When it comes to saving money, we are all full of good intentions.
We tell ourselves that if we made more money, we could finally put it aside. Wherever we are not in the ideal situation to consider saving for now.
In fact, it’s never too early to start saving . Taking charge of your expenses is the best way to ensure a healthy future and financial health that will allow you to get through each stage of your life without stress.
And you don’t need to deprive yourself of saving everything . With a few adjustments to your priorities and habits, you will actually be able to save money in no time.
Save money by changing your habits
Find out why you want to save
It is a good thing to want to save money.
But if you don’t know why you want to save money, it will be much more difficult for you to put the necessary strategy in place (and stick to it!)
One of the simplest ways to save lots of money is to set a goal.
Start by thinking about the medium and long term expenses that you might need to have some extra money set aside.
Maybe you plan to get married in the next few years, go on vacation to the place of your dreams, quit your job to start your own business …
Then determine how much money you will need , and approximately how long it will take you to save that amount.
I advise you to keep records of your goals in writing, or to integrate them into your monthly budget. The goal is to keep under the eyes and regularly review these objectives so as not to lose sight of them over time.
Schedule an automatic transfer to your savings accounts
Saving money can be extremely difficult when all you are relying on is your willpower to achieve your goals .
Rather than trying to spend less in order to have money to put aside at the end of the month, do the reverse process: put money aside every month automatically right after you receive your pay. .
If the money has been saved automatically, it will be much more difficult for you to spend it than if you let it sleep in your checking account .
Almost all banks today offer automatic transfers between your checking accounts and your savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer your money. The transfer will then be made at each desired period without you even having to think about it.
Wait before you buy
It is often said that the night brings advice. And this proverb is also true for your purchases when you want to save money.
Very few of the purchases we make could not wait. And too often, we get carried away by the madness of the moment and make purchases that we may come to regret a few days later, or even the same day.
A particularly practical technique is never to buy anything the same day , but to always wait before acquiring an object that you want. This will allow you, among other things, to know how to dissociate your desires from your real needs.
If you happen to see a scarf you like in a store, go away without buying it and therefore have to come back later if you want to pick it up, you might end up making the effort to come back only if you really need it.
In general, it is recommended that you wait at least a few days before considering purchasing again. For large sums (for example, a connected watch), the ideal is to go on 30 days. This will give you plenty of time to see if your desire decreases over time.
I almost always do this approach, and I can tell you that at least 80% of my cravings disappear over time. Savings which can therefore be monstrous all year round.
It will also give you time to plan the expense within your budget and set aside enough money to be able to comfortably afford the expense.
Do a “zero expense” challenge
When you start trying to save money, a good way to start once and for all is to do a “zero expense” challenge.
As its name suggests, this challenge consists of spending nothing (apart from of course essential expenses such as rent, bills and food) for a fixed period, generally 30 days.
If a month seems too complicated (although it is actually easier than it looks), you can start with one or two weeks. The main thing is to stick to the fixed period.
For more motivation, some people like to temporarily display a calendar and put a cross under each day they don’t spend money.
This system will not only make you aware of all the expenses you make for the little things that drain your account every month, but also make you aware of the expenses that you actually don’t need.
Download apps to save money
Saving money shouldn’t be an ordeal. It should be easy, automatic and secure at the same time.
Today, thanks to new technologies, many applications help you manage your finances directly from your smartphone .
And in this game, automatic savings apps have it all figured out . We are usually better at spending than saving, and that’s exactly where they help us.
These apps actually make it easy to save money on a daily basis by setting aside a certain amount of money (often by rounding up your purchases) each time you spend.
Switch to free online banking
Bank charges are one of the things we can spend several hundred dollars on every year without even realizing it.
Between the costs of maintaining accounts, commissions for payments or withdrawals abroad, costs related to the bank card … these micro-expenses accumulate to represent an amount for the year that is often significant that it could be nevertheless easy to avoid.
Today there are a large number of free online banks that allow you to get the same services as a traditional bank, and sometimes even more, for less or no cost.
