 12 easy ways you can start saving money right away.
Let’s face it, we have all been there.
Saying things to our friends like, “I can’t go out, I need to wait for payday.”
This is not fun and it seems like more and more people are having too much month at the end of their money.
There is hope!
Yes, cutting cable and cutting back the shopping spree occurrences are the most logical first steps to cutting back on your expenses but they are not the only places.
Living paycheck to paycheck is rough but what’s even worse is if your bills are taking all your money then you aren’t able to save for anything- such as saving money for travel or building your emergency fund.
After speaking with tons of personal finance professionals, they all say the same thing.
If you track your money correctly, there are places that even the tightest budget can save on.
Here are a few unique ideas on how to save money for travel.
1. Cut out drinking
This one I am sure is an obvious money sucking occasion but it can be hard to admit and cut back.
If I would have learned this 10 years ago, I think I would have already paid off all student loans a long time ago.
I feel slightly ill when I think back to all the money that I blew when I was young and going out partying all the time.
Was it fun?
Was it expensive?
Did I really need to go out every weekend?
Do I miss the hangovers or better yet, waking up in the morning cringing, afraid to check my bank account?
This does not mean that you need to live under a rock but there are options to make it a little cheaper.
Draft beer is normally quite a few dollars cheaper than bottled.
Not a beer drinker?
Hit up bars and restaurants during happy hour. Almost every place has decent happy hours these days that also include house wines and house made cocktails.
Just shop around your area a bit.
Invite friends over.
It is way cheaper to invite some friends over and have everyone bring something.
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2. Car pool
With big trucks, gas guzzling SUVs and the average commute distances increasing each year, gas prices are becoming more and more burdensome.
When filling up costs $40 a week, that adds up to a hefty bill quite quickly.
In an effort to cut back on the gas price, see if a co-worker lives near-by.
Taking turns driving to and from work will be able to save money on gas (for both of you) but also wear and tear on your cars.
Plus, if you agree to carpool, chances are you are friendly enough to start an actual friendship.
If nobody from you job lives near you, you could always become a part time Uber driver.
Think of it this way.
We have all had to give a person a free ride to work or at least heard of someone’s car not starting in the morning.
This happens all the time.
They still need to get to work but have no way to get there. They are only left with ordering an Uber to work as a last stitch effort.
Now, you are having to drive to work already.
You are already going in that direction so it is no inconvenience for you to pick someone up and take them to work- in fact, it makes the drive better because now at least your gas has been paid for.
Say you do this to and from work Monday- Friday.
Round trip you make about $10.
Suddenly, that is an extra $50 you didn’t have before and you didn’t have to go out of your way to earn it.
I have had part time jobs at hair salons in the past.
I cannot believe the amount of money that girls (and guys) drop on their hair.
Now if you can afford a $300 haircut and color, that’s great for you.
For those who cannot, I beg you to please stop.
When you are having to put your haircut on two separate credit cards and still have to pay partially in cash, you can’t afford it.
Getting a hair cut in general is a necessity; but getting your roots done or highlights is not.
Getting your hair color-treated is a luxury, especially when you can get a haircut down the street at the much more reasonable place and they also do a great job.
It would pain me when I would see people come in and get their hair done and have to split the payment between cards or even worse, their cards would get declined.
Do yourself a favor, for now get the cheaper cut, nobody will know the difference and save that money towards something else.
4. Start a blog
I know, I know.
Almost every blog you read about saving money or making extra money has a “start a blog” section.
To be honest, it’s true.
Now, I don’t want to send any false pretenses though.
Can you make money with a blog?
Yes- you can make a ton of money actually.
Are you going to write your first blog post and then cash a $100,000 check?
Sadly, I’m going to say probably not.
Blogging is a ton of work; but it can also be a ton of fun.
If you like writing at all, I highly suggest that you give it a chance.
Or if you’re on the market for a new hobby.
I was never a “hobby person” honestly, I never considered myself a build a model airplane type, but blogging has turned out to be such a great experience.
5. Earn cash back
Now before I go any further, please remember that you should not carry a revolving balance on your credit card… ever.
It should be paid off each month.
Now, with that said, there are tons of credit card programs that offer an insane amount of points for travel or straight cash back when you use their credit card.
