8 Daily Disciplines To Help You Save Money

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Saving money seems to be the one thing that is always on everybody’s mind. Yet so many people still wish they had more money saved in the bank than they do invested in their closet or home entertainment system(s). So what is it that makes saving money so difficult and spending money so easy? The power of advertising is not to be underestimated, not to mention the temptation of swiping a credit card with the assurance of paying it later. Most of the time, however, our dollars go towards unnecessary expenses like brand name products, extravagant luxuries, restaurants, and laziness, but it’s nothing a little discipline and imaginative thinking can’t fix. Follow these eight rules to help yourself start saving money on a daily basis.

1. Eat at home, or pack a lunch.

One of the biggest daily expenses people tend to take on is what to eat for lunch and dinner. Often times it is hard to resist lunch out with coworkers or delivery when you get home and don’t feel like cooking. This will, however, run down your bank account rather quickly, so it might be wise to start making yourself a sandwich in the morning, and a banana or bag of chips to go with it. For easy, but healthy dinner meals, you can also invest in a slow cooker. You can make anything from chicken, to meatloaf, to pot roast with carrots and potatoes, and even dessert, all for a little extra time spent in the kitchen and less on the couch waiting for delivery.

2. Resist the urge to splurge – use the 24-hour rule.

If you are out and about and see something that you would really like to have, STOP! Resist the urge to buy it right then and there and go home and think about it for a day or two. You might change your mind, either because you realize you don’t really need the item or because it’s not worth the return on investment. This will easily help you save up to hundreds of dollars a month.

3. Don’t be fooled by brand names.

Brand-name products have the ability to trick you into buying them because they have the power of advertising, endorsement, and design (logos) behind them. This is also the reason why they are priced so much higher than the lesser-known names that, in reality, sell you the exact same product. Honestly, go take a taste test with a Dr. Pepper and a Mr. Pibb and see if the difference is enough to spend a few extra dollars on the former instead of the latter.

4. Check your hobbies.

It is always important to have a hobby or two to help ease your stress and take your mind off the workweek and other such activities. A hobby, however, can be a very expensive activity in and of itself, so be sure to consider a few alternatives. For example, if you enjoy going to the driving range or golfing, try using the local community course more often. Or if you enjoy going to the movies for the theater experience, make a point to wait a few weeks for the big releases to hit the discount theaters and go see them there.

5. Downsize

Going along with the idea of brand names, in order to save even more, you should also try to remain as humble as possible with your purchases. That could mean everything from driving a Nissan Altima instead of a Lincoln MKZ, wearing some gas station sunglasses instead of a pair of Ray Bans, or having a button-based cell phone instead of the latest smart phone from Apple or Samsung. Granted there is nothing wrong with showing off your success every once in a while, but nobody likes a self-absorbed hotshot trying to outdo everyone in the room, at least nobody with some sense of self-respect.

6. Use public transportation or a bike.

Even though gas prices are at an all-time low right now, spending a couple of quarters to use the bus instead of filling your tank every week can do wonders for your bank account. You can also do your part to help the environment and get some much-needed exercise by riding a bike or walking to work. Just avoid using too many taxis, or you’ll end up spending more than you would have if you drove yourself.

7. Use coupons and discount programs.

Smart phone users have access to countless apps like Groupon, RetailMeNot, and store-sponsored discount apps for companies like Target and Walmart to help them cut down on spending. Bu that doesn’t mean you can’t save money with coupons if you don’t have a smart phone. Look for coupons in the mail, on company websites, or even in the local paper, and start using them today.

8. Cut down on your monthly bills.

Another big expense people tend to take on is their monthly bills. Utilities like gas and electricity can turn into very pricey luxuries, so try to be more aware of your using them around the house. Be sure to have as few lights on as possible and turn them off when you’re not at the house. You should also consider wrapping your windows in the winter to avoid overworking your heater in the winter, and be sure your windows and doors are tightly secured in the summer when the AC is running. 

Benjamin Carnahan
I am originally from Cincinnati, OH and lived and studied in Chicago, IL for 8 years after college before coming to the Twin Cities. I studied Liberal Arts at Saint Xavier University and am a freelance writer for Goals.com. I enjoy art, literature, and the outdoors.
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