I particularly agree with the strategies listed in Post #9, and I adhere to most of them myself. A simple strategy for saving money is to ALWAYS put a specific amount aside from each paycheck (or allowance) in order to build a nest egg that will continue to grow. This amount should be protected at all costs, no matter the necessity or desire to spend it on other things, no matter what emergency or urgency may arise. I have also practiced another simple savings procedure for many years: I always clear my pockets of loose change each day, placing it in a large jar and refusing to every use it. I have taken several nice vacations over the years after cashing in the change saved over a period of a few years.
A "set of strategies" would imply strategies for multiple aspects of personal finance management. In other words, a strategy for saving money on large and small expenses, credit expenses, grocery expenses, banking and savings accounts, investment and charitable giving expenses. A set of strategies for these aspects of personal finance might look something like what follows.
- Rent instead of own to save on upkeep, mortgage insurance and public utilities costs.
- Rent one level below your optimal cost range (especially since a rental "bubble" seems to be building due to foreclosed families flocking to rentals): If optimal is $1200 a month, choose a rental for $1000 a month.
- Used cars purchases save money overall, if less that five years old and carefully inspected by a reputable mechanic.
- Furniture purchases that are "assemble" yourself save on housing expenses and can often be found at discounted prices online, as can electronics.
- Use no credit cards unless you are certain you can pay the balance from your next pay cycle on or by the card's due date.
- Grocery purchases should eliminate all that is unnecessary for healthful, home-cooked meals, desserts and snacks.
- Checking accounts should be free accounts with no fees attached and should be set up with an attached savings account that automatically transfers a minimal (or greater) amount.
- Balance checking accounts but for expenditures, start your checkbook registry from $0 with each pay cycle and transfer the previous month's positive balance into savings.
- Make investments through discount brokerage houses, e.g., Charles Schwab, or through online brokers that allow for partial share purchases.
- Charitable gifts can include appliances or household goods that are in good order but that you want to upgrade; Goodwill and Salvation Army accept anything from cars to refrigerators to blankets.
Now. This is a set of strategies for saving money. There can be fuller detail, or different detail, but this is a set of strategies for the various aspects of personal finance that will save money. One caveat: If you spend what you save, it is not saving. You must continue to save what you save in order for it to be savings.
All the previous ideas are great, and I wish I could stick to them myself.
I think one of the most important ways to save and accumulate money is to live within your means, and even underneath your means if possible. One of my biggest expenses is food; I like to eat, and I hate to eat the same things day after day. This means that I often shop more than is necessary, and when you shop, you tend to spend more than you intend. To cut down on shopping sprees, I have been trying to limit my food to specific dishes, made from scratch every day. I buy all-beef or all-chicken hot-dogs in bulk and chop them into mixed vegetables for a fast meal, and I eat a lot of beans and whole-wheat noodles. I can get many condiments from the dollar store, and I make an effort to limit my junk food to weekends (not that I always succeed). I guess what I'm trying to say is make a list and stick to it; treat yourself within reason on weekends. Remember what Dave Ramsey says: "Live like no one else, then later you will be able to live like no one else."
I think the best way to save money is to have an deal with your money intentionally instead of using money to react to situations. The best way to institute a savings plan is to follow the strategy of "pay yourself first". When you get your paycheck the first thing you should do is set aside savings first, instead of last like most people do. By being intentional about your savings plan, you will adapt your budget around that plan instead of trying to find money to save at the end of the month.
I find that most people spend entirely too much money of food. Some basic strategies to save money there include: shopping with lists and not impulse buying, shopping clockwise around a store instead of the traditional counter clock wise manner (stores spend a lot of money designing layouts that direct you to the higher priced products early in your trip), using cash instead or credit or debit cards to ensure that you don't exceed your food budget, utilizing coupons to help defray the cost of groceries, and severely limit the amount of meals you "eat out".
Saving money can be hard for anyone who struggles with unneeded items or indulgences. That said, with the state of the country today, many are struggling with the essentials. Suggestions to save money are as follows:
-Make lists for shopping and stick to the list (and don't shop hungry).
-Eliminate any unnecessary reoccurring bills (premium television packages, for example).
-Eat at home.
-Buy in bulk.
-Shop at second-hand stores.
-Walk, or bike, when an option.
-Purchase items which are not name brand.
Learn to stick to whatever money saving strategy you choose. We used a long term goal in savings, a short term goal in checking or an extra savings account, and the money in the checking was fair game to be spent. If you are looking for more ways to cut expenses, use things like baking soda to brush your teeth or to wash laundry. Find an expense book which should have suggestions in it for helping to save money on cleaners etc. Buy clothes which can be hung up to dry instead of dry cleaned. Shop at second hand stores for clothes or try garage sales if you have the time. Make a list before you go shopping for anything so that you don't impulse buy. We've all had to learn to do this, so good luck.
One way you can save money is to make a plan, and stick to it. For example, let’s say you plan to go out to eat once a week. Stick to the plan, and you won’t spend money going out to dinner. This is similar to making a budget, but different. A budget is deciding how much you want to spend. A plan, on the other hand, is more like how often and where you want to spend money.
One of the best ways to save money is to do things yourself.
A lot of food products will up their prices for the sake of convenience. For example, buying a whole chicken as opposed to pre-cut chicken parts will be significantly cheaper. (Anderson Cooper, see first link)
We get into the habit of making everything disposable and convenient. However, it is wasting money. Why buy bottled water when you can go to the sink or fridge and fill up a glass? Why buy apples cut up when you can just buy apples and cut them? If you put yourself in money-saving mode, you will be surprised how many things you can save on. You just have to stop and think before you buy.
A very common way to save small amounts of money is to stuff money into a jar. This is not exactly a financial strategy, but it can become one if you use a savings account instead of a jar.
Most banks offer an automatic transfer service allowing customers to move money from a checking to a savings account on a recurring schedule. You can set the amount at a chosen level, $5 or $500 dollars. This is a good way to build a savings account.
The classic strategy for saving money is making a budget.
When you need to save money, you can start by taking stock of exactly what it is you absolutely must buy in any given time period. Then you determine how much you will need to spend on those “must-haves.” From there, you have to decide how much money you are going to allow yourself for things that are not really necessary, like entertainment or treats. Once you have this, you have to stick to it. You should take the money that you make and put whatever you make over the amount that you have budgeted in the bank. Then be disciplined and do not spend more than you have budgeted for.