Many people believe that spending less requires making sacrifices – buying cheaper products, cutting back on vacations and denying yourself other pleasures like shopping and movies. This is partly the reason why we approach the concept of saving money as something highly unpleasant and even painful. But it does not have to be that way.
Saving money can not only be fun, but doing it can noticeably improve the quality of your life and bring your family even closer together.
So if you are looking for Smart ways to save money, here are a few money saving ideas that are easy to follow:
1. Take care of your health.
A sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits come with a hefty price tag. It has been calculated that in America alone, people spend about $35 billion a year on weight-loss and fitness products and as much as $93 billion in annual medical bills. If you want to save money in the future, start taking care of your health. Eating healthy and exercising are a few of the best long-term investments you can make. And as an added bonus, you will get a good-looking body and have more energy.
2. Get Grocery smart.
One thing I miss about Italy when I go to the United States is food. Everything just tastes differently and I have to pay attention to what I eat. I try to buy organic food, but it is not always as budget-friendly as conventional food. Fortunately for us not all of the products have to be bought in the organic aisle section.
Here is a list of fruits and vegetables that are the least likely to contain pesticides (chemical substances that have been associated with cancer, infertility and even Parkinson’s disease). So you can buy them conventional and save money:
- Sweet potatoes
There are also some fruits and vegetables that are more likely to have higher trace of pesticides, so if your budget allows, buy them organic:
- Grapes (imported)
- Sweet bell peppers
3. Borrow instead of buying.
Things like books, CDs, DVDs, computer games, baby toys and power tools can be easily swapped or borrowed from your friends, neighbors and co-workers. Besides saving money, you will also cut down on the number of things cluttering your closets and garage.
4. Go for quality, not quantity.
Sometimes it can be tempting to go for the cheapest option. And while in some cases you can save a lot of money choosing low-cost and bargain products, sacrificing quality over quantity is not always the best course of action. For example, French women believe that you should never save on shoes, lingerie, watches or perfume. You may not fully agree with this statement, but there is no doubt that often you actually save money investing in high-quality, long-lasting items, rather than throwing away your money on poor-quality stuff.
5. Do not confuse getting a good bargain with actually saving money.
A lot of people talk about “saving” money when they get a “good deal.” I do it too. However, I have noticed that sometimes I also buy stuff I do not need just because it is on sale. Which means that I am spending money, not saving it. Whenever you see ‘the offer of a life time’, ask yourself “Why do I want to buy it?” If the first thought that pops into your mind is “Because it is on sale” – close your eyes and run away, because you are about to throw your hard-earned money away.
6. Make your own cleaning supplies.
I would never have thought of suggesting you make your own cleaning supplies, until I read a survey conducted by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. It states that the air inside a typical home is on average 2- 5 times more polluted than outside. And it is not for the lack of cleaning. Quite the opposite, all the household cleaners that we use contain toxins and hazardous chemical substances that can irritate our skin, eyes and lungs.
So the question is what is the point of using them, when natural non-toxic ingredients like baking soda, vinegar, lemon juice can be just as efficient, much safer and undeniably cheaper than our regular cleaning solutions? (you can learn more about how to make your own cleaning supplies here)
7. Walk or bike whenever you can.
Now before telling yourself that it can not be done, hear me out. I am not suggesting that you sell your car and ride a bike to work every day. But when the weather is nice and you feel like stretching your legs and getting some exercise, taking a brisk walk or riding a bike can be a great alternative to driving a car. Besides why not save on gas and parking costs while improving your cardiovascular health, toning your muscles and burning a few hundred calories?
8. Reinvent the concept of entertainment.
For many people entertainment is strongly associated with going to the mall or watching movies. But it is not nearly as fun as doing something together as a family. Think of little do-it-yourself projects you can do with your children. Look for community events that take place in your city. Organize a picnic or a hiking trip. It does not cost much and great time is guaranteed.
Can you think of any other money-saving tips?
If so, please share them below! And let’s save some money together!