You’ve had a financial wake-up call and are ready to start making necessary changes in how you manage your finances. For many of us, this requires us to embrace frugality in order to earn more than we spend. Let’s be honest: being frugal isn’t exactly easy for those of us used to buying what we want when we want it.
If you are new to frugal living, you may feel overwhelmed. The good news is that it isn’t as hard as you think. Follow these simple money-saving tips below, and you will see your debt decrease and your savings increase.
1. Stop Buying Stuff Just Because It Is Cheap
Frequent cheap purchases add up quickly, and if you aren’t paying attention, can become extremely expensive. It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you can shop in the dollar aisle at Target, but that $1 vase can quickly turn into $30 worth of cheap stuff that you don’t need. If you are aimlessly spending money on cheap stuff you find in the sales asile, you are spending more than you should.
Here’s a good rule to remember–just because something is cheap doesn’t mean it is wise to spend money on it.
Use Empower to Curb Your Bad Habit
Empower is the perfect money-tool for the newly frugal. This app provides budgeting and money management tools that help you easily take control of your finances.
Not only does it track your spending, but it also offers you smart financial recommendations (such as suggesting where you can cut down on spending). The app makes it easier to understand your money so that you can make empowered financial decisions.
Download the Empower app to take control of your finances and spend more mindfully.
2. Pay Your Bills On Time
Paying your bills on time is critical because debt costs money! The longer you take to pay off your debt, the more money you are losing due to interest charges. That’s why it is crucial to pay your bills on time and to pay off your credit card balance each month.
Pro-tip: turn on autopay and never miss a payment. You’ll never pay a dime in interest or late fees.
Pay 0% Interest on Your Credit Card Debt
Got credit card debt? Then you know the interest rates are killer. What you might not know is that a balance transfer credit card will reduce your interest payment to 0% APR for 12-18 months (actual APR will depend on your credit score).
Plug in your credit card debt information here at Credit Land, and they will compile a list of Balance Transfer Credit Cards that work for you. What’s more, the report will compare interest rates and repayment plans. You can make an informed decision about which credit card is most useful for you (i.e. the card that asks for the smallest interest payment).
Head over to Credit Land and take a look at their Balance Transfer cards and pay less interest.
- Related: Lower 11 Ways to Save Money on a Low Income
3. Get Free Money-Saving Apps and Collect Bonuses
Since you are trying to spend wisely, it makes sense to try to save money while you are spending. There are a variety of apps that reward you with cash back or free gift cards for shopping in stores and online. Plus, many of these apps give you a welcome bonus just for signing up!
- Ibotta – Ibotta gives you cash back when you shop online or in store for everyday items, such as groceries and pet supplies. Download the free Ibotta app (+ grab a $20 welcome bonus), snap a pic of your receipt, and get free cash.
- Dosh – Dosh makes it easy to earn money without even thinking about it by linking your debit and credit cards to the app. Download the free Dosh app (+ grab a $1 welcome bonus) and earn money while you shop and dine out.
- Rakuten – Rakuten (formerly Ebates) is a browser extension that helps you find coupons and lets you earn cash back at more than 2,500 stores. Download the free Rakuten browser extension (+grab a $10 welcome bonus) and get some easy money.
- Swagbucks – Swagbucks is a fun, incentivized app that allows you to earn points by shopping, completing surveys, and searching the web. Then you redeem the points for gift cards to popular retailers. Sign up for Swagbucks (+ grab a $10 welcome bonus) and start earning points.
- InboxDollars – InboxDollars is a website that gives its members several different ways to save money and earn a little extra through online shopping, reading emails, completing surveys, and more. Sign up for InboxDollars (+ grab a $5 welcome bonus) to start earning cash for your regular online activities.
4. Lower Your Bills ASAP
Statistics suggest 80% of people overpay on their monthly bills. This is why it is important to review your paid services and subscriptions, and then try to negotiate to get your bills lowered. It should take a simple phone call to get your bill lowered, but companies are very good at delaying an answer and transferring you to a supervisor. But who has time for that? There’s an app for it.
Take a Bite out of Your Bills with Billshark
If the thought of spending hours on the phone negotiating to get your bills lowered fills you with dread, let Billshark do all the negotiating for you. It works to find the best monthly deals for you, so you don’t have to. They guarantee savings, or you aren’t charged a fee for their services. If your bill is lowered, you get 60% of that newfound money, plus, new users receive a $25 in Reward Dollars as a welcome bonus!
