There are a number of ways to save money by budgeting, changing your relationship with money and altering how and what you consume. With a bit of planning you can save yourself hundreds or even thousands a year. It involves getting a tad crafty with hygiene products, prepping meals and eating out less , utilizing apps that lower your utility prices and making gifts instead of buying them. Even if you only take on a few of these tips you’ll be saving more money which you can put towards a house, holiday or investing (all things that give you a lot back.)
1.Buy Single Blade Razors
Single razor blades are a great way to save stacks on really expensive razor blades, you can get a pack of 100 blades for $3-6. I change my blade every two weeks but even if you change once a week, this will last 2 years.Single blade razors make it easier to cut yourself with but they also shave on the surface of the skin which stops ingrown hairs and irritation (essentially multiple blade razors lift a hair and shave below the surface of the skin so increase the chance of ingrown hairs.)
The key to shaving with a single blade is shaving cream and moisturizer. But they can be used for legs and faces effectively and save you a bundle on expensive razor blade replacements.
2.Make your Own Deodorant
Deodorant that isn’t full of horrible toxins can be expensive, but you can make deodorant cheaply that smells good and doesn’t do damage to your skin pretty easily.
The recipe is fairly basic:
2 parts cornstarch1 part Coconut oil0.5 part edible clay/ bentonite clay¼ part refined shea butter
A few drops of any essential oil
If you want the deodorant to set hard you can add the following (but it is perfectly fine as a paste)
1 part magnesium hydroxide½ teaspoon candelilla wax
It may cost a bit to get the ingredients but they end up making a significant amount of deodorant so you save in the long run.
3.Meal Prepping and Freezing Meals
One of my biggest money saving tips came out of the Covid crisis. I began ordering food from the supermarket and cooking large batches of food and freezing most of it. It saved me hundreds in buying food out. If you can set aside 2 hours once a week you can cook a large curry, bolognese or lasagna, a pie and a stir fry that will all last 2-3 meals. Freezing these can mean the rest of the week you have lunches and dinners sorted and all you need to do is defrost the day before.
If you have friends like mine that want to eat at fancy gastro restaurants where each portion can be so tiny, you can also have a ‘starter’ bite before. Before these outings I’ll eat at home before going out to dinner and will eat less at the restaurant which can save a ton if you eat as much as I do.
Making gifts for friends or family is a great way to save money. Adobe has a couple of great free drawing and painting apps (Fresco and Sketch.) I know many of you will say “ I can’t paint or draw” but the best thing about these apps is you can undo things and it is surprisingly easy to make nice art just tinkering. You can then get an A2 print of your work cheaply for $5-8.
If this isn’t your bag I’d recommend making candles, who doesn’t love a candle and it’s even more special because you made it. All you’ll need is an old jar or can (which you can cut off or leave in the jar) and some candle wax, you can get 1kg of Paraffin wax for about $8 and 100 wicks for $7 plus you’ll need to choose a scent if you wanted it scented, you can use essential oils which cost $3-7. 1kg of wax will make 2-4 candles so a few gifts at least.
5.Buy Gym Gear for Home Workouts
Thru Covid I also began working out at home. It comes with an upfront cost, about $100-300 depending on the gear you want, but $300 will easily get you a bench setup and about 190lbs. Long term it saves you on gym subscriptions after a year you’ve paid off your gear and you’re then saving. Also if you ever decide to go back to the gym your gear has resale value so the amount invested isn’t just lost like gym membership fees are.
There are other advantages to working out from home too. You can work out whenever you want and don’t have to wait for gear to free up. You can also set up a nice workout from your home environment (a la Netflix and lift) , it has saved me a lot of time commuting to the gym too.
6. Get Smart Plugs
Buying wifi enabled smart plugs is a great way to save on energy draining devices like laptops, tvs, projectors, coffee machines and other appliances. What you do is plug them into energy intensive devices that you leave plugged in (say ovens, dryers, tvs or microwaves) and set them on timers, most smart plugs have an app and so you can have them turn off from 10pm and turn back on again sometime in the morning. The bonus is it helps you track the energy consumption on these devices so you can work out which ones are costing you the most. Then you can limit the use of these devices or aim to switch to more energy efficient devices.
7. Sign up for a Bill Re-Negotiation Service
There are a number of services you sign up for that re negotiate your bills like: internet, phone, power, gas and many more.They can save you anywhere from $100-400 a year and you don’t need to do anything in order to get them working for you other than sign up. The top providers are BillShark, Billfixers and BillAdvizors.
8. Sign up for a Subscription Killing App
There are also services that help you to track and then cancel subscriptions you don’t use like TrueBill. These apps identify recurring spending like the trial for an app you forgot about and help you cancel them.
9. Use Apps that Fight for Cash off or Cashback
Earny help get you cash back when the price of something you bought drops (utilizing major credit card price protection policies.) Plugins like Honey find discount codes for a number of sites you may use and get you % off most websites.
10. Sign up for a Automatic Savings App
Setting up a designated savings account that you move money into when you’re paid is a good way to set aside and ‘forget’ about money you can save. There are also great apps (Acorns, Digit, Qoins, Qapital and Chime) that round up your spending and put it in your savings account. For example you take a Lyft for $11.23, these apps round up the purchase to 12 and put the $0.77 into savings.
11.Get A Cashback Card
The idea is not to spend more, but for your normal costs use a card that gets you cashback for say gas, supermarket expenses or others. Many credit card companies pay from 1-5% cashback on all your purchases. Just make sure you pay off your credit card in time and in full to not incur any costs. Also check the card’s fees and make sure they aren’t more than you’d get back in cashback.
12. Use Virtual Credit Cards
Virtual credit cards are a great way to save money and stay safe shopping online. The best way to use them is to generate a new card for every new trial subscription or purchase that way you use it once and then delete it. Many FinTech companies offer these including Wise, Divvy, Privacy and Revolut.
13. Consolidate Student Debt
If you have a lot of student debt with a number of lenders, consolidation can lower the average interest rate and simplify your payments into one. However be careful, consolidating can mean you lose access to certain benefits (however you can also gain access to benefits.) Before consolidating it pays to check how your individual loans work. Studentaid is a fantastic resource for all things student loan related. Also see our list of student loan refinances and consolidators.
14. Put a Spending Limit on Your Card
Most banks now offer the ability to put spending limits on your credit and debit cards. Putting a daily or weekly limit can really help you limit spending.
15. Try the Envelope Budgeting System
Envelope budgeting is a great way to save money. The way it works is you take out your budgeted amount for entertainment, groceries, gas etc and put each budgeted amount in an envelope in cash. Whenever you need to buy anything you use cash, and when the cash runs out that’s it can’t spend what you don’t have.
16. Save on Rent with Airbnb
Airbnbing your room/flat is a great way to save money on your rent. Especially if you take frequent weekend getaways, or go camping and hiking during the summer. You can rent your space for 1-2 days and generate a bit of cash that can go towards your rent.
17. Designate a No-Spend Day Once a Week
Designating at least one day a week where you don’t spend any money on wants (you can still but essentials like groceries), is a great habit to build up the no-spend muscle. If you get good try extend that to two days a week with no spending.