This is called credit card gaming.
This skill comes with a little more technique than just swiping and racking up a huge credit card bill but it seems as though there are two types of people in the world.
Credit card users and cash payers.
For years, I would see people making purchase with their credit cards and I would just assume that they “couldn’t afford” whatever they were buying while I was paying cash.
As it turns out, the old saying rang true- don’t make assumptions.
Years and thousands of dollars later, I learned what these credit card users were doing-they were saving money to travel.
It’s called Credit Card Gaming.
Here’s how it works and how you can do it too.
Credit cards are notorious for offering deals and points to encourage people to sign up for their services.
For a long time, I honestly thought this was a bit of a scam. Until I met my friend.
Let me tell you this quick story:
We would go out to dinners, the movies and shopping and I noticed that she always put everything on her credit card. Bewildered, I eventually asked why she charges everything when she makes a decent salary and can easily afford to pay cash.
Her next words stunned me.
“I use my credit card because that’s how I rack up points to go on trips for basically free.
I use my credit card to buy everything and then I just pay it off each month.“
I was shocked.
Not only was she buying everything that she wanted but she had managed to travel to overseas as well as many continental trips for basically nothing.
I decided that I had to get in on this action.
After she explained it to me (a few times) I went home and researched.
Certain credit card companies offer points if you spend a certain amount of money and you can redeem those points for free flight vouchers, hotel stays or even a check in the mail.
This is how you hear of people getting flights for “free.”
They aren’t actually free; they redeem their credit card points for airfare but they don’t spend anything extra.
They go to dinner as they normally would. Order what they would typically get but instead of paying with a debit card; they pay with a credit card that offers some kind of benefit.
Now, I have to disclose, if you do decide to travel for “free” it is vital that you pay off your credit card each and every month.
You do not want to go into credit card debt trying to find the smart way to save money for your trips.
6. Open bank accounts
While in college I would do this all the time.
I would do some research and open bank accounts just so that I could get the opening gift of $100 or $200 dollars.
Then, if you refer a friend, you both can get an additional sum of money.
It worked out great!
We would find banks that would offer these specials, then put some money in a savings account (this was so we could collect the tiny amount of interest they offered) and keep the cash in the account for a couple of months and then move on to the next.
It’s not a long term money making plan, but if you’re in a pinch it’s an easy and creative way to make a few bucks.
Better yet, if it has a high interest in the savings account, it might be beneficial to leave a few bucks in there to collect the interest.
This is by far my most favorite way to save money (and make some extra side hustling cash).
Recently, Airbnb has become a much more commonplace practice.
When traveling for work or pleasure, local Airbnb rentals are the best option to get the most bang for your buck.
They are typically much more relaxed and there is everything you might need because you are in someone’s home.
If your host is there, they can give you the scoop as to the best places to eat and the coolest stuff the area has to offer.
Getting a person’s honest referral is much better than a random Yelp review. (especially if it’s split between 1 stars and 5 stars)
On the flipside, if you are looking for ways to make extra cash and you have some spare space in your place, you can rent out your home temporarily.
People are now able to make thousands of extra dollars each month just by simply welcoming people to sleep in their what used to be “the never used empty spare bedroom”.
The best part about renting out a portion of your home is the money but it is also 100% scheduled around your calendar.
If you only want people staying there while you are in town, you can arrange that.
Or, in the reverse, if you travel a lot and want to rent it out while you are away, that can be done too.
It is whatever you feel most comfortable with.
Don’t have an extra room but you have a backyard treehouse, RV or fancy tent?
These “homes” are popping up all over the Airbnb hosting page.
8. Saving apps
Saving apps are basically the next generation of couponing
No longer are you having to get up early on Sunday morning, get the paper and sift through hundreds of ads to see which coupons you might actually use.
My favorite app for coupons is Ibotta.
Recently, it has become quite popular.
If you haven’t downloaded it yet, you need to.
I use my Ibotta app mainly for ordering Ubers. In the last six months it has saved me about $75 in Uber fare.
You can also redeem from just about any local grocery store or convenience store.
For regular cash saving, I am a huge fan of Stash Invest.
