For some people, the concept of saving money is extremely daunting.
Between paying bills, maintaining a healthy social life, and finding a little extra cash to take a vacation, there’s not a whole lot left to throw into a savings account, let alone invest in anything.
However, that mindset is far from the truth for any income, and changing the way you choose to see your money and the habits that result can provoke a significant financial breakthrough.
We spoke to a handful of financial experts to get their top tips for saving money without sacrificing quality of life.
These simple hacks will likely save you thousands per year and you probably won’t even notice the fact that you’re spending less.
Leave Your Wallet At Home
Brandon Ackroyd, founder of money-saving site TigerMobiles.com, suggests simply leaving your wallet at home – you can’t spend money if you don’t have any cash on you.
And no, not when you’re meeting friends for drinks or heading out on a first date.
“Whenever you’re carrying cash or your card, then the temptation to just duck in somewhere to grab a coffee or an ice cream can quickly rack up your monthly expenditure, eating into what otherwise could be transferred to savings or invested elsewhere,” Ackroyd says.
“Leaving your wallet forces you to be disciplined and you are more likely to stick to your budget and spending plan rather than splurging on a quick snack because you are ‘starving.’”
Repurpose Old Clothing
Throwing away old clothes is not a sustainable – or economical – practice. Instead, Stacy Caprio suggests repurposing your old garments or even setting up frequent clothing swaps with friends.
She also suggests really thinking about your purchase before dropping any cash.
“Buying clothes that are ‘perfect’ for you and wardrobe staples has a huge impact on the money flowing out of your hands.” she says.
“One or two new outfits a month can rack up £100-300 or more in cash lost, and simply being more intentional with how and when you purchase brand new clothes can save you thousands over the course of a year.”
Unplug Unused Tech
This one may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised by how many unused electronics you may have plugged in.
According to Adina Mahalli, MSW, and writer for Maple Holistics, when something is plugged in but not being used, it’s still using standby power.
“The standby power only will cost you about £1 a year, per device,” she urges.
“But if you think about how many devices you leave plugged in while you’re sleeping or while you’re at work, you’ll quickly realise the number is higher than you imagined and that could mean flushing a lot of money down the drain for no reason.”
This simple habit could end up saving you hundreds of dollars in power, and it’ll be better for your devices in the long run, which saves you even more in maintenance and upgrades.
Go On A Cash-Only Diet
When asked to name one of the easiest ways to save money without realising it, David Flores Wilson, certified financial planner and editor of Planning to Wealth, suggested going on a cash-only diet.
“One of our clients saved a ton of money by paying for everything in cash,” says Flores Wilson.
“The act of going to the ATM and forking over cash for every single purchase (yes, even his rent), made him scrutinise every single purchase, and he ended up cutting expenses by about 20%.”
If you find yourself spending without thought, this could be a great challenge to implement – even just for a month.
You’ll be surprised by how much less you’re willing to spend spontaneously when the dollar amount is right in front of you.
Keep All Receipts for 30 Days
Shopping and trends expert Sara Skirboll’s approach is slightly different.
She suggests buying what you want – but keeping the receipts for the length of the store’s return policy.
“If after 15 to 30 days, you have not worn or used that thing you couldn’t live without, take it back,” she says.
“Thirty days is more than enough time for that thing to become an invaluable part of your life, and if it hasn’t done so by then, I’m sure you will agree that you’d rather have the money.”
She also says the only exception to this is if you find a screaming deal on an item that you use anyway, such as laundry detergent or underwear, and buying that product will actually save you money in the future when you don’t run out.
Don’t worry about saving the receipts on those types of purchases!
Brown Bag Your Lunch
Most people know that takeout can often be expensive, but it’s one of the easiest money-saving hacks that we let fall through the cracks.
What you may not realise is just how significant that sum can become if you’re eating out often.
The cost between a “reasonably-priced” restaurant meal and a brown bag lunch made at home is staggering.
Don’t Do It All On Your Own
According to Dacia Grimes, CPA and financial planner, it takes a village to get your finances in order, suggesting that it’s best to share as much as possible.
“If you own a home and you have a basement, get a roommate. They will help pay for your mortgage. If you live near a colleague, consider carpooling.
If you need a specialised tool for a home improvement project, rent it from your local hardwood store instead of purchasing it.
You may never need it again and you don’t have to worry about ongoing maintenance costs,” she says.
“With my friends who have children, we have ‘swap’ date nights where one couple will have all the kids while the other couple gets to spend the evening out kid-free.
The next week we swap. This saves on babysitting costs.