I personally recommend the N26 bank , which I have been using for 3 years and literally never had to pay a dime.
Create a budget
Remember the most important method of saving money: budgeting .
If your strategy is to save money, budget is your tactic. It is in a way the plan that will help you achieve your savings goals.
Without knowing where your money is going each month, or how much you need to put aside each month to secure your future and your dreams, it becomes much more difficult to get there.
When you start budgeting, you look your finances in the face and take a clear first step towards your goal of saving smarter.
And today, managing your budget is easier than ever, especially thanks to the many applications like Bankin ‘ or YNAB which allow you to manage your finances directly from your smartphone.
Always make a shopping list
Just as you need a plan for managing your money (i.e. a budget), you also need a plan for your purchases .
And for that, you will need to systematically list what you need before going to the store.
And while this method is essential for saving on food shopping , it doesn’t just apply to food.
Whenever you need to visit a store or mall, write down exactly what you need, and stick to it.
This may seem like a trivial gesture, but just writing is a form of commitment that will help you keep your promises better with yourself.
Take your midday meals
The reason you hear this tip very frequently is simply that it works!
If you buy your meal out every lunchtime, you are probably wasting hundreds of dollars each month compared to what it would cost you to cook them at home.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated: at a minimum, you just need to prepare a little larger quantities for your evening meal, and put the leftovers in a tupperware for the next day.
Another technique, called batch cooking , involves taking an hour or two on weekends to prepare all your meals for the week in advance.
In addition to saving time, the advantage is that meal schedules are built in such a way as to save as much money as possible.
Plan your meals in advance
Many people think that planning meals and menus for the week takes a lot of time. But on the contrary, it is quite the opposite.
Planning your weekly menus in advance saves you precious time
- at the supermarket when you need to decide what to buy
- when you don’t have to worry about what to eat every night
- when cooking because all your recipes will be planned in advance
And this method, too often underestimated, actually saves huge sums of money every month .
All you have to do is make a list of several recipes or favorite dishes, and then decide each weekend which dish you are going to eat each meal.
To support you, we have created the Meal Plan Kit which allows you to define your meals of the month and of the week in just a few minutes, as well as to list your favorite recipes and build your shopping list.
Use the Discount Coupon for your restaurant reservations
This application allows you to book a restaurant directly from your smartphone or computer, but also and above all to take advantage of extremely interesting discounts on many restaurants .
It is common for restaurants to offer discounts of up to 50% , for the same service that you would have paid for going directly there.
I now use it almost systematically for my restaurant outings.
Sort through your subscriptions
Do you subscribe to several subscriptions such as streaming services, magazines, boxes or mobile applications?
How many of these services do you actually use ? And how many really contribute to your personal growth?
The aim is not at all to criticize these services as such. Some people probably get a lot of satisfaction from it and enjoy it 100%.
But it is essential that you regularly ask yourself the question of the usefulness of each of these subscriptions . Especially if you are trying to save money.
Take your latest bank statements or your monthly budget, and list every subscription you pay every month (or every year).
Then ask yourself for each of your subscriptions if it’s really worth it, and cancel or suspend unnecessary subscriptions.
Save on your insurance contracts
Insurance is one of the kind of contracts we tend to take out… then forget, even though much more interesting offers have probably emerged since then.
For home insurance, Luko (a French start-up) offers modern services and clear and transparent insurance contracts, which often allow you to pay less for your insurance for superior services.
They offer a free simulator that allows you to calculate your rates.
If these are more advantageous than your current contract, it is surely time to change insurer.
Go green 🌱
Ecology is of course essential for the respect of the planet and the preservation of our ecosystems.
The fact that this is also beneficial for our wallet is just a plus, but it can be very useful when looking to save money.
Some of these techniques will require an initial investment, but buying more responsibly can often pay off in the long run. You can for example:
- Replace all your traditional bulbs with very durable and very low energy LED bulbs .
- Invest in a water efficient shower head .
