a coin entering a piggy bank

Ideas For Saving Money: The 7 Best Ways to Easily Grow your Savings

Do you feel like no matter what you do, you just can’t seem to come up with good ideas for saving money? Are you out of ideas and looking for some new easy ways to save money? Look no further, because you are about to learn the 7 best ways to save that are guaranteed to help you start to grow your savings today.

The year before we got married, my husband and I really seriously started to save money. He and I had both worked hard to graduate from university without any student debt and were ready to start earning and saving for our life together. We had goals of owning a home and starting a family, but we were young and didn’t have high-paying jobs.

We also had not sorted out our finances yet. He and I had very different ideas of what it meant to earn, spend, and save money. This made for some interesting growth opportunities early on in our marriage.

At the time, we were living with my parents and I remember my husband doubting that we would ever be able to move out. However, the creative ways to save money that I am going to share with you here are practical strategies that we actually used to save money fast.

When it comes to saving money, a plan is crucial to achieving your goals! These strategies helped us start living the carefree financial lifestyle that we share to this day.

1. Create a Budget

If you are interested in ideas for saving money that will help you easily grow your savings, the first thing you need to do is create yourself a budget. Regardless of your situation, there are no money saving tips that you will find helpful if you do not have a budget.

Grow your savings by creating a budget.

Budgets tend to scare people because they require you to come face to face with just how much money you are spending each month and what you are spending it on!

However, taking ownership over each and every one of your hard earned dollars is crucial to saving money. Knowing that you are paying your bills and don’t have money left over for savings is not enough!

Now, you may be in a situation where you feel that you have very little to dedicate to your savings each month. You may be wondering how to budget money on low income. As you will see, there are many ways to save money on a tight budget. Budgeting is a necessity for saving money, regardless of the size of your income.

Getting Started with Your Budget Today

To get started, use a simple and effective budgeting template to write down each and every one of your expenses for one month. Take note of how much each expense costs. You should make sure that you include everything, no matter how small each expense may seem.

You should also have a spot in your budget for your income each month. Remember that your savings each month will be what is left after you subtract your expenses from your income.

To find your savings for the month, subtract your total expenses from your total income.

Tracking your expenses can be tricky to do if you are just getting started with budgeting. If you are looking to start a budget, the odds are that you may not know where you are spending your money. Don’t be embarrassed or allow yourself to feel any shame if you are in this situation! The fact that you are here and looking for ideas for saving money is what counts.

If you aren’t sure what your expenses are, declare that the first month will be your ‘data collection’ month. Use sticky notes to document each and every dollar you spend throughout the month and collect them in a jar. At the end of the month, sort through your jar and see how much you spent, and what you spent it on!

Group Your Expenses into Categories

Grouping your expenses into categories will help you see what types of things you are spending your money on. At the end of the month, you will be able to see where you are overspending, which will in turn help you increase your savings.

The one caution I offer is to stay away from vague categories. For example, having a category titled ‘Bills‘ is too general. Separating your water and hydro bills will give you extra insight into different ways you can reduce your expenses. If you are noticing that your hydro bill is too high, this will tell you that you need to find creative ways to use less electricity. More on this later!

Some examples of categories you might see in your budget are:

  • Groceries
  • Mortgage payments or rent
  • Insurance
  • Gas for vehicles
  • Clothing
  • Internet/phone bills
  • Take-out/eating-out

The trick when taking note of your expenses is to not think too much about changing your spending habits. Remember, you want to get a good baseline understanding of what your actual expenses are before you make any adjustments to your budget.

At the end of the month, take your total income for the month and subtract your expenses. This will tell you how much you have left over for your savings! The key is to ensure that you include all income and expenses in your budget. This will give you a clear picture of how much you have left over for your savings each month.

Your budget doesn’t have to be a big scary spreadsheet. The key is to keep things simple and accessible. Use a simple budget template to get started laying out your income and expenses for the month.

2. Separate Your Wants From Your Needs

You now have a budgeting tool that will summarize where your money is coming from and where your money is going. This will be your main tool as you continue to explore ideas for saving money. It may surprise you to find out that most of your ideas for saving money will come from your own budget!

With your budget, you can now see where you can start cutting down unnecessary spending. To do this, you need to separate your wants from your needs.

Your budget will help you understand what you need in your life, and separate it from what you want.

Wants vs. Needs

Separating wants and needs requires a little creativity and a lot of honesty. Wants are expenses that we choose to spend our money on. These are things that are not essential for survival, but give us joy or comfort.

Coffee runs and takeout are often two of the most common things people buy because they want them. Coffee and takeout are two purchases that can be avoided by simply making coffee or food at home.

You are already paying for your groceries anyways, so why not buy cheaper coffee and tastier food? Stop picking up coffee on your way to work, send your kids to school with lunch, and pack your own lunch for work.