Sign up with Billshark, lower your bills, and collect your $25 in Reward Dollars.
We waste a ton of money when it comes to electricity. One of the best ways to lower your electricity is to be mindful of how much electricity you use. Make it a habit to turn off electronics and lights when you aren’t using them.
However, you can also lower your electric bill by visiting ElectricityRates.com, entering your ZIP Code to see if another company can provide cheaper rates.
Energy costs are at historic lows, so visit ElectricityRates.com to see how much you can save each month on your utility bill.
5. Frugal Living = Boredom. Find Things to Keep You Busy.
Unfortunately, when you start living frugally, it means life can get boring. Your entertainment budget will plummet (but for good reason as you boost your financial independence). I’m not going to lie–this will seem hard at first. But, if you look for things to do in your free time that don’t cost you anything, you’ll be amazed at how much is out there. Use your boredom wisely.
- Walk – You’ve cut your expensive gym membership, but you need to stay healthy. Now’s the perfect time to place a bet with Healthy Wage. If you lose weight, you earn money. All you need to do is eat less sugar and walk. And a little money on the table could be all the motivation you need to take action.
- Head to the library – When was the last time you visited your public library? They aren’t the stuffy places of the past. Today’s libraries allow you to borrow tons of free resources, including books, ebooks, audiobooks, digital music, movies, video games, and more.
- InboxDollars – If you find yourself wasting hours surfing the web, put your boredom to good use and sign up for Inbox Dollars. You’ll get rewarded for taking surveys, watching videos, playing video games, and reading emails.
- Get Better At Your Career. Use your free time to grow in your career. Learn a new skill that will make you stand out (or learn that skill you’ve avoided learning). You can learn a lot on YouTube.
- Related: 7 Frugal Habits of the Super Rich
6. Find a Side Hustle You Enjoy
If your job isn’t paying quite enough to satisfy your budget or pay down your debt, it’s time to consider working a side hustle. Did you know that nearly half of Americans have a side hustle to help cover their expenses? There is no shame in it. If you have extra time and the skills, you can turn your time into money.
Get Paid Shopping for Others
Instacart is a grocery delivery service that allows you to get paid to shop for someone’s groceries. This job is in high demand right now due to COVID19: high risk people cannot go to the grocery store. Try working as an Instacart shopper (there are no set hours), a deliverer, or both. In addition to your Instacart payment, you’ll also receive tips.
Sign up with Instacart, deliver groceries to people in need, and start earning.
Teach English to Kids in China
VIPKid is an online educational company that hires teachers to teach children English through their website. You get to set your own hours and can work anywhere as long as there is an internet connection. If you are a teacher or former teacher in need of some extra cash, this is a great option to earn $20+ an hour from the comfort of your home.
Sign up to teach with VIPKid to start your new education adventure.
Mark Mistakes with Proofread Anywhere
Do you know the difference between discreet and discrete? Use your grammar skills to help others; learn how to become a proofreader with Proofread Anywhere. These courses teach proofreaders how to supplement their incomes by teaching the basics of proofreading.
Enroll in a Proofread Anywhere course to learn the skills you need.
7. Master Your Budget
Your ultimate goal is to master your budget and for your income to exceed your expenses. Instead of spending what you don’t have, you’ll be mindful of your spending and stick to your budget. This means knowing how much money you are bringing in and understanding how the money is going out–and making sure you don’t spend more than you bring in.
“Help me stop being poor!”
Here are the facts. The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. There’s no way around it.
So what does this mean for you? It means you need to either decrease your expenses or increase your income.
We want to help you do both. Join our 6-day Savings-Account Accelerator Workshop. We’ll send you expense-lowering tools and techniques (and even a few tips on how to boost your income). These frugal-living hacks will help you accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
When you can spend less than you earn, your money will grow. You will build your savings, pay down debt, and save for retirement.
Join our free 6-day Savings-Account Accelerator Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.
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Save More Money! Read these next…
- 7 Bad Habits That Could Be Making You Poor
- 42 Hacks to Live Frugally on One Income
- 5 Lazy Habits of the Super Frugal (you should copy)
No Money in the Bank?
If you struggle to save money, it’s because you don’t know how to do it. Start growing your wealth every month with our 6-Day Free Workshop.
Michelle Salater is a freelance finance writer with a passion for personal finance education. When she’s not in front of her computer, she’s reading biographies and exploring remote areas of the world. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC.