How to Save Money: The Ultimate Guide

how to save money

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Learn how to save money and live a debt free and a financially secure life along with your loved ones.

Why do you work so hard at your 9 to 5 job or your business? Why do you skip some of the best moments from your life like birthdays of your loved ones?

To get a raise at your job and a promotion or to earn more profits,so that you can pay for your improving lifestyle – to clear your debts – or to save more money.

But that comes at a cost. The cost of losing special moments in your life. Or losing the essence of life totally.

They say, money cannot bring you happiness. Some may argue that you can buy things with money to make yourself happier. I am not telling you to throw all your money in to the garbage bin and live a hermit’s life in the wilderness.

I am not telling you to stop spending altogether to save money. But surely, you can be more happy and contended by doing some small alterations in your current lifestyle- Setting financial priorities which will help you live a good and fulfilling life.

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What stops you from doing those adjustments? You have burdened yourself and in fact your family with things you thought would make your family happy. I hope you get my point. I am talking about living a debt-free and a fulfilling life by saving money.

I know its going to be difficult to live such a life. I found it difficult too in the beginning. But trust me, it kind of brings you an inner peace. Material-wise you may not be rich, but when it comes to Happiness and Savings in your bank account, you will be. d

Chapter 1: Getting Started

“That man is richest whose pleasures are cheapest.”
— Henry David Thoreau

The journey to learn how to save money is not as tough as you think it might be. It is however obvious that there will be certain questions in your mind.

The common ones will be “When to begin?”, “Why to save money?” and “How to begin?”.

When to begin? – The answer to the former is NOW!

Why to begin saving money?

  • For a Debt free life
  • Vacation to an exotic destination
  • To Pay all Bills without worries
  • To Pay College tuition
  • To start your own business
  • To Achieve Financial freedom through wealth creation

How to begin?

how to begin saving money?

This is where most of us get stuck. Many people do not even know how much they have in their savings and checking accounts. At the end of the month, they wonder where did all the money go!

You might ask yourself, “Why couldn’t I save any money?”

It is necessary to know where does your hard earned money goes and it is very easy to know.

To get started with your savings journey you need to follow some necessary steps:-

  • Step 1: Make Note of all your income sources
  • Step 2: Track your Expenses
  • Step 3: Categorize your Expenses into ‘Vital’ and ‘Trivial’
  • Step 4: Cut all Trivial Expenses
  • Step 5: Minimize your Vital Expenses
  • Step 6: Check your Progress at the end of the first month

how to save money each month

Step 1: Make Note of all your income sources

If you get your weekly paycheck or a monthly salary, you must note down the amount. I do not recommend you to spend any money on a budgeting software, instead, download a free application on your computer or your cellphone which will do better work than most expensive software available for this purpose. But the good old pen and paper is enough for this exercise.

So, getting back to the point. You can keep a note of all your income sources and add the amounts. That will be your Total Income.

Your Total income will not consist of taxes which you are bound to pay to the Government. Make sure you minus that part.

Step 2: Track your Expenses

Once you make a note of your income sources and add all amounts, you will get an idea of how much can you spend in the entire month.

Now in this step, you must note down your expenses on a daily basis. The expenses can be written roughly, do not use difficult financial jargon as yet, which will put you off later.

For Example:-

Date : xx/xx/xxxx

Electricity Bill: $79.36

Groceries: $15.75

Coffee: $5

Total: $101.11

Hope you got the idea. Since you are not the only person spending money in the house, you need to involve everyone in this exercise. Involving your family members in your journey of saving money will make sure that all are on the same page.

This is a month full of tracking.

Every day when you get up, be ready to note down your spending and before going to bed, make a total of all the expenses during the day.

On the last day of the month, you will get data on the amount you spent during the entire month. This data is raw but crucial for the next steps.

Step 3: Categorize your Expenses into ‘Vital’ and ‘Trivial’

This might require some hours of work, but it is worth every second spent in categorizing your expenses.

I studied Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto’s rule, which I put into practice a lot while developing my personal finance strategies. The Pareto Principle or 80/20 Rule states that,

“For many events, roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes.”

Through this rule, he tried to explain that 80% of land in Italy was owned by 20% of the population.

It can be applied to many other things, and however generalized it might sound, it is true!

You will ask, how in the good God’s world it is related here?

