11 Money Saving Hacks That Really Work


personal finance

Inflation is up. Wages are down. For many Millennials and Gen-Z, the once common trappings of adulthood like home ownership and yearly vacations are out of reach. If you feel as if you are in financial survival mode, you are not alone. Worse, when you look for money-saving tips online, what you find is mostly condescending and out of touch. It’s as if these content creators view us as irresponsible teens spending our money on wildly unnecessary luxuries rather than working adults struggling within a tough economic infrastructure.

Enough of that, you need realistic advice that you can apply to your life. Take a look at these eleven money-saving hacks. You’re sure to find at least a few that work for you.

1. Pregaming – It’s Not Just For Alcohol

Here’s a common scenario. You’re in a group chat with friends when someone suggests going out for a bite to eat. You’ve got two choices. Say no, because you’re broke, or go out to eat and stress over the amount of money you’re spending.

What about a third option? You can go out with friends without breaking your budget. Simply eat a quick meal ahead of time. Then, enjoy something small at the restaurant like a bowl of soup, appetizer, or dessert. You’ll get the social time, enjoy a treat, and spend about half of what you would otherwise.

2. Create a 48-Hour Rule

I saw it. I wanted it. I bought it. I regretted it. Does this resonate? We’ve all been there.

Be honest. How many times in the last few months have you purchased something because you were taken in by slick, social media marketing? Sometimes, you end up with a product that you genuinely enjoy and use. Sometimes, not so much.

How do you avoid making impulse purchases you regret? Use the 48-hour rule. It’s simple. Anything that is not a necessity or planned purchase is put on the back burner for 48 hours. If you still want the product in two days, great! Buy it and enjoy it. But, you will be surprised at how often you decide that you didn’t want that item as much as you thought you did.

3. Unit Pricing With a Caveat

If you aren’t paying attention to unit prices when you shop for groceries, you could be missing out on opportunities to save.

What is unit pricing? When you go grocery shopping, you probably pay attention to the price of each item you’re buying. That makes sense, as that’s what you’ll be spending. That’s item pricing. Unit pricing is the cost of the item per unit. For example, a one pound batch of ground beef may be $10. So, the unit price is $10 per pound. Meanwhile, a four pound family pack is $30 which is a unit price of $7.50 per pound. That’s $2.50 less per pound.

So, don’t be fooled by lower item prices. They may be costing you more than you think. That said, here’s the caveat. There is some privilege here. To save money this way, you often have to buy larger items with a higher sticker price. That’s not something everyone can do. If you only have $10 to spend and nothing more, that four pounds of ground beef is simply out of reach.

4. Unsubscribe Unsubscribe Unsubscribe

Do you receive emails, texts, and push notifications from Shein, Temu, Wayfair, and other online marketplaces? If so, it’s time to sever those digital connections. Each message you receive only has the potential to get you to spend money, mostly on stuff you don’t need. Click on the unsubscribe button. When you shop online, opt out of receiving marketing emails and texts. That way, you control how and when your interactions with online retailers happen.

While you’re at it. Install an adblocker.

5. Saving Money Isn’t Hard When You’ve Got a Library Card

Your local library may be the best resource you have when it comes to saving money. Do you love books? Great! Borrow as many as you want from the library, and save your book-buying budget for truly special items you want to add to your collection.

But, books are just the beginning. Your library is a free resource for movies, TV shows, games, and more. When you have a library card you can also access apps that give you the ability to stream movies and TV shows, download eBooks, watch documentaries, and more. Here are just a few other freebies you might find at your library:

– Zoo and museum passes
– Free in-person and online courses
– Tools for loan
– Flower and vegetable seeds
– Internet hotspots
– Tablets and eReaders
– Telescopes and Binoculars
– Projectors
– Arts & Crafts or Science Kits
– Fishing Poles

6. Don’t Sleep on Store Brands

Generic or store brands may not have the visual appeal or slick marketing of name brands, but they usually have the same quality. The canned vegetables, toilet paper, and other staples you buy are often made in the same facilities, no matter what is on the label. Sure, you may find that some items don’t meet your standards, but for the most part, store brands are just fine. So, why not save a little cash?

7. Quality Trumps Price

We’ve become a disposable culture where it’s possible to buy cheap items at low prices online and off. At first, it feels as if we are saving money. But, how long do these items last? What happens when they break down? Are you able to fix them or do they simply go into the trash?

It’s often better to focus on quality over price. A well-made product from a reputable company can last years longer than a cheap alternative. This especially applies to clothing, appliances, tools, furniture, and electronics. Even better, you will often find that these brands are very willing to make things right if something goes wrong.

What if you can’t afford the higher price of a good-quality item? Check out Facebook marketplace listings, garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sales. Even when they are gently used, these items may still last for years longer than new-but-low-quality stuff.

8. Encourage Frugality in Your Social Group

It can feel lonely being broke, but you aren’t alone. You have friends and family members who are struggling too. Unfortunately, there can be social pressure to spend. Nobody wants to be the first person to say, “That’s too expensive. Can we do something more affordable?” So, be that first person!

Make it a social norm in your circle to avoid spending too much money. And, if you’d like to find a romantic partner with similar financial goals, visit the site that emphasizes shared values and genuine connection.

9. Revisit Your Subscriptions And Memberships

Do you need all of those streaming subscriptions? If you’re paying for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, HBO, and other premium services all at once, you might be spending well over a hundred dollars each month.

Instead, consider staggering your subscriptions. Pay for one service at a time, and binge-watch the shows you want. Then, cancel that subscription and move on to another. Better yet, try some of the free streaming services like Pluto, FreeVee, or Tubi. Buy a Roku stick and access hundreds of free channels.

Once you have your streaming services under control, take a look at your other subscriptions. Do you get monthly boxes or bags of cosmetics, snacks, fandom stuff, or clothes? How much of that stuff do you really use, and how much gets stuffed in a drawer? Maybe it’s time to cancel those.

Finally, take a look at your gym membership. If you actively use it, great! If not, cancel that too! Walking is healthy and free.

10. Embrace Public Transit

If you live in a city with a good public transportation system, you are losing out if you don’t take advantage of it. You can save on gas, parking, wear and tear on your car, and sometimes insurance. You may even be able to ditch your ride altogether.

Are you a student or a senior citizen? That’s even better! Ask your local transit authority about discounts.

11. Use Loyalty And Rewards Programs

At first glance, loyalty and rewards programs may appear to save you mere pennies on the dollar. Truthfully, those savings can really add up. If your usual coffee shop, gas station, or grocery store offers a loyalty program or app, sign up!

That’s just the beginning. You can stack these with a variety of rewards apps. With these, you can earn points for cash, discounts, and other perks. You just have to download an app or install a browser extension. Here are a few to check out:

– Upside
– Rakuten
– Honey
– Swagbucks
– Fetch
– Shopkick
– Ibotta
– Coinout
– Receipt Hog
– Checkout51
– Capital One Shopping

Cash-out monthly for a bit of help at the end of the month, or save your points for holiday purchases or other big-ticket items.

Happy Savings!

These tips may not bump you into the next income tax bracket. They should help ease some of your financial burden, and maybe allow you to create an emergency savings. This could provide some breathing room and alleviate some of the fiscal stress we all seem to be experiencing.


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