8 Helpful & Easy Money-Saving Tips to Combat the Cost of Living
I live in one of the most expensive places in the US, and the cost of living is increasing every single year. Throughout the years I’ve had to make adjustments and learn how to manage my finances in order to create and sustain a life here in paradise.
I wanted to discuss easy money-saving tips that help me save money and have been helpful to me. Without further ado, let’s get started!
1. Don’t save – invest instead
Putting away money and saving is a great habit, but if we’ve already put enough aside for our emergency funds, the next best step is to invest.
Inflation can be around 2% to 4% annually. The money that just sits around is actually losing value if it doesn’t increase with rising costs.
There are so many ways to invest. You don’t need a lot to start with. There are free resources to learn about stocks, bonds, retirements, and real estate, just to name a few.
We can also invest in ourselves – our education, our health, and our overall well-being — which can provide life-changing returns. Ultimately, money is just a tool that you use to invest in your future or in increasing your purchasing power.
When someone proposes an offer, I see it as the start of a negotiation. I use this easy money-saving tip for everything: rent, my phone bill, my car insurance, my starting salary, and even my medical bills.
Sometimes I’ll ask upfront for a reduced price. Other times, I’ll offer my services or my time. It can be a win-win situation. For example, in San Diego, I offered my landlord to water his garden and clean the communal laundry room once a week in return for reduced rent.
There’s no guarantee this will work 100% of the time, but the worst thing they can say is no.
3. Assess your true needs
We talk about a need versus a want, but it’s easy to blur the lines between the two.
For example, I wanted to buy an upgraded camera bag that had a specific feature I liked, but this “need,” came from a place of impulse. With this kind of logic, we can justify every purchase.
One easy money-saving tip is to assess where the sense of need comes from. I got into the habit of asking myself, “Is this vital for my well-being? Do I need this for my day-to-day routines? Is this something the media is pushing me to buy? If I didn’t buy this, what’s the worst that could happen?”
These questions help me prioritize essentials.
4. Create a financial calendar
I use my Google calendar for pretty much everything, including mapping out my finances.
It’s really easy to log recurring bills and set reminders so I’m never late. If I know a big expense, like my car registration or an annual vet visit is coming up, I set a reminder so I can be prepared. This way I don’t waste money on penalty fees or interest.
Personal finance is all about planning and prioritizing the money we have. It’s crucial to find the right tools to make this process easier.
5. Know your number
Knowing our exact expenses helps us recognize how much we need to live our current lifestyle. For me and my husband, that number is about $2,500 to $3,000 every month. This includes everything: our housing, utilities, phone bills, car, and pretty much all our basic needs.
Calculating our numbers puts into perspective how much we actually need to work to live our current lifestyle, how much we need to save, and what we need to invest to retire.
Our numbers give us a realistic idea of how much we can put away every month. This can be done via budgeting apps, tracking your expenses, and checking your statements. It’s about proactively planning your finances once you know the number.
6. Research community resources
Taking the time to research the different resources in your community can help you save money and reach financial goals faster.
For example, there are programs for first-time homebuyers that help with down payments and closing costs. There are individual development accounts where savings will be matched. There are high-yielding savings accounts.
I’m constantly looking for free community resources, like free events and entertainment.
7. Take advantage of credit cards
I only use credit cards for my purchases because you can get up to 2% cashback which you can redeem for cash, miles, or points. This saves me so much money.
Of course, I only charge what I can pay off in full every single month so I don’t accrue debt or interest. Because of all the miles we’ve accrued over the years, we’re always able to fly free and get amazing deals along the way.
8. Cultivate relationships around you
Financial advice has always centered around the individual. What if we can help each other?
My parents have dedicated so many of their years to supporting me and my sister. When they retire, I want to return the favor and support them. I wouldn’t enjoy my success and wealth if I couldn’t help others, especially my parents.
I think people underestimate the power of working together. I know that I’m more than capable of supporting myself, but at the same time, it’s great to have a life partner who shares my values. We can grow our wealth together. Having a solid partnership is like having to lift only half the weight and can be mutually beneficial.
Of course, I’m not saying you need to find someone to optimize your savings. I’m saying that people in our lives really do matter. They can make a huge difference, especially in places like Maui where it’s about who you know rather than what you know.
I’ve personally gotten offered so many jobs, gotten great real estate deals, and even free things because people look out for each other. There’s a sense of community that I love.
Easy money-saving tips
These easy money-saving tips are about being knowledgeable and resourceful about personal finances. No matter what our economic situations look like, we can try our best to be intentional about our money.
What helpful savings tips can you share? Leave a comment and let us know.
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