Well, as far as money management goes, 80% of expenses are caused by 20% of things. These 20% of things will be one or all of the following:-

  • Home mortgage payments
  • Car Loan payments
  • House Rent
  • Power Bills and other utility bills
  • Groceries

You won’t deny that these are your major expenses too. These expenses are ‘Vital’ and you cannot let go or may be you can. Much about it in the later steps.

Here in this step, you have to categorize ‘80% of these expenses which are caused by 20% of heads’ as VITAL

The other 80% of things which makes a hole in your pocket but can be easily let go, categorize those expenses into TRIVIAL

Step 4: Cut down on all Trivial Expenses

This might seem depressing at the start, but these are expenses which are not necessary or are as the category says TRIVIAL.

Trivial means “Of little value or importance” according to the Oxford Dictionary.

Drinking branded coffee is just one example of such an expense. Some call it frivolous expense or ‘Careless expense’ as it might really not be cheap but can make you some dollars poorer at the end of the month.

I will suggest you to cut down on all such trivial Expenses.

It might be hard for you to do that. Killing habits cultivated over the years is not an easy task. You need a solid willpower for this.

But trust me, it is worth it. Since the ultimate goal is to be happy and get inner peace by saving money. Try to get rid of those habits one by one.

IF you can’t, find cheaper alternatives.

For Example., if you crave for a smoke, you can chew bubble gum instead. Although, it will give rise to another frivolous expense, getting rid of smoking habit is necessary as it is not only bad for your pocket, but also for your lungs.

Set a deadline for yourself. Also try to explain to your family members that why it is necessary to cut these trivial expenses.

At the end of the month, see how much you will be able to save because of your dedication to you mission.

Step 5: Minimize your Vital Expenses

This step goes along with the Step 4.

In this step, you need to make strategies to minimize your Vital expenses.

Initially, you might think these expenses are hard to cut. Yes, they are. But not impossible.

If you can find ways to save money with regards to your vital expenses and devise some strategies, you will find it easy to implement.

For Example., House Rent. This is a vital expense which you can minify by looking for a smaller home in the area where you live or relocating to an area, where the rent is comparatively lesser.

Another example could be of searching for coupons online before purchase of groceries or other essential VITAL things.

Once you are familiar with your VITAL expenses, you can find creative ways to save money with regards to them. Sit with your family members and discuss on each expense. Brainstorm. You will surely find some ideas.

Like, a friend of mine seriously wanted his power bill to halve. So, he called his wife and his kids to discuss. Even his 5 year old kid was coming up with ideas to reduce their power bill. He said, “Mommy needs to dry her hair with a towel!” The kid was referring to the Hair dryer which he sees his mommy use very often. He made a good point. After all, what did our forefathers use to dry their hairs? Towels!

Although he couldn’t halve his power bill, there was a significant difference in the bill for that month when compared to the previous month.

Step 6: Check your Progress at the end of the first month

After following all the steps 1 to 5, you need to check your progress at the end of the first month.

The first month is crucial, as it sets a benchmark for your savings. In the subsequent months, you will try to beat your own score so as to say.

In this step, you need to find out how much you saved in the first month. This can be done by adding the expenses of both VITAL and TRIVIAL categories.

Then, Subtract the amount from your Income. The difference between your Income and your total expenditure will be your savings.

You can also dive down and find how much you saved for each individual Expense head. This can be done by checking last month’s data. But the requirement here will be to note your expenses for at least 2 months so that you can do the comparison.

After all, it is you who can control your savings. Once you know that you have saved more money in the bank than the month prior, you can set a savings target every month.

Reward your family members for helping you in the mission of saving money. This way, you will keep them motivated and charged.

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Chapter 2: Money Saving Strategies – How to Save Money Fast?

“Never spend your money before you have earned it.” – Thomas Jefferson

This chapter will cover the various saving strategies which are effective. There are people using these strategies to save money fast. You must implement some or all of the strategies so that you can save money fast.

Setting Goals – How to save money each month?

In order to curb your expenses and increase your savings, it is necessary to set Goals.

Goals can be short term as well long term goals. You can incentivize your goals in order to start motivated savings. It will be helpful if you write your goals and display them.

A short term goal can be for instance can be something like saving $50 at the end of this week. When the goal is reached, you can buy yourself a coffee.

A long term goal can be for instance buying a car or a house after a certain number of years. For this, you require money to be kept aside every month preferably in a bank account with a lock-in period which provides interest on your savings.

Some goals will be more urgent and important than others. Some not at all important.

You can prioritize your goals with the help of an Eisenhower’s Urgent-Important Matrix.

