Budgeting 101: 5 Painless Ways to Save

This is a problem that people have been facing for as long as humanity has been spending. It’s time for a vacation, but there’s nothing in the bank. You...

This is a problem that people have been facing for as long as humanity has been spending. It’s time for a vacation, but there’s nothing in the bank.

You need a new car, but you haven’t saved a penny in years. And maybe something even more serious has reared its head that you just don’t have the cash to deal with.

You probably saved when you were a kid because maybe you only got a couple of dollars a week, but since then you’ve gotten out of the habit.

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Don’t worry, we totally get it. You’ve got bills, you’ve got kids, you’ve got to eat. And after a long week you just want to treat yourself to a drink or a movie.

We can see where the cash goes, and we understand. But saving has its benefits. You never know what’s going to crop up in the future, and it’s always reassuring to have that cushion.

So with that in mind, here’s five painless things that you can do to save some money.

1. Cancel Your Gym Membership:

I know that there tends to be two different types of people that have an active gym membership, and I think that this particular piece of advice really applies to both.

First of all, there is an awful lot of people that are shelling out for a gym membership but are rarely, if ever, actually making use of it.

We’ve all been there, maybe it was after a week long vacation where you ate out every night of maybe it was as a New Year’s Resolution.

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All of us have thought about joining a gym to get in shape and a lot of us have actually gone through with signing up.

Well, if you’re one of those people who is constantly telling themselves that they will make time to get to the gym and not ever doing it, it’s time to cut that out of your list of bills.

It’s just an unnecessary expense that you’re getting nothing in return for. And if you’re one of those people who does actually use the gym, you should consider re-thinking it too.

You’d be surprised by how much productive exercise you can get done at home, with little to no equipment.

Even if it’s bodybuilding or strength training, there’s plenty of bodyweight exercises that will work for you if you know what you’re doing.

And in terms of cardio, I know all of these modern treadmills have TVs on them, but you can always run out in the fresh air.

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2. Sell The Stuff You Don’t Need

Look around you. You’ve probably got an awful lot of stuff in that room that you never use. And there’s probably even more in the rest of your house.

Seriously, think about it. Just like the gym memberships I talked about, we are constantly buying stuff that we don’t ever end up using.

Think about what’s in your kitchen. Is there a food processor in the back of your cupboard that you haven’t touched in over a year? There probably is.

What about that fine China you bought for that one big party you were throwing? It’s been gathering dust on the shelf ever since.

And in your garage, do you have a set of tools you bought to try your hand at some DIY? That you’ve never actually used because you know the professionals will do it better?

These are just some examples of course, but you get the idea. We all have some stuff lying around that’s just taking up space.

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You might not use any of it, but someone else probably will. We’re well past the days of yard sales now, it’s much easier to sell your stuff now that we’ve got the internet.

eBay and Craigslist are probably the two most well-known sites for online selling but more are popping up all the time. Facebook has a new ‘garage sale’ service that does something similar.

Also, you might think that you can’t sell stuff you don’t use anymore because it’s out of date, but there’s a market for that stuff too.

If you’ve got anything like old toys, board game, video games, VHS tapes and other vintage stuff, they will actually sell very easily because there’s people out there who are collectors.

And if you don’t think you have anything like the stuff I’ve mentioned, you’ve almost certainly got some clothes you don’t wear anymore.

So this is definitely not only a great way to save, but it’s a great way to declutter your home too.

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3. Look Out for Discounts

You may not think you’re entitled to any kind of discounts from anywhere, but you’d probably be surprised.

First of all there’s the obvious ones. If you’re a student, a teacher, if you’re in the military or are a senior citizen, you’re pretty much guaranteed to find discounts everywhere.

From movie theaters to restaurants to bus, train and tram services, so many different industries offer pretty significant discounts to those specific groups.

Even if you don’t fit into any of these categories, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t certain discounts out there available to you.

More often than not it will be something related to your job. Check with your employer, there could be things you should be paying less for than you don’t even know about.

It would also be worth asking wherever you’re shopping or eating if there is any discounts on offer and if you apply for them. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!

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And also, despite what people might be saying, coupons are far from obsolete. In fact, with the rise of the internet, it’s more an evolved industry than a dead one.

So keep an eye out for that and if you’re a regular customer anywhere, so many places offer loyalty cards which can help cut your spending in the long run.

4. Cook for Yourself

Have a think to yourself about how much you spend on food every single week. And I’m not talking just about groceries.

That might be something you’re spending a lot on too, but in terms of eating out, most of us could stand to do that quite a bit less.

It’s very easy to spend too much on lunch. If there’s a Subway or any kind of deli near where you work, it saves you time to just get lunch from there instead of making your own.

And it’s no scandal to say that it’s probably more enjoyable too. You’ve only got so many hours free in the evenings and no one wants to think about adding extra work to their morning routine.

It just doesn’t really feel worth the effort to put an extra meal together when you could just get a better one for yourself at lunchtime later on.

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But trust me, the savings are worth those few extra minutes in the long run. And this doesn’t really just apply to lunch.

Some evenings you’re just not in the mood to cook and you’d rather just order some takeout. That’s fine every once in a while but it all adds up.

If you learn how to cook a few good meals though, you’ll probably start to prefer cooking for yourself than spending money on takeouts.

And on top of the money issue, it’s a lot healthier too.

5. Invest

I don’t just mean invest in anything, invest in the stocks that are worth your money. There’s a smart, cost-effective way to invest that will lead to returns.

If you take all of the other advice in this article, you’ll be left with quite a bit more money than you had before.

Now just keeping that in a savings account is a perfectly fine approach, but you could invest it wisely too. You could end up with even more savings after very little effort.

What I’d be looking for if I was you, are stocks that high dividend yielding. What this means, is that the stocks you’re investing in will regular payout from their own profits.

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As opposed to investing in certain stocks with the hopes of eventually selling those for more than the amount you paid, dividend yielding stocks will guarantee some returns.

A company that pays dividends is one that is shareholder friendly. It’s a company that has the confidence in itself to generate profits and is willing to give back to its investors.

If you’re investing to make some extra money, as a means to save for retirement for example, then dividend-yielding stocks are ideal for you.

This article on suredividend.com goes into detail on how you can find the best high dividend stocks.

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