01Delay Impulse Shopping
See something you have to have? Go home and think about it. Give yourself 24 hours to decide if you really have to have it. 72 hours is even better. I've saved myself hundreds of dollars this way, and you know what? My life is just as satisfying without those things that, at the time, I thought I just had to have.
Have fun with this rule — it's like the "time out" you use for kids. It helps put a pause in place when the impulse shopping urge kicks in. If you engage your friends and family they can even help call time out for you.
02Seek Low Cost Substitutes
If you're an avid book reader, try a trip to the library instead of the book store. If you're a golfer, substitute one tee time a week for a trip to the community driving range. The important thing is not to give up the things you like! Instead make small, occasional substitutions that will save a little bit here and there. The little things add up over time.
03Skip the Favorite Store
Years ago I realized I spent hundreds of dollar each time I walked into WalMart. I cut my spending in half by allowing myself no more than one trip a month.
Whether it be Target, eBay, or the hobby store, next time you're tempted to stop in at your favorite store, just drive on by. Instead of shopping, go for a walk, grab a cup of coffee, or read a book. Or if it's online shopping get in the habit of watching a favorite music video instead of shopping. The key to making this money saving tip work is building a new habit to replace the old one. Trust me, it's more satisfying to watch the savings account build up than the momentary pleasure you get from buying stuff.
04Downsize Where You Can
In his book A New Earth, author Eckhart Tolle talks about our tendency to identify ourselves, and our self-worth, by our things. Well, you are not your things!
The sense of self-respect you get when you make smart financial decisions is worth far more than the ego-centric feeling of driving the fancy car and wearing the latest styles. Evaluate lifestyle changes you can make. It might be your house, your car, your clothes — whatever it is, downsize where you can. Being financially secure is sexy at any age.
05Drive Less Often
Carpool or use public transportation once a week, or more if you can. If you're still working ask if you can have one telecommuting day a week. Instead of lots of trips, consolidate your errand running and plan it for times when there is not a lot of traffic. Even better, consolidate and carpool all at once by running errands with a friend!
06Scour Monthly Home Expenses
Do you really need call waiting, 3-way calling and all the other extras the phone company charges you for? Scour your phone bill and see if one or two of those extras can be turned off. Pay special attention to the cable bill. Extra channels can add up quickly when you're charged every month, year after year.
In addition, turn up, or off, the air conditioning or heater during the day. Yeah, it's not quite so comfortable when you first get home, but the savings will add up.
07Eat Out Less
Take your lunch once in awhile. Before you head out for dinner, try a glance through the pantry first, and see what creative meal you can come up with at home.
If you have to eat out frequently, skip the sodas and ice teas. Drinking water is not only better for you, for some who eat lunch out every day, this simple substitution will save well over $30 a month.
08Find and Use Discount Programs
With a little effort, you can pay 20 - 50% less for most of the things you buy. Like most things in life, time is money. If you're willing to put in the time, you can find discount codes and sales that save you money. It may take a little extra work, and quite a bit of patience, but remember, you're getting paid for your time to not shop retail with significant savings!
Warning — many people get lured into spending more because "it's on sale". This tactic is not to be used to buy things you don't need. It's a strategy where you plan out what you buy already, and find ways to get it for less.
09Cancel Gym Memberships
Health and fitness are priorities in my life and I believe everyone can benefit from regular exercise. So, if the only way you can commit to a fitness regime is through a gym membership, stick with it!
But if you're the self-motivated type, there are all kinds of fitness activities that don't require a monthly fee: walk, run, do yoga at home, buy a fitness video, do pushups, sit-ups, use exercise bands and a pair of dumbbells…
10Make Your Hobby a Business
My sister loves arts and crafts. She can't walk into the bead store without spending a few hundred dollars. She started making jewelry and now she sells it. She doesn't make a lot of extra money, but she earns enough to cover the cost of her hobby.
Other money saving hobby ideas? As I mentioned, I'm into health and fitness. I used to teach an aerobics class on occasion in exchange for a free gym membership. When I was into horses, I worked a few hours a week at the barn in exchange for horseback riding lessons.
Implement some of these money savings ideas now — and you'll be on your way down a path that leads to greater financial success!