An Urgent-Important Matrix is a great tool when it comes to prioritize tasks, but here we can apply it for our savings goals as well.

Goals can be categorized into:-

1. Urgent and Important

This goal can be to set aside money for urgent and unexpected bills like an urgent visit to a doctor, or repair and maintenance of say a leaking roof or expenditure in case of car breakdown or paying for parking tickets every now and then. This is priority work.

2. Not Urgent but important

This goal involves setting aside money for your own development. For example, for improving your skills so that you can earn more and eventually save more.

3. Urgent but not Important

This goal can be something which is urgent but not important. Like setting money aside for cable and phone bills or gym fee. They are urgent because on non-payment the services will be stopped. But not important because you can do without cable or phone or gym.

4. Neither urgent nor important

Try to keep as minimum for this goal. In fact this is not even a goal. This can be money set aside for impulse buying. Although you might control yourself and save money, there can be someone from your family like your kid who found a toy which he wanted. And you could not hurt his or her feelings.

Urgent Important Matrix for savings

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Savings as a Teamwork – How to save money from salary?

This strategy is to involve the entire family in the savings mission.

It will be easy to save money when all the family members are on the same page. Even children can be taught the importance of savings at a very early age through anecdotes and stories.

In the evening sit together and discuss about ways in which you all can save money. Each one can put across their suggestions and ideas. Even kids can bring some innovative ideas to the table. So make sure to hear them.

On reaching a certain savings goal, you can reward all your family members with something like dining out or going to a movie. This will keep all of you motivated.

So, again, without teamwork your mission to save money is going to be a nightmare.

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Set a Personal Budget for each member

Personal budgeting is an exercise where each family member will set the target amount to be spent for a particular period of time like a day, a week or a month.

Since children do not earn, their income will be through allowances and at the end of the month, they too can boast of savings from their allowance. So make a budget for your children too. Do not enforce it on them. Rather, involve them in the exercise.

Following a budget after making it is sometimes a difficult thing as there are some emergency expenses which will break your budget. So, make sure you allot some money in your budget for emergencies.

I have written a detailed article on how to make a personal budget along with a downloadable personal budget excel template which you can use.

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Put a cap on your spending – Ways to save money on a tight budget

One popular rule is the 50/30/20 rule which is recommended by many of the personal finance experts. The rule allows you to keep 20% of your earnings for ‘Savings’, 50% to be spent on essentials that is ‘Needs’ and 30% on ‘Wants’ like Shopping, Hobbies, dining, entertainment, etc.

This depends on which part of the world you live in. If you are living in one of those expensive cities, then the money spent on ‘Needs’ will be more. Here may be your 60% of your earnings will go towards your essentials, while you can cut down on the ‘Wants’ part and save 20%.

Wherever you may be from, do not compromise on the savings part. In fact, try to save more than the 20%.

If you are living in an inexpensive area, then you can save more. I would recommend save 25 to 30% of your income.

The strategy here is to put a cap on your spending. Surely you can reduce the expenses on frivolous things. You decide how much you want to save. At the end of the year, you can have a nice looking number in your bank account.

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Rewards and Penalty Jars – Creative ways to save money

This strategy is to keep motivated, all the stakeholders in the savings journey. The strategy consists of keeping two jars clearly labelled as ‘Rewards Jar’ and Penalty Jar’.

As the name suggest, ‘Rewards Jar’ is where every time a savings goal is achieved, you can put a dollar in the Rewards Jar. At the end of the month, you can open the jar and count the money which you can rightfully spend on anything you like. Be it on a Pizza, or a movie.

The ‘Penalty Jar’ is of course for penalties. If you spend unnecessary on things or spend too much, then put a dollar in this jar. Someone has to be in charge of enforcing the rules. Rules must be same for all the family members. The money can be saved in a savings account, if possible with a lock in period.

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Teach Children the value of money – How to save money for kids?

Children today are smart and they know that in order to get things you need to pay for those. Children watch their parents pay for the things purchased for them. They also see their parents go to work and that is how they bring money home. So, teach your children the value of money.

You can give your children some allowance. You can ask them do some chores and reward them for their hard work. That will make sure that they learn the value of hard earned money. Ask them to spend money wisely.

The key here is to practice what you preach. Children are likely to emulate your spending habits. If you live a frugal lifestyle, children will learn it from you and try saving money from their allowance. You can also explain to them that the money saved can come handy whenever there is an emergency.

