Tackling your money goals and sticking to a budget can seem overwhelming, if not impossible. But trust us, you don't have to be a financial whiz or a cheapskate to have a healthy financial life—you just have to be a little savvy.
A recent Reddit thread tackled this subject by asking users to post all the simple things they do to cut costs. Here are the best money-saving tips and ideas people shared:
1. Use your library—for everything. “A library is a gold mine of free stuff,” wrote Reddit poster LinkOpensChest_wav. In addition to books, most libraries these days have DVDs, audiobooks, onsite wi-fi, and courses you can take. It doesn't get any better than that when it comes to entertainment!
2. Drink your coffee at work. “My work has Starbucks coffee for free, and I drink a ton of it. I'm probably saving at least 10 bucks a day,” said sareyoujokinglol.
3. Get out of the habit of impulse buying. Use this simple rule as a guideline for spending: If you really want something, wait two or three days before buying it. If you've thought about it and still want to buy it days later, then you may purchase it, recommends Reddit user wavecore.
4. Or, try to focus on the value of the item. “If someone offered you an item, or that item's value in cash, which would you rather have? If you would rather have the cash, then you probably don't need that item.” Great advice, Danlax33.
5. And if that still doesn't make you more conscious of your spending, then think about it in terms of the hours you would need to work to pay for it. “If my pay is $15/hour and the item I want to buy is $90, is it really worth six of my working hours for just this one thing? It helps to put it into perspective for me,” said vektim.
6. Opt for water. If it's not free, then it definitely costs less than any other drink on the menu, daveed2001 pointed out. And just think about the health benefits—it's a win-win!
7. Stop buying things under $5. People tend to carelessly purchase $1, $2, or $3 items, but it adds up quickly, wrote hopefullygone. At the end of the month, take a quick look at how much you spent on these low-cost items or services, you'll be amazed by how much you can save.
8. Make sure you're getting the most out of your 401(k). Many employers will match what you contribute up to a certain percent, 7p62x54 reminded us. That's free money you could be getting every year!
9. Quit the unhealthy, costly habits. While you may not want to cut out vices like drinking entirely, it's a very simple way to save money, noted SinSkin.
10. Make “Meal Prep Sundays” a weekly habit. Dedicate some time to prepping all of your meals for the week on Sunday, kahzgul suggested. Not only will this ensure you're organized for the week ahead (saving you time), but it also makes it easy to avoid purchasing expensive lunches from your office cafeteria or nearby cafe.
11. Own, don't lease. Another great piece of advice from kahzgul: When it comes to cars, appliances, houses, etc., you'll always save more money in the long run by purchasing them.
12. Eat in-season fruits and veggies. Produce that's not in-season tends to be more expensive, ampersand12 explained. Use this list to keep track of what's growing at all times of the year so you know when it will be cheapest to buy.
13. Set up a different bank account just for your spending. FalstaffMind shared this brilliant idea: “I set up a separate account that I transfer $200 each paycheck. I try to live off that debit card.” In other words, have one bank account dedicated to monthly living expenses and bills, and use a different account for unnecessary things like clothing and entertainment.
14. Invest in a freezer chest. When your go-to items go on sale, buy them in bulk and freeze them to use later, wrote syn_er.
15. Use cash only. This is a simple way to be more conscious of what you're spending, 07yzryder explained. You're more likely to buy less when you have to pay for it with cash (no one likes to see their money physically leaving them), and science has proven that you'll appreciate your items more they're purchased with cash.