Nobody likes to admit that they do not need the things they are spending their money on. However, if you take a good look at your budget, there are going to be some unnecessary expenses. This is where your categories are going to be handy. What are your highest categories? Are any of them wants? How many?

If any of your top 3-5 categories are wants, this will be your area of focus!

Some other common wants include:

  • Entertainment – how many streaming services do you subscribe to? Netflix? Disney Plus? Hulu? Apple TV? Cable? How many do you need?
  • Cell phone bills – how much do you pay per month for a data plan just to use the Internet on your cell phone?
  • Material goods – how much are you spending on other ‘stuff’?

When my husband and I got married, we did not pay for cable. Instead, we went splits on a Netflix subscription with my sister. We didn’t use data on our phones. Instead, we just connected to the Internet using wifi.

Now, I am not saying don’t grab a coffee every once in a while. Instead, consider making these purchases special ones when you meet up with friends or family. Consider ordering out for dinner once or twice a month instead of multiple times a week.

You could take this even further by ordering on the day of the week where there is a weekly deal on pizza. The trick is to adjust your budget to prioritize your needs, while balancing your wants.

Save the expensive coffee for special occasions.

3. The 30 Day Rule: Stop Impulse Buying

The most dangerous wants are the ones we don’t even realize we want … until we are buying them!

When it comes to ideas for saving money, stopping impulse buying is crucial. I believe that a large portion of the money that people spend comes from unplanned purchases. When we buy things on impulse, we do so because we think we want something in the moment. Meanwhile, if we step back and take the time to think, we can usually talk ourselves out of a purchase.

The 30 Day Rule is the most effective way to stop impulse buying. Essentially, the next time you are tempted by an impulse buy, stop and wait for 30 days. After 30 days, if you find yourself still interested in making the purchase, feel free to do it (as long as it is in your budget!).

This rule is effective because it forces you to consider what purchases are wants and what purchases are needs. Our brains love instant gratification, which makes them tough to work with sometimes. However, our brains are also quite smart, and can be reasoned with (with some trickery!).

4. Cut Down on your Grocery Bill

One of the easiest ways to save money is by making changes to the way you shop for groceries. There are many very easy ways to save money when grocery shopping.

Impulse Purchases at the Grocery Store

A common place impulse buying happens is at the grocery store. We’ve all gone shopping for milk and come back with everything needed for a Thanksgiving feast.

Grocery stores are smart with the way they arrange their stores. As you have probably noticed, they place all the irresistible junk food at the checkout. This way, exhausted adults have to decide whether it is worth it to argue and say ‘no’ to their kids. Adults also can’t say ‘no’ to their own cravings – especially after shopping around the grocery store for an hour.

One creative idea for saving money and putting a stop to impulse buying is ordering your groceries online ahead of time for pick up. Most major grocery stores offer this option these days. I love this service because it gives me the time I need to think hard about specifically what I need throughout the week.

Ordering groceries online also lets me consult and stick to my budget without being tempted by ice cream and BBQ chips. Not today ice cream and BBQ chips. Not today.

There are many creative ideas to save money on groceries.

Meal Planning to Save Money

One of the main reasons groceries are so expensive is because of the amount of food we buy. How much food do you throw away every week? It is so easy to buy food that you intend to eat, but never manage to before it goes bad.

Wasting food can be reduced by avoiding impulse buying at the grocery store. Meal planning is another highly effective idea for saving money at the grocery store. Not only will you only buy the food you need, but you will also be able to make sure what you are buying fits in with your budget for groceries.

When my husband and I started meal planning, we noticed that the amount we were spending on groceries decreased significantly. We also found ourselves eating less and throwing away less. We were surprised by how much food we were eating just because it was in the house. An effective meal plan can make a major difference for your budget and your lifestyle.

Actively Seek Out Cheaper Food

You would be surprised how easy it is to find cheaper food. There are coupons, sales, cheaper grocery stores, and (my favourite) generic brands! There are some generic brand items that taste identical to their name brand counterparts.

If possible, take some of your bigger and more expensive meals for the week and swap them out for cheaper meals (or meals with less ingredients). Pasta is a favourite in our house. Not only is it super cheap, it is also very versatile.

5. Delete Shopping Apps From Your Phone

While ordering and shopping online makes it easier to take the time to think about purchases, it has also made it harder and harder to use the 30 Day Rule. There are a ton of shopping apps out there that are designed to make items easier to buy. While this is convenient, having apps for shopping on your phone makes the temptation to shop when it isn’t necessary much greater.

Phones are an excellent distraction from pretty much anything that is boring. When we are bored, we poke. And when we poke, we shop. It doesn’t take long before you are debating with yourself whether that 50 inch TV that costs $750 is a want or a need. And with the right amount of boredom, you might just be able to convince yourself that it is a need.