Encourage your children to earn their money by selling old toys through a yard sale or help them sell online. Let them start a lemonade stall or a simple Art and Crafts stall. This will inculcate entrepreneurship in them in a very early age. Most of the successful people started young. Of course, be with them as a strong support.

You can help by opening a savings account for your child where you can deposit allowance money. The money can used for a better future of your children. Also your child will become a better money manager by the time he or she becomes and adult.

how to save money for kids?

Do not stop them from buying their favorite toy from their saved money. Teach them the first rule of spending money, that is ‘Never spend money before you have earned it’.

When you make a budget for your children, make sure you keep aside some money every month for your children’s future.

Find out how much you can save with our Savings for your children’s future calculator:

It can be for college, seed money for their business or for their wedding expenses. It is never too early to start and you can start saving for your child’s future right from the time he or she is born.

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No Spending day once a week – How to save money each week?

Keep one day of a week when you will not spend a dime on anything. So, you will have four days of a month of savings.

Find out how much you can save in a year by observing ‘No Spending Day’ once a week with our ‘No Spending Day Savings Calculator’.

This needs a little preparation where you will keep groceries in your kitchen and other essentials a day before.

Another thing which comes to my mind here is encouraging you to plant and grow fruits and vegetables to eat particularly on the ‘No Spend Day’. This is going to be a fun family activity nurturing the plants in your garden and the sense of achievement will be priceless.

Cook your own food, cut down on the costly entertainment and spend time with your family at home. Turn off the AirCon. Minimize the use of cellphone for the day. Switch off lights when you leave your room.

If you are at work, pack your lunch and control on your caffeine urges. If possible walk to work and back home. Do not spend money on shopping for anything.

Find one thing lying around in your home which you do not use. Arrange a Yard sale or Sell it online. This will add some money to your kitty.

One way of saving is earning some spare cash. If it is available at the comfort of your home, it is an advantage. You can take surveys online and participate in research to make some money online. If you are good at writing or typing you can earn some money in your spare time freelancing.

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Chapter 3: Money Saving Tips

80 money saving tips

Saving on Needs – How to save money on Groceries?

Before we dive into learning how to save money on groceries, I would like to emphasize on the importance of a healthy and a balanced diet.

Most of the guides on the internet tell you to eat less to save money or not eat at all. But this is not good for your health. Also, you will be spending much more you had saved on medical costs.

A balanced diet is necessary for your body or else your body and all the organs will not function properly. Nutrition from a balanced diet keeps you healthy, provides your body with energy and helps you sleep better and work better to earn and save money.

Then, how to save money on groceries and eat healthy?

Here are 10 tips:-

1. Organize

Keep your food storage and your refrigerator organized and stick post-it notes on your refrigerator to note down which food items are less.

2. Make a List

Make a list before you go shopping for groceries so that you do not spend unnecessarily on items already in your pantry.

3. Menu

Plan a menu for the week. You can then shop for groceries according to your menu for the week. You can then afford to have some special menu on Sundays for example.

4. Buy in bulk

Buy groceries once a week so that you can buy in bulk. Bulk buying can be cheaper than individual buying plus you save on fuel costs to travel to the market.

5. Use discount coupons

Search for Discount coupons online or download money saving couponing apps to get discounts on your grocery shopping.

6. Look for offers

Look for cashback offers or deals on grocery shopping. Do not fall for offers like ‘Buy 2 Get 1 Free’. Only if you need three, buy it.

7. Buy generic

Buy generic branded food items and you will be able to save more. It is sometimes difficult to leave brands altogether, but you can start with staple food items first.

8.  Shop lower than eye level

Shop from the bottom shelf. You will find cheaper items there. At eye level you will find expensive alternatives.

9. Make your own snacks

Buy your own baking supplies and bake your own cakes, cookies, and other snacks for yourself and your kids.

10. Stop wasting food

Another important but mostly ignored tip to save money on groceries is NOT TO WASTE FOOD. Use the Penalty jar for enforcing this.

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How to save money for students?

For a student, bulk of the expense is from buying school supplies like textbooks, educational software and reference books. Other expenses can be from food and transportation. Here are 10 tips to save money for students.

1. Save on House Rent

If the question ‘how to afford a house while in college?’ worries you, I will suggest you to share the house rent with some of your friends. It might sound difficult to share space, but over time you will get lot of support plus you will save money.

