10 money saving habits we try to live by

Finding ways to save money every month is always at the forefront of our thought process. For us, it might get too much of our attention. We are big on saving money whenever, however, and with whatever we can. Finding new money saving habits is the best way to do this.

Regular habits can help anyone saving money. When something becomes a habit, you don’t even think about it. You just yank out that cigarette on the child’s playground, bite your nails, and slouch forward while speaking with your mouth full. 

Disclosure: Those habits might actually get you in some trouble and we neither participate nor endorse those except for the whole thing about speaking with your mouth full. Sometimes there’s an important point to bring up in the middle of a dessert.

It’s good money saving habits we do agree with universally. These are ten of the ones we try to live by.

1) Money saving habit to live by: Lower your bills whenever you can

Things like an electric bill can add up quickly. We do our best to keep the bill low. We typically spend most of our time in the same room when we can so there aren’t a whole lot of lights on in the house. In the summers, we don’t run more than one air conditioner at a time with only the rare exception. Jenny will handwash some of her clothing to save from extra loads of laundry. Unused electronics are unplugged when not in use within reason. We don’t unplug the microwave unless it is being cleaned but still remove a laptop charger when not in use.

Finding good money saving habits with your electric bill is something everyone needs to think about. Limiting your usage, within reason, is simple enough. It’s something many of us are taught when we’re young because it’s good for the environment. As adults, it’s a money saving tactic.

Benjamin Franklin didn’t harness electricity just so you could spend more of him on it.

2) Money saving habit to live by: Don’t buy it just because it’s on sale

This is a bad habit of my father’s. Because it is on sale, it must be right for him! The problem with this is you end up buying a lot of things you didn’t need or want. I’m pretty sure I’ve never even seen him wear a sundress but boy does he love to buy ‘em when Nordstrom’s is practically giving it away for free.

Sales are great but don’t get caught up in buying something just because it is cheaper. Knowing what you like and what you need is important to finding good money saving habits.

3) Money saving habit to live by: Do wait for the sale to take place

Contradictory, eh? If there is something you want to buy but don’t need immediately, it can’t hurt to wait for a sale. Timing purchases can be difficult. It’s like timing the stock market or a fart. Sometimes you get it right. Most of the time, you disrupt a moment of silence.

There is a bit of fear that you may only see the price on Amazon go up the longer you wait. Then there are times when you see something at the store only to return to make the purchase a week later and it’s not even there. That’s why it’s important to at least know the difference between needs and wants. Most fall into the latter.

You may need me but what you don’t need is this antiquated piece of candy.

4) Money saving habit to live by: Shop around

House of Pain asked you to jump around. We’re telling you to shop around. Shopping around at different places is a great way to save some money. There are certain products Jenny and I will buy from one place and not another. We lightly track how much certain foods might cost at one place as opposed to another. We get our fruits and vegetables from one place, our meats from another, and a few other items from yet a third place. With the rising cost of gas, this can become a strain on your transportation budget if the places aren’t so close together. We do try to take advantage of any stop we may make for a purchase. We try to get as much as we can out of any trip to a store.

This can become militant if you really want to ensure you are indeed getting the best prices available. Jenny and I haven’t gotten quite to that level yet. We are content with making a mental note of things and not stressing too much about the dollar difference from one place to another.

5) Money saving habit to live by: Know that you’re meeting your financial goals

We all have different financial goals. This is probably the most important money saving habit to live by so please allow me to throw it right into the middle.. Without goals, what are you striving toward? Saving electricity is simple and so is knowing where the cheapest pears are available. Having goals is a little harder. You need to have an endgame but also be reasonable.

Each purchase should involve your financial goals to some extent. Are you planning to make a big purchase soon? If so, you might want to eat some cheaper meals for a couple of weeks. Even if you do track expenses or have a budget, you need to be on top of things from a reasonable standpoint. Everyone should aim to do more than break even every month. Having some set goals can help you get there and see what needs to improve and what’s going right.

Be sure to celebrate when you hit your goals. Just don’t go too hard. You don’t know who you might wake up next to.

6) Money saving habit to live by: Buy the right brand

Generic food is fine. Oatmeal from your local grocery store’s warehouse tastes just as good as the boujee one your neighbors the Rockefellers eat for breakfast. Generic medicine usually is okay, too. Just check the ingredients to make sure they are the same. A phone from a company you have never heard of might be a little bit different when it comes to branding. A Samfung phone or an iMad might not be the product you’re actually looking for.

You can usually find a more generic brand of many of life’s basic necessities. It’s only when we get into more premium products when you should go with a trusted brand people are familiar with. Netfrix doesn’t have anything worth watching.

7) Money saving habit to live by: Find alternatives

There is usually a free version of something inexpensive out there or an inventive way to fix just about anything. Why buy a new sweater when you can probably find something for free on a Facebook “buy nothing” group in your local community? Finding alternative solutions that are either cheaper or completely free is always something to consider when developing good money saving habits.

The library, for example, is the best way to find new movies or TV shows for absolutely free. Yes, you will need a DVD player of some kind which might make you feel like you’re living back in 2008. It’s still far cheaper (because it’s free) than to go to the theater or even subscribe to a streaming service. Take advantage of those opportunities.

Most libraries aren’t even haunted.

8) Money saving habit to live by: Stay out of debt

Stay out of debt. By any means necessary, don’t owe anyone or any entity a penny. It’s never a good feeling to realize someone has a debt of any kind over you. Even emotional debt is a draining feeling. Pay them off this instant.

Some debts are difficult to avoid. Life happens. Pay it off as quickly as you can. A home is a little bit different and even some medical debt can come calling at unexpected times even when you are the best saver. When you can, stay away from I.O.U.’s. It’s the interest that will take you down.

9) Money saving habit to live by: Find more affordable times to do things

Matinees at theaters are great. You can see a new movie at an unideal time for cheaper. Whenever Jenny and I book a vacation, we always consider the option of staying overnight on any day but a Friday or Saturday because those nights tend to have much higher hotel rates. Plus, there’s fewer seating options at the free breakfast. We always stay somewhere with a free breakfast.

As long as your schedule has the flexibility, look for other times to do things. Visit the beach in the offseason when you don’t have to pay for parking and arcade games are half price. Who wants to be at a crowded beach anyway? It just increases the chance some kid will kick sand in your face.

Beach umbrellas are good for protecting you against the sun and tourists like this.

10) Money saving habit to live by: Prepare for unexpected changes

Don’t live your life always expecting the worst. Instead, be prepared for it–or at least the unexpected changes. A good money saving habit is to always look to add to your emergency fund. Jenny and I haven’t quite figured out our ideal total. A reason for this is we aren’t definite on what the future holds nor is anyone except for our neighbor Nostradamus Jones. He insists the world ended in 2012.

You don’t have to prepare for doomsday nor do you have to think about what could go wrong with every decision you make. Minor things like buying the more expensive brand of ice cream isn’t going to derail you from any good money saving habit you may already live by. Awareness is really what matters. When you don’t have a clue as to what you’re doing, that’s when a bad habit emerges.

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