How I saved thousands last year

On 2011, my first serious attempt on saving money, I saved thousands in the bank. How did I do it? Read on.

We all want money, right? And spending money on useless things just because you were bored, doesn’t quite pay off. You’ll end up where you started again… broke, depressed and living paycheck to paycheck — again.

So here are 15 tips on saving money. Choose only the ones that applies to your lifestyle.

 

1. First thing’s first — Get out of debt!

So I realized that money is good, and debts are bad. Get out of debt, no excuses! Debts are born from compulsion, loneliness and boredom.

One boring day, you decided to get that 52 inch LED because you’re bored. You decided to upgrade to premium cable because you’re bored. The massive amount of cash you spent on long distance calls, alcohol and night outs because you’re lonely. And not to mention your compulsion for shopping. Shopping is evil — more on this below.

 

2. Cook your own food.

That everyday MacDonald and Burger King are widening your pants and your belly… and emptying your wallet.

Our first year of marriage, we didn’t know how to cook. Dinner outs and take outs became really expensive. When I decided to learn how to cook, we saved around $3,000 that year.

Cook at home. Learn to cook. Fact: there are more people who know how to cook in this age than ever before because of Google. Just Google a recipe and you’ll do good. Plus, cooking is fun!

 

3. Make your own coffee.

Somehow, someway, buying an everyday cup from Starbucks became fashionable. It’s a stupid fashion and expensive too.

I brew my own coffee. And if I’m lazy, I open a pack of 3in1. :)

 

4. Avoid costly hairdos or cut your own hair.

I used to go to the salon every month. And wow! What a waste! Expensive stuff!

Now I only go three times a year and my hubby cuts his own hair. Seriously, his theory is buy your own razor, and tah-dah! Instant haircut! 

 

5. Cut off cable TV.

My hubby can never live without cable TV before. But this is the new age. Hulu.com, CBS.com, Fox.com, and many more — are free. Basically, all the major shows are free online.

No need to pay for shows. Save your money instead.

 

6. Bring your own lunch at work.

If you’re like my hubby, you’re lucky. He has a wonderful wife to cook for him :)

Don’t buy at company cafeterias or lunch store near work. They tend to get expensive. My hubby used to spend $10 a day for work lunch… it totals to a whopping $2,400 a year.

$2,400 is a cruise vacation for the whole family already.

 

7. Cut your gym membership.

Gyms are almost useless. You sign up for a gym membership, you use it religiously for two months straight — then you forget about it. Yet you paid for a whole year.

Here’s a free way to lose weight… Jog, run or walk. The environment is free. Walk or jog in the park. Stroll around your neighborhood. Walk your dog.

I walk my baby in the stroller every morning.

My hubby does push-ups, crunches and squats at home. It’s free. No need to pay for it.

 

8. Have a grocery list.

They don’t call it impulse shopping for nothing. Have a list, stay focused, buy only what you need. Only what you need. Nothing more.

Tip: Go grocery shopping while you’re in a hurry. Maybe on your way to fetch your kids or have somewhere to go. That’ll speed up your grocery shopping in a jiff.

 

9. Quit smoking and drinking.

Hard to do, I know. But try. Try little by little each day. You’ll do fine.

My dad-in-law quit smoking and drinking, he saved a whopping $2,500 a year. Average American smoker spend $150 per month on smokes. You do the math. And if you’re like my dad-in-law, a whiskey enthusiast, that’s an expensive lifestyle.

 

10. Buy generic products instead.

Does it really matter what brand your car, clothes or medicine tablets are? Why buy a Mercedes when you can have a Toyota? Why buy “always advertised on TV products” when you can buy a generic counterpart for way LESS money?

 

11. Cut off credit cards with annual fees.

Have you read the fine print? How much do you pay for your annual fees? Check it.

That’s right, a big bad sum of money.

Credit cards blind you with cash back rewards and reward points — a genius way of hiding that nasty annual fee. So those free cash back reward points aren’t so free, then.

 

12. Cut off your land line.

Who needs a land line? When was the last time you used your land line?

Everybody has cell phones nowadays. Land lines are a dying breed. You don’t need them.

 

13. Avoid shopping (gulp).

My kryptonite. My weakness. I promised myself in 2011, no shopping for a whole year! 

I failed of course. I shopped in the mall thrice that year. Which is a tremendous improvement though. I use to shop every month, paycheck to paycheck. Which is a nasty habit, chasing debts all year long made me miserable. It’s a depressing way to live.

So I was able to cut out my shopping habit. I know you can too.

 

14. Try to have only one car if possible.

We only have one car. While my hubby uses his motorcycle to work (except on winter). We make do. My hubby used to have three cars. And goodness, who needs three cars? We sold his beamer sports car and his pick-up truck. Now we have a Toyota minivan and his motorcycle.

A minivan or a soccer mom’s car is a downgrade to his manhood… or so he says. Welcome to fatherhood, hubby! We love you!

 

15. Don’t hang out with people with high maintenance lifestyle.

You know who they are. The ones that buy new cars every couple of years, the ones with flashy big screen TVs, the ones who have the latest tech gadgets, the ones who always go out on fancy restaurants or coffee shops. You know who they are, the people with no savings.

They may be good people, they may mean you no harm… but staying around them breeds you discontent.

You are content. You have all you need, you have a loving family and a cozy home. You don’t need expensive tech gadgets or sports cars or big mansions or fancy restaurants — you are complete just the way you are.

 

So to end this, we saved an estimated $20,000 last year when we started living frugally.

 

 

Andrea

About Andrea

An anonymous being, a writer hidden in the shadows; I come with the darkest clouds and pen darker thoughts to paper. I am the fog, the shadow, the mist. Come see me and you will never go back.

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