2. Buy used textbooks

A new textbook will cost a lot. So, buy used textbooks from some one you know. You can buy use textbooks online.

3. Save on transportation

Travel by public transport to school. Get a daily commute bus or rail pass so that you have to pay less fare. Buying your own vehicle will be a burden on your wallet as it requires fuel and maintenance.

4. Cook your own food

Eating out is an expensive affair. Learning how to bake and cook is a life long skill. So cook your own food and pack your lunch to school.

5. Use open source software 

A student has to write essays, dissertations, theses and other project papers. There is a lot of drafting involved. You can use various open source software like Google Doc, Sheets and Slides or OpenOffice for making documents, spreadsheets and slide shows, GIMP for image editing and free cloud storage like Google Drive or Dropbox.

6. Free Reference Books

A deeper dig will get you many free reference books for your study. This is indeed helpful as you do not have to spend a fortune purchasing reference books. You can also visit your school library and borrow reference books. Do not buy a $300 reference book unless extremely required.

7. Squeeze out all the paste

This is a tip for those students who are tight on budget. After squeezing out paste from a tube, there will be two to three days worth of paste inside. So squeeze out all the paste. Same can be done with shampoo, conditioner, moisturizer etc.

8. Work Part-time 

This is more of an earning tip. You can work part time to earn some money to pay for your expenses. One way is to go to any store or office and drop in an application. If they need a hand, they will hire you. The other money making route is online. You can write for websites, take surveys, become a virtual assistant on Fiverr or Freelancer.com.

9. Take advantage of Student discounts 

A college ID is all you need to get student discounts for educational software, libraries, museums, hostels, etc.

10. Optimize your phone bills and data plans

If your cellphone talk-time plan is costly, find cheaper one. See if there are any student plans. Use data only for your studies at home or while traveling. When in college, you can connect to your college WiFi for using internet.

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Save money by Cutting the Clutter

There are things which are not necessary and are burning a deep hole in your pocket. You might have overlooked these before. If you have, I suggest take this seriously and cut the clutter.

Here are 10 Saving tips by eliminating things you do not need:-

1. Cancel your unused subscriptions

If you have subscribed to endless premium membership sites, newspapers, magazines, etc., I suggest you cancel your unused subscriptions. This way you can save hundreds of dollars per year.

2. Cancel your gym membership

There are various free YouTube videos on fitness and various free websites providing fitness training tips. Many exercises do not require equipment. Same goes for Yoga. Subscribe to one or more of the Youtube channels and work out at home on your own.

3. Cancel your cable subscription

NetFlix, Amazon Prime, Hulu and many other options are available today. Gone are those days when you had to scroll through numerous channels to find TV shows you like. So you can altogether cancel your cable subscription.

4. Fire your help

Find some time and do cleaning of your house yourself. Divide chores among your family members and devote a day for major household work.

5. Quit Smoking and Alcohol

If you are addicted to cigarettes or alcohol, its better if you quit it. Cigarette smoking is harmful and an expensive habit. Alcohol is not any better.

6. Quit junk food

Junk food is not good for your gut and even for your wallet. Obesity is one big problem and is a result of eating junk food. So eat healthy home food and save money.

7. Go Paperless

Use mobile apps to keep notes, reminders, etc.

8. Get cheaper cellphone and internet plans

You probably do not need the plan which you use right now. Check for a month, how much you actually need. Then ask the company if they can provide you custom plans. IF not, change the operator company.

9. Sell unused items

May be you bought a violin thinking you will learn it but eventually lost interest. You can sell such items online or locally and de-clutter your home.

10. Sell your vehicle

You can take advantage of the public transportation and also eliminate maintenance and insurance costs which you have to pay after a period of time. Plus value of vehicles depreciate every year. By selling your vehicle, you will save money spent on fuel too.

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Save Money on Energy bills

Being one of the ‘Vital’ Expenses today, Energy bills takes away a sizeable chunk of your income. But since you can cut down on it, consider the following tips to save money on Electricity and other Energy related bills.

1. Unplug electrical appliances when not in use

Even when turned off, all electrical appliances like your TV, Microwave Oven, Washing Machine etc, draw electricity. It is called Vampire electricity or Phantom Electricity. This adds to your power bill. So make sure to unplug all electrical appliances when not in use.

2. Unplug charged Electronic devices

Once your cellphone or your laptop is charged, unplug it. Keeping your charger plug in will overcharge your device and reduce the life of your device battery.

