Table of Contents
1. Basic Principles of Saving Money
2. How to Save on Food
3. How to Save on Clothing and Household Items
4. How to Save on Pet Care
5. How to Save on Health Care Expenses
6. How to Save on Vacations
7. How to Save on Entertainment
8. How to Save on Home and Garden Expenses
9. How to Save on Fuel
Most of the world is struggling financially. Banks, small businesses, and families are going bankrupt. Food prices are way up. High fuel prices are causing the economy to struggle. People are unemployed, and foreclosure rates are alarmingly high.
In times like these, people are anxious to get and keep money. There is lots of financial advice out there. But often times, the advice to save more money is drastic in nature. People are actually doing crazy things in the name of saving money, like dumpster diving for free food, or traveling to a third-world country to have major surgery to avoid the high cost of US medical care. Solutions like these are not practical or easy for the average person, and may just drive someone crazy. What people need are some simple ways to save money. It is my hope that through this book, you learn just that.
Not every tip in this book will be practical for you and your situation. That is OK. Do not beat yourself up over doing every little thing suggested. If you have heart palpitations thinking of implementing one of these tips or are inconvenienced or stressed by trying one of these ideas, just skip it. Remember, these are supposed to be easy ways to save money.
I hope you enjoy learning how to save money the easy way!
The Basic Principles of Saving Money
It is impossible to save money without first knowing how to manage it. Sadly, many people do not know the first thing about how to manage money. They just charge things and get more and more into debt, or live paycheck to paycheck.
The good news is there is hope for your financial future. By using a few basic principles, you can save money and provide better for yourself and your family. You will not get rich by following these guidelines. But you will have more in your pocket each month to pay down debt, pay expenses you cannot control, or save for the future. Here are some very basic rules to follow to save money and increase income.
Do not buy things you cannot pay for.
We live in a society that values things. Everyone wants the newest Ipad, a huge home, a deluxe vacation. And there is nothing wrong with any of that, if you can afford it. But if you do not have the money for an item and it is not absolutely necessary, it should wait. The small amount of enjoyment you would get from a purchase made is nothing compared to the amount of stress you will have repaying loans or credit card debt for months or years.
The Bible says that the borrower becomes the lender's slave (Proverbs 22:7). Debt was seen as so negative in Biblical times that it was absolutely prohibited in ancient Israel (Deuteronomy 28:12). Don't become a slave. Stay away from debt. If you are already in debt, work as quickly as you can to pay it off by saving money and/or making extra income. Otherwise, you could find yourself in major financial trouble.
Shop Around When Making Purchases
Never buy something without first analyzing if you can get it for less somewhere else. Shop around, especially when making major purchases. "Count the cost" (Luke 14:28). Check with online and brick-and-mortar shops to see if you can find a better deal. If purchasing home improvement products, electronics, vehicles, appliances, or real estate, be sure to assess the quality of the item and consider things like warranties, and reputation of the manufacturer. I recommend doing a search engine query with the name of the item followed by "reviews," and discovering how the product worked out for others. If you buy anything over $5 that has been pre-owned, make sure the item can be returned if it does not work. For anything pre-owned, assess the condition and quality. Just because something is cheap does not mean it is a good buy. There is no use having a lot of junk lying around. It just piles up and makes your house look bad.
If You Don't Need It, Don't Get It
It is tempting to make purchases when you really like something, especially when the price is right. But if you do not need it or it will not significantly improve your life, don't get it. You will end up with things that you never use. Stay away from stores unless you have a specific purchase and budget in mind. Don't window shop. If you do see something you like, ask yourself how useful that item is. Odds are, you don't need it, and you should walk away. Remember this simple piece of advice: "when in doubt, leave it out." If you are in doubt that you need something, don't get it.
Have a Budget
It is easy to overspend when you do not have a plan of how much you have to spend to begin with. Make a budget. Write down how much income you get per month, and then decide how much you have to spend. Some categories are necessary, like housing, food, tithe, and utilities. Write down these spending categories first. Then, with the money you have left over, decide how much you can spend on extra categories, like travel, entertainment, and new clothing. Keep spending for these things to a minimum. Instead, use as much extra money as possible to pay down debt, save for the future, or invest.
A few good websites are out there to help you through your budgeting journey. Mint.com is a free budgeting software system. It works well if you are paid weekly or biweekly, or at the first of the month. It becomes difficult to use if, like me, you get one paycheck in the middle of the month. But if it works for you, then use it.
Many people follow the financial advice of Dave Ramsey and have great success. He has many books that tell you how to budget, save money, and save off debt. Ramsey recommends using cash only to pay for expenses. He suggests putting money from your different categories in envelopes, and using those for all expenses.
I like the envelope system, but find it difficult and a little unsettling to have that much cash on me at all times. For me, keeping up with large sums of cash goes into the "causes stress" category. I prefer the Crown Mvelopes system, which works the same way, except that the envelopes are electronic. The program can be tied into your bank accounts, credit card accounts, and loan accounts and you assign each transaction to a category. There is a free basic version, or you can pay a small quarterly fee to have an enhanced version with great features like reports, multiple accounts tracking, and goal tracking.
Whatever system you use, it is important to save money as best as you can. That is what this book is designed to help you do! Now, let's look at the main spending categories and how you can specifically save on each type of purchase.
Want to know more about saving? Purchase this kindle book for only 99 cents at: http://emilysherwood.webnode.com, or at the Amazon kindle store.