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4 Small Ways to Save Money (That Really Add Up)

April 27, 2021

When money is tight and you're feeling the squeeze of having less to spend, there are some strategies you can employ to make your life easier.  Clearing out, saving in small ways, becoming adept at fixing your belongings, and being more disciplined can help you make your money stretch further and do more for you.

1. Have a clear-out. Go through your things and get rid of stuff you don't want, need, or use.  Join your local swap and buy or connect with a friend for a garage sale.  While you won't get top dollar for your used items, you can usually get something, and people are often happy to purchase gently used items if they feel they're getting a bargain. You will come out with more cash and less clutter in your space.  Once you have cleared out your stuff, make a commitment to not replace it with more stuff.  If you don't need it, you can live without it. Reduce your exposure to the places you are likely to impulse-buy.  If you don't see the things you want, you are less likely to spend your money.  

2. Take a tough-love approach with yourself. Track your spending and put a note on your debit or credit card to remind yourself why you are not spending, so every time you take it out, you can ask yourself if this purchase is necessary. If you think you might need it, try waiting a week; if you feel no pressing need, see if you can wait one more week.  Maybe you will find you don't need to make the purchase at all, and that money can stay in your bank account, where it belongs.

3. Find ways to save small. Saving big is great, but you usually have to spend big to save big.  "Saving small" means looking at each transaction or activity and finding small ways to cut down on your spending.  Get the (slightly) cheaper coffee, see if your internet provider can cut you a deal, consume less, and return all your empties for the deposit refund.  None of these will save you a ton of money, but together they can add up to a few more dollars a week in your pocket. 

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4. Make your stuff last longer. The things you have are going to wear out, but that doesn't necessarily mean they have outlived their usefulness.  Invest in some basic repair skills and equipment.  With wood glue, you can fix bookcases, drawers, or picture frames. With a needle and thread, you can sew on a button or mend a seam to extend the life of your wardrobe. Learn to repair small appliances or trade your services with a neighbor or friend who has the skills you don't. Making your things last longer reduces the need to spend your hard-earned money on new things.

Living on a small or reduced budget isn't easy, but it can be done.  You will have to make some changes and adjust your lifestyle. Take stock of what you need and get rid of anything you don't. Keep the things you have in good shape or learn how to fix them.  Focus on saving money on the small things; you don't have to go big. Set rules for yourself and stick to them.