3. Use LEDs

LEDs are now cheaper than ever. So take advantage of the numerous benefits they provide over CFL or other light bulbs. They save energy and hence your money not only on electricity bills. They need replacement after a long period of time.

4. Heating and Cooling

Both options are costly. Cooling during summers and heating during winters can cost thousands of dollars of bill per year. Set a cutoff temperature for your Air Conditioner so that after reaching to a certain temperature, it stops. See if you can stop using Acs and Heaters altogether to save on energy bills unless you live in a very cold place.

5. Let your computer sleep on its own

Change the power setting on your computer so that it sleeps after a certain period of time when not in use. Since computers can be on almost 12 to 14 hours per day, putting it to sleep during breaks is a good idea to save money.

6. Turn of lights when you leave your room

This is a good habit to inculcate. If you do it, your kids will follow suit. So make sure you turn off the lights when you leave your room.

7. Install smart wall switches

These smart switches are connected to a WiFi network. Therefore you can control your usiness with the help of your smartphone even if you are away from home. This helps you to save some electricity by not keeping electronics on stand-by.

8. Minimize use of water

Pumping water requires electricity and hence do not keep the faucet open when you are brushing your teeth or shaving.

9. Keep adequate ventilation

This will reduce your electricity costs. Keep your house properly ventilated and you will get fresh source of natural air too.

10. Install solar panels

Sun is a renewable and free source of energy. Installing solar panels on the rooftop can help you reduce your electricity bills. In some countries you get subsidy on solar panels. Check before buying if it is available in your country.

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Save Money while you are traveling

Many entrepreneurs travel frequently for work and for business meetings. Most of them are small businessmen and businesswomen. While many travel just for fun. Usually, when you are on a budget, you will find tough time traveling as per your liking. Here are some tips for saving money while you are traveling.

1. Buy tickets directly from the airline website

You can get better deals on airline website rather than some flight ticket aggregator website as they charge commission on your ticket. If you can call the airline customer care, they can give you a good offer.

2. Pack toiletries when you leave home

Since these things can be expensive at your destination, make sure you pack your toiletries with you before traveling.

3. Use government authorized cab service or ride-share service

Once you reach the airport, you will be surrounded by local cab drivers who may charge you a lot of money to drop you at a destination. So go to the airport help desk and ask if there is a government approved taxi service to get charged reasonable fares. You can also research before hand if there is a ride-share service available.

4. Use Bread and Breakfast or a Hostel service

You can plan your travel ahead and book a Bread and Breakfast room service at your destination through a bread and breakfast room aggregator website like airbnb. There are hostels available for cheap for budget travelers in every major city of the world. It is cheaper than a hotel and you get to taste local cuisine.

5. Rent a bike, motorbike or a car

If you want to save money on transportation and you want to explore the place on your own, then you can rent a bicycle, motorbike or a car as per your preference.

6. Use public transport

When you travel abroad, you are unsure about some dangers of traveling alone. So it is a safe, wise and an inexpensive option to travel by public transport.

7. Try the local street food

Eating at a restaurant can be expensive and many a times you do not get the taste of the local cuisine. So try local street food which will also help the local economy.

8. Haggle when you shop

When you are abroad, you are unsure about the prices of souvenirs or other goods. Most stores will sell you counterfeit products. So if your gut feeling says that the price is not worth it, bargain for a lower price.

9. Use free Wi-Fi for internet

When you are abroad and want to check your emails, it can be an expensive time consuming process to get an internet connection. So, use free WiFi at cafes, airports, malls, etc.

10. Walk, walk and walk

When you walk, you not only save money on transportation, but you also get to see more places. You can then find local cheap places to eat and explore free tourist attractions like museums, parks, etc.

Also read: 8 Travel tips to Save Money

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Save Money while shopping

For some shopping after a daylong work is like a therapy to relax mind. But it is kind of expensive sometimes. Here are some tips to save money while shopping.

1. Keep your credit card at home

Every time you swipe your credit card, you are borrowing money. That is not a good strategy. So, always remember ‘Earn first, Spend later’.

2. Say NO to impulse buying

When you go shopping, there are many unplanned things which you buy and then regret. Whenever you feel like buying something impulsively, ask yourself whether you really need it.

3. Plan your shopping

Before stepping out of your home, plan your shopping and make a list accordingly and more importantly- STICK TO IT.

4. Research and compare prices before buying

If you can do your research before buying, it gives you an ample time to compare prices online. Secondly, you can decide to either buy it from online store or from a brick and mortar store. Read reviews, ask your friends and then make a decision.