One of the best and easiest ideas for saving money is to just delete all shopping apps from your phone. You can take it even further by setting up your phone to limit the amount of time it allows you to browse on certain apps and websites.

Remove online shopping apps from your phone.

When you have shopping at the click of a button, it makes spending money easier. Deleting apps and staying away from shopping websites will help you avoid the temptation to impulse buy. If you really need to buy something online, use the 30 Day Rule to think it through and buy it from your computer later on instead.

6. Cut Down Monthly Bills

When you look at your budget, it is possible that your most expensive categories each month are needs rather than wants. This is a good thing, because it means that you are already budgeting more effectively than many people. However, finding ideas for saving money will be a bit trickier for you.

Monthly bills can either be the same each month (phone bills, life insurance, etc.), or vary (water bills, hydro, etc.).

To lower the cost of a bill that is the same each month, ask yourself if it is possible to reduce the cost. A phone bill that costs $150 a month because you are paying for unlimited data so you can check Instagram all day is not essential. Instead, find a plan that allows you some data, but is much cheaper.

You also have some control over bills that vary each month. For example, your hydro bill can be cut down just by making sure that you turn the lights off when you aren’t home. Rather than leaving your air conditioner running, you consider hanging out in the basement when it is too hot. There are often small changes you can make that will make a big difference in the long run to your monthly bills.

7. Set a SMART Goal for Saving Money

It may seem silly for ‘set a goal’ to be the last tip on a list of ideas for saving money. Setting a goal is usually the first thing you do…right?

Hear me out.

Savings goals need to be smart. Not only do they need to be smart, but they also need to be SMART. If you aren’t familiar with them, SMART goals are goals that are:

  • specific
  • measurable
  • achievable
  • realistic
  • timely
SMART goals are specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely.

It would be very difficult to make sure your goals are achievable and realistic without going through the other ideas for saving money that I have shared. For example, if you told yourself that your goal is to save $5000 in 5 months, but your budget tells you that you are actually spending more than you are saving each month, this isn’t an achievable or realistic goal! Because of this, it is important to have a firm understanding of your budget and how much money you are saving each month.

Set a SMART Value-Driven Savings Goal

Alongside weight loss goals, money goals are one of the hardest to stick to. To help with this, one tip I have for sticking to your budgeting goals is to set a SMART and value driven goal for your savings. Value-driven goals are ones that are important to us and the values that we hold.

Consider this goal: I want to pay off my debt so that I can afford to buy more stuff.

This goal is not one that will help you save money. It will help you temporarily get you to a place where you can start to save money, but you will spend it on other stuff and likely end up in an endless cycle of debt.

A more value-driven goal might be: I want to pay off my debt in 1 year so that I can start to save money for my children’s education.

Wanting to be debt free so that you can support your family is a positive value-driven goal. In my experience, goals that are value-driven tend to be easier to achieve because they are important to the values we hold dear. This in itself is motivation to stick with the goal.

After applying all of the ideas for saving money from this list, you will have a working budget that will help you save money each month. You are now ready to set a SMART and value-driven goal.

Take the following example of a goal that could be set to save $5000 in 5 months. With an understanding of how much money you are saving this month, this goal is:

  • Specific: “I want to save $5000 in 5 months”
  • Measurable: “I will document how much I save each month”
  • Achievable: “I can use my budgeting tool to see that this goal is possible”
  • Realistic: “I have cut out almost $1000 a month in expenses, so this is realistic in 5 months!”
  • Timely: “I will be able to do this in 5 months”

You can set any goal, as long as it is important to you. If you don’t mind being in debt, being debt free isn’t a value you hold. As a result, you probably won’t find yourself achieving that goal. If paying off your credit card debt is your goal and it aligns with your values, you can do it with a clear budget and the tips I have shared here.

Bonus Tip: Remember to Be Honest With Yourself

You can only use these ideas for saving money with an open mind and willingness to put in the work. Saving money takes a willingness to be honest. You need to be honest with yourself in order to really understand your own habits and how you can change them to start saving money.

The hardest part is taking a good look at your spending habits and being honest with yourself. You need to be able to see where you are spending your money on things that you want and don’t necessarily need.

You need to hold yourself accountable to your budget and the potential for saving money each month. Remember that your attitude is your altitude when it comes to saving money!

I know how hard it can be to be honest with yourself when you are looking at a budget. My husband and I had the conversation with ourselves and each other.

This really challenged us to step outside of our comfort zones. However, because of these conversations, we were able to set up and maintain a budget that has helped us live and prioritize a financially free lifestyle.

Laying out a budget that prioritizes needs over wants, cutting out impulse buying, and cutting down on bills are all key ideas for saving money that will help you reach your savings goals!

Don’t forget to share this post with your friends and family on social media! If someone you care about is in need of some savings tips, this could be just what they need to make a major lifestyle change!

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