From what I hear, Stash is similar to Acorns but Stash also has free education that they offer. They send emails updating you to the latest trends, what you should be doing with your money and overall general money information.
9. Cut subscriptions
These get everybody.
I am a fan of the fun packaged subscription boxes you can get in the mail just as much as the next person, but frankly, it’s probably wasting your money.
Do you really need that little bottle of cologne, tiny nail polish or the trial size new beef jerky flavor?
Let me give you an example of a texting conversation I had the other day with my best friend.
Him: Are there any Audible books that you would like?
Me: No Why?
Him: I forgot I’ve been paying each month and now I want to cancel. But now I have all these credits and not enough books to buy.
Me: Sure then, I guess I’d like the Broke Millennial, please.
Now, as much as I like free random surprises, paying $15-$20 a month on accident is a huge waste; and unless you are watching every single penny going in and out of your account, it is an easy amount to overlook.
10. Reusable water bottles
Ditching soda and grabbing the regular bottle of water that you buy when you stop at gas stations is not being as healthy and responsible as you might think.
Sure, refueling and staying hydrated is super important; but how you do is also a factor.
Depending on where you live and the brand of water you buy, a bottle of water can be about $5.
That’s $5 for something that you can walk into almost any fast food restaurant and ask for a cup of water and get it for free.
Let’s not even bring in the fact that it takes an empty water bottle 450 years to decompose in a landfill.
So a water drank by our great great great grandparents back in year 1.568 is finally decomposed.
Instead of going through the hassle of stopping and having to pay for water, rather get a nice reusable water bottle that you can take with you wherever you go.
These water bottles are usually bigger so they hold more water and you can stop to fill them at water fountains or ask someone nicely behind a counter and I’m sure they would be happy to help.
I am not the recycling police but I don’t want to think about the landfill situation for our great great great grandchildren.
11. Pack a bento box
Buying lunch during the week can rack up money very quickly.
If lunch is about $10 a day, suddenly that’s $50 a week for a sandwich wrapped in paper or a burrito made in a truck.
Rather pack your lunch.
Bento boxes are a great way to save money and eat healthier.
Some people dread the idea of packing a lunch. It really isn’t so bad.
If you grocery shop with your lunches in mind, preparing can be a quick, easier and dare I say, fun thing to make and then look forward to at lunchtime each day.
Even if you pack your lunch four times a week and treat yourself on Fridays to the food trucks outside of work, that’s still a $40 savings each week.
On a monthly basis, that’s an easy $160 savings that you can put towards retirement, debt payoff or even saving for a vacation.
Click here to purchase your bento box and start saving money.
12. Cut down on paper towels
I will not lie to you, I love paper towels.
I don’t know what it is.
I like the feel, the convenience of it sitting right on the counter, the idea that it’s always a clean sheet.
I get it; but paper towels are just as much of a waste of money as buying bottled water.
Especially if you consider that the “good” paper towels are not cheap and you are literally paying for something that you put in the trash.
So in an effort to cut back spending, I do not use paper towels as often as I used to and when doing thing like wiping down the counter or cleaning a window, I actually save the paper towel for two or three uses.
I simply wipe the counter and then put the towel in the sink to dry for the next time. Or if I use one to clean a mirror, I just put the paper towel away with the cleaner fluid so I can use it again next time.
I also have started ripping the towel to use only an amount that I need.
Before, I was very wasteful and would use way too much.
Believe it or not, doing small things like this has cut back my paper towel usage a ton.
In my younger years, I was able to go through a roll of paper towels in a day, now I have cut back to the point that I can stretch a roll for almost 10 days.
This is huge!
I estimate that here alone; I have saved about $20 a month just in cutting this small thing back.
There you have it!
Twelve super easy ways that you can cut back your spending to help you save money.
In some cases, some of these steps can even help you make money.
All of the ideas on this list are able to easily be adapted into your daily routine and should immediately help you get back on budget and be able to save a decent amount in no time.
Once you are in the groove, you will be surprised.
Saving money can be addicting and you will start re-evaluating where you can cut back in other areas so that you are able to save even more.
Have you already tried any of the tips stated above?
How did it work out for you?
Was it easy to start and keep going?
What other ways have you found to save money?
Leave your ideas in the comments!