If you’ve been following our journey, you know that Amon and I like to get creative when it comes to making money. We’ve adopted quirky little side hustles (that have made lots of money on the side) and we’ve talked a lot about those side hustles on our blog and on our YouTube channel. Creative side hustles are fun.
But, we also like to get creative when it comes to savings! Just like with making more money, the more money you can save - the more money you can invest on your journey to financial independence.
So, with that in mind, I’m going to focus this blog post on saving money. Here are eight creative ways to save more money:
1. Don’t Pay The Pink Tax
Have you ever heard of the pink tax? It’s not officially a tax, but it’s called a pink tax because it’s essentially the cost of being a female. Here’s what I mean: The New York City Department of Affairs once carried out a study that compared how products were marketed towards men and women respectively. According to the study, products marketed towards women cost 42% more than the equivalent products marketed towards men.
For example - In some instances, shampoos and conditioners marketed toward women cost 50% more than shampoos and conditioners marketed towards men. Jean’s cost 10% more for women, bikes marketed towards girls cost 6% more than those marketed towards boys, and so on.
That, my friends, is the pink tax. It means that women are often paying significantly more than men for the exact same product, the only difference being the “pink” packaging. So next time you’re shopping - if you’re a woman, or a man shopping for your partner or daughter - I suggest you take a look at the male aisle first. In many cases, you’ll find that you can save a lot of money simply by shopping “blue.”
2. Grocery Shopping
Grocery bills are one of the main expenses in any home. One of the ways we reduced this cost was by ordering shopping online. Most stores have the option of pre-arranging your order so that you can pick it up yourself, or they can drop it off.
Many times, we chose to order online because by the time we got to the grocery store, we often ended up buying a lot of extra things that we didn’t need. Even with a shopping list, it can still happen.
If you order online, you can typically either have your groceries delivered for a small fee or pick them up for free. Even with the fee, you’re likely still spending less than shopping yourself. We also love this tactic because it saved us a lot of time as a family. Plus, if you get it delivered, you’re saving gas money too!
3. Decide Your Budget Before You See The Price Tag
Most people see something they like, check out the price tag, and then determine if they want to buy an item based on the price tag. Have you ever considered doing it the other way around? What if you saw something you liked and, before you even checked out the price tag, you determined what you would pay for that item? In other words, what if you didn’t let the price tag sway your decision on whether something was reasonably priced? By thinking this way, you’re setting a fixed price for everything you buy - and sticking to that price no matter what. The idea is that you don’t adjust what you’re willing to spend simply because you want something.
For example, if you want to buy a shirt, take a pause and think about how much you think is reasonable based on your budget. Do this before you check the price tag of any shirts you’re looking at. Once you do check, if the price tag exceeds your number, forget about it.
It’s quite common that you leave a store with something that costs way more than you would have hoped because you talked yourself into spending more. Using this in the future will save you a lot of money in the long run.
4. Think About Your Hours Worked
Next time you look at an item you want to buy, don’t think about the actual price. Instead, take the price and convert it into the number of hours you need to work to pay for it. Say you want to buy a $1,000 purse, and you make $30 an hour after taxes. That’s 33 hours of work (AKA - almost a whole week’s salary)!
By putting things like this into perspective, you’ll have a better idea of whether certain things are actually worth buying. Everything you buy costs you time. By cutting out the expenses that aren’t worth your time, you can begin saving more money and investing that money into your early retirement.
5. Only Carry Large Bills
I really like this savings trick because, personally, I hate breaking large bills for something small - so this trick works well for me! Try doing this: try only carrying around large bills. In doing this, you’ll have to think harder about breaking that bill to make a purchase. Believe me: It’s a lot easier to buy a $1.00 pack of gum with a $1 bill than it is with a $20 bill!
6. Buy A Used Car
We’re big fans of driving used cars! Our best used car deal was our $800 used car. We were so proud of the deal we got on the car, we even named her (Champagne)! This car saved us so much money over time. We paid cash for her, so no debt or interest payments . . . AND, when we moved and sold her, we were able to sell her for more than what we paid when we bought her (over $800)!
Studies have shown that simply by driving a new car off the lot, you’re lowering the value of the car right off the bat. That’s a lot of money going down the drain. Buying a used car avoids this issue. You don’t have to buy a car as low as $800. That was just our choice. But, in many cases, if you buy the right used car, you can save money compared to buying a car brand new. So, of course, you save on the purchase price. But there are some other great money-saving benefits to buying used. For one, you’ll likely spend a lot less money on making the car look pristine; two, you’ll worry less about minor ticks and dings and making cosmetic repairs; and three, your insurance will likely be much lower than it would be for a brand new car.
7. Delete Your Credit Card Numbers
Slow down your online spending by taking your credit card numbers off your online shopping accounts. Sites like Amazon are notorious for getting people to make those quick and easy purchases. Ever bought something on Amazon? After one purchase with a credit card, you can save your number! You don’t have to reenter your credit card number each time you want to make a purchase. It’s so simple. How kind of Amazon, right? WRONG! The setup is designed to increase your spending!
One-click online shopping is a sneaky tactic to simplify your shopping experience so that you spend more easily. If you want to save money, go back to websites that store your buyer information and remove that information from the site. You’ll be surprised by how the thought of having to get up to find your credit card from another room to make a purchase will seem so cumbersome in some cases, that you’ll simply decide to forego the entire purchase.
8. Have A “Pay Yourself First” Budget
I saved this for last because, well . . . this one isn’t that big of a surprise. In order to save more, you must design your budget to prioritize saving and investing. A ‘Pay yourself first” budget is a budget designed to do that. It means the very first, and most important payment you make is to yourself - to either your savings account or to your investment account. This payment, like I said, is above all others.
Think about the other option - if you paid yourself (i.e., your savings and investing accounts) last. If you did this, you would open yourself up to what I like to call: “I can rationalize anything if I try hard enough!” What do I mean by this? I mean, if you really want to buy something, you can find a reason to rationalize it. For example, you want a new pair of shoes that cost $450. The rationalization: I work hard for my money. I never buy anything for myself. My birthday is right around the corner. This is actually a deal because these shoes are on sale . . . yadda, yadda, yadda.
If you’re great at rationalizing purchases that you really shouldn’t be making, a pay yourself first budget can help you. When you take money and immediately put it into your savings and investing accounts, you’re less likely to see that money as extra spending money. In other words, you’re limiting your ability to make unnecessary purchases.
So, there you have it! These are some of the most underrated ways that Amon and I chose to save money. It’s little tips like these that made a big difference in our savings and moved us closer to financial independence. So take these tips and apply them to your own life. You’ll find yourself even closer to financial independence in no time.
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