5. Look out for coupons or cash back offers

There are various online sites and applications, which source coupons from around the net. So, look out for discount coupons and cash back offers before purchasing anything.

6. Wait for sales offers

If you want to buy something which is priced high, wait for sales offers. Each year, there is a sales offer for a certain number of days. The discounts can be well over 50% off.

7. Off season shopping

If you want to buy something which is seasonal, the best strategy is to purchase it during the off season, when the demand is lesser than during season. This however makes no sense for perishable goods.

8. Eat before you go shopping

On an empty stomach, we tend to make wrong shopping decisions. Also, we are tempted to eat outside which can be expensive. So always shop with a full stomach.

9. Do not fall for peer pressure

Your peers will try to pressure you into buying things which may be you do not need. The best strategy here will be to give a blind eye and a deaf ear to them

10. Do not buy until you really want to buy

While shopping, sometimes we get too bored to make a decision, so we take what is available. This leads to wastage of money. Therefore, until and unless you really want it, do not buy it.

Also Read: 6 Smart Tips to Save Money while Shopping

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Save money and the Environment too

We need to save our environment so that our children and their children can enjoy it. So here are some tips by which you can do both.

1. Reuse old things

Instead of buying new things, we can find ways to fix old things and use it for a longer period of time.

2. Recycle

Although, recycle and reuse are used together, they mean different things. Recycling means collection of used materials which are processed to make newer products like glass decorations. Things lying around can be recycled and used for children’s school projects.

3. Used goods

Purchasing second hand goods is good for the environment as it not dumped into garbage. You get the goods at half the market price and you use it for some years before your sell it.

4. Walk when you can

Walking is encouraged whenever possible. It is healthy and saves money.

5. Ride a bicycle

Bicycle riding helps in reducing calories and reaching destination with money saved on fuel and maintenance of a vehicle and hence no harm to the environment.

6. Use renewable sources of energy

Solar energy and wind energy can be used to make your own electricity and keep your home cool saving you thousands of dollars.

7. Biogas

Popular in India, this is a renewable source of energy. It is produced from manure, agricultural waste, etc and is a good alternative to cooking gas.

8. Plant your own food

Planting your own food can help you save a lot of money on groceries and food. Also it is environment friendly.

9. Go vegan

Vegetarian diet is Eco-friendly and cheaper than meat diet.

10. Eco-friendly laundry

Washing clothes in cold water and with lesser detergent can save some money. Dry your clothes on the line not on clothes dryer.

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Save money in an extreme way

Well, in this part, I am not suggesting you anything, but telling you the ways in which people save a lot of money.

1. Cut your own hair

Fire your barber and save money. Although you will require to invest money buying two mirrors and a pair of scissors, it’s worth the money spent as it is one time.

2. Make your own gifts

This is not a weird idea, because many people love handmade gifts as they have more personal touch. It’s a good money saving tip.

3. Stitch your own clothes

This is also not a weird idea but it requires skill to needle work. Stitching your own clothes gives you the freedom to choose the best cloth and then make your own clothes.

4. Buy from garage sales

You can buy furniture, clothing, jewellery, household items and even a car from a garage sale. You tell the price.

5. Live in a tiny home

Some homes can be as tiny as 200 square feet. Good for a family of 3 and with foldable furniture, you can use every inch of the home. These homes are a revolution.

6. Eat at a Gurudwara

Gurudwara is a Sikh religious place of worship where people of all religions are welcome to savor on free vegan food in community dining halls called ‘Langar’. The food is of good quality and tastes well. Encourage you to donate something to them.

Langar community dining

7. Sleep in your friend’s closet

This is a super weird money saving tip. But I know someone who does it in New York. But I will not recommend it.

sleeping in a closet

8. Staycation

Staycation is staying in your own area and exploring it. Useful, when you feel like traveling but are short on cash.

9. Use your parents’ clothes

In some eastern cultures, mothers give their belonging and even clothes to their daughters.

10. Indian jugaad or hack

It is an Indian way of saving money. Jugaad shows how amazing things can be made with available things. It is kind of recycling, but Indian style.

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Chapter 4: Saving for the future

“The future depends on what we do in the present” – Mahatma Gandhi

Yes, we cannot change the past but we do have the future in our hands and that very much depends on what we do in the present.

Every penny saved is going to help you shape your future.

Why is it important to save money for the future?