- Buy glass jars and then buy your essentials (pasta, rice, flour, etc.) in zero waste bulk .
In most cases, you can easily make some changes in your home or apartment that can help reduce your electricity use.
The most frequent improvements are:
- Whenever you need to replace an electrical device or household appliance , opt for versions with a high energy class (this corresponds to the type A +++ energy labels that you can easily recognize in stores)
- Choose energy-saving LED bulbs
- Turn off and unplug electrical appliances you are not using. For simplicity, you can plug them into a multiple socket with switch.
- Wash your clothes cold . Most laundry does not need to be done at a high temperature (with a few exceptions such as linens). Choose a cold cycle or the “eco” mode of your washing machine if it has one. Even if the wash takes longer, you will save energy as the name suggests.
- Take shorter showers . Just reducing your daily shower by a minute or two can save you several dozen dollars a year.
The savings achieved through these techniques can be interesting and are always worth taking, but keep in mind that the amounts are quite low.
You will generally be able to save several tens of euros per year, while preserving the planet.
If your water bills tend to be a bit high, there are also a few tips for reducing them.
Most of the advice is fairly well known: do not let the water run when brushing your teeth or shaving. Or take shorter showers.
Among the most effective tips, I recommend:
- Replace the head of your shower head with a water-saving hand shower
- You can also use a faucet aerator / aerator to add air to the water flow. This will give you a more stable flow which will allow you to use less water. They are generally very easy to install and cost only a few dollars.
- Running full machines rather than doing small machines too frequently. Be careful not to overload it.
- Ditto with the dishwasher : be sure to fill it well before launching it.
Remove your banking information from all websites
One of the fastest ways to spend money on impulse today is by saving your credit card information on your favorite shopping sites .
The request is often made to you after your first purchase ( “register your bank details to facilitate your next purchases “). Then, every time you surf these sites, purchases will be just one click away
Instead, refuse to save your information to force yourself to go get your wallet, pull out your card, and manually enter all your numbers.
This will allow you to procrastinate your shopping and wonder if you really need this inflatable watermelon shaped buy.
Buy used Items
The occasion still has too often a bad reputation today.
We are of course not talking to you about buying second hand toothbrushes or toilet covers. But in reality, many purchases are much more profitable, rational and interesting to make second-hand rather than new.
If you are looking to buy a car , DIY tools, video games or books, furniture or home decorations, you will save huge amounts of money over the years by purchasing these second hand products .
Once these objects are integrated into your daily life, you will not even notice the difference.
And in addition, you will do something for the planet.
Play sports at home
If you have a gym membership and go there very regularly, congratulations!
But if you pay 40 € or more every month to only go there once or twice a month, it may be time to ask yourself the question of the relevance of your subscription .
Find out if your gym or gym offers single entry prices, without subscription. Even if you would really like to go to the gym more often, this system may be more realistic and interesting for you.
If not, know that there are plenty of ways to exercise at home for free and without equipment , which will allow you to stay in shape without wasting money in an underused gym.
Use cashback sites
Cashback sites pay you a reward in euros every time you go through a link on their site (or automatically through browser plugins) to buy things online.
Websites such as Poulpeo.com or iGraal.com will therefore allow you to save money every time you buy something on the internet from a partner merchant.
The transaction remains perfectly secure, since you finalize your purchase directly on the merchant site. The rest of the process is transparent to you.
Sell your unused items
Human beings have a visceral fear of running out of something.
The result : our homes and closets are full of things we never use, but which we keep anyway for fear of “ever needing them.”
In reality, this clutter pollutes your physical but also mental interior. This is one of the reasons why minimalism is more and more popular.
But getting rid of your unused items can also be a big plus for your wallet.
Today there are many sites and applications that allow you to sell your items easily on the internet.
For example Momox allows you to resell your books, CDs, DVDs or other old media which have probably been gathering dust for several years in your cupboards.
For clothing, Vestiaire Collective and Vinted are also references to get rid of everything you don’t or no longer wear.