There are various benefits of saving money for the future like

  • Emergency fund
  • Financial freedom
  • Vacation
  • Debt free life
  • Comfortable Retirement
  • Dream home
  • A Safe future for your children

Emergency fund

“Despair is often the offspring of ill-preparedness” – Don Williams Jr.

Testing times do not come knocking at the door. You have to be prepared for that. One benefit of saving enough money for the future is that it provides for emergency situations.

Some money must be kept aside each month only for emergencies. That amount should not be touched otherwise. It could be a natural disaster like a hurricane or some medical emergency.

Financial Freedom

Who doesn’t want to achieve financial freedom in life? The day when you know you do not need to work anymore for anyone else. That can be achieved by investing for the future.

Your regular savings may get you to accumulate sufficient money to become financially free. Make your savings automatic by giving standing instructions.

You can invest your money in safe options like Certificate of Deposit(CD) or Fixed deposits(FD) where you get a fixed rate of interest.

But in order to get financially free earlier in your life, you need to invest your saved money in high risk high returns avenues like stocks or mutual funds where you can earn compound interest. But I must add a disclaimer that you can lose your principal amount if the market condition is not good. This must be a long term investment to see good returns so you must start investing early in your life.

Find out how much you can gain by planning a monthly deposit compounded annually with our Monthly Deposit Interest Calculator.

Vacation

After taking numerous staycations, you can take a real vacation with the money you saved. Think about the Bahamas, Budapest or Bali. You deserve it.

Debt Free life

A debt free life is an achievable dream. Many lose hope due to a lot of debt. With your savings, you can clear all your debts. Once your debts are cleared, all your saved money can go towards wealth creation.

Comfortable Retirement

One cannot work all lifelong. So it is necessary to provide for yourself, even when you do not have an income source, especially post retirement. Setting aside some money every month for retirement purpose is necessary.

You must not touch that money whatever might be the reason. In many countries, the employer is obligated to set some percentage of employee’s salary as an investment for retirement and contribute an equal amount to the fund. Be it 401(k), Provident Fund or any other retirement scheme.

But, apart from that, you must have your own retirement fund by investing money if you want to maintain your current lifestyle after retirement.

Dream Home

If you are willing to buy a house, you need to save aggressively as real estate prices are ever increasing and you can at least afford the down payment. Moreover it is not impossible to buy a home from your saved money.

If you get a bonus at work or you have made some extra money from side gigs, make sure you save in a separate bank account meant for only this purpose. It is a long term savings plan and if you devotedly stick to it, you can buy your dream home with your saved money.

A Safe future for your children

Right from the time your children are born, you can set some amount aside for their future in a bank account. It can be for their college expenses, or for some entrepreneurial venture. Saving for the future of your children is indeed necessary. You can open a bank account for your children and deposit allowance money.

Saving $20 per month can save $4320 by the time your child becomes 18 and that too without any interest. Even if time value of money is considered, the amount will still be significant.

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Chapter 5: Why can’t I save money?

In the initial chapters I have mentioned that saving money is ‘Easier said than done’ thing. There may be various reasons why you could not save money. Here I will try to explain why and also provide you solutions.

1. You did not make a personal budget

In the second chapter I explained the importance of personal budget. Without making a budget, it will be difficult to save money. Even if your budget is not at par, it is still necessary.

While making your budget also keep in mind to make sure that you make a provision for saving some amount say 20% before spending.

Set aside money for vital expenses like rent, mortgage payments, car payments, monthly bills, etc.

From the remaining amount, divide it by the number of days in a month, and you will get a daily spending limit.

2. You lost track of expenses after a few days

When you start tracking expenses daily, you go on doing it for a few days and then you get so overwhelmed that you either lose track or completely stop tracking your expenses

Like every good habit, this habit takes time to grow on you and soon you will find it easy and a fun activity to track your expenses.

You can take help of a mobile app if you find tracking your expenses difficult.

3. Unforeseen circumstances

You started saving money and then one day suddenly, you had to spend it all.

For this reason, you need to make an emergency fund equivalent to at least three to six months of your salary.

This will make you ready for any unforeseen circumstances so that you don’t use up all of your savings.

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Final Words

Here’s what you need to always remember:

“He who buys what he does not need steals from himself” – Swedish Proverb

Your older self will thank your present self if you start saving today.

future self will thank u

So do not spend money on frivolous things. Save for your future and maintain the lifestyle you live today even when you stop earning money.

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