In this post, I want to tell you the best 4 money saving tips that have helped me a lot and improved long-term my financial situation. Some of them are very concrete, others can be adapted to your own requirements.
I grew up in a very parsimonious family: I can still remember we didn’t have a TV when I was a small child, and it was an iconic event when my parents came home with it one day. We still kept it for more than 20 years (thank you Grundig for such quality!) despite it was a tiny and old box with bad sound.
And then came the time when my mother took me to the bank for the first time – I was still a child – and we opened a savings book account for me, where I could deposit huge amounts (of Italian lire, so not really worth anything but still impressive when one comic book cost 3.500 of them). Being instigated by stories of Uncle Scrooge, I loved to stare at the savings book and to imagine what to do with all that money.
Now savings books are outmoded and the younger generation cannot even imagine how it was when every country in the EU had a different currency, but my basic attitude is still the same as 30 years ago.
I can tell you that to lower my sights on expenses is not always as easy as I wish it was. So what keeps me going?
For any negative action, like not spending money for Amazon Prime Video*, I need a positive goal I want to reach. Saving – or building up assets – still isn’t enough for me; I have to visualize a specific goal in order to deprive myself from spending money.
Whether it’s for paying off the mortgage for your own property, a sailing boat trip around the world, or being able to pay yourself an unconditional basic income without the necessity to work after your 40s. Everyone has something that motivates them personally to save and invest. So if you’re at the start of saving money, you should be aware of what motivates you – this will help you stay on the right course for the years to come.
One of the biggest costs I always underestimated were monthly subscriptions, which can quickly add up to a considerable amount. Many of them were often not even necessary or the same service is cheaper elsewhere. Subscription are particularly “perfidious” when you pay in advance for a long time period, giving up to the promise that you will save lots of money by choosing a yearly subscription.
Subscription are not only limited to the digital world: public transportation, fitness center, magazines or newspapers are money-hungry services that engulf part of your earnings on a regular basis. Some of them are probably necessary for you, but you can check if you need all of them.
As since over one and a half years ago the obligation of working from the office ceased to apply, I cancelled the subscription to public transportation. When I have to go to the office, I can still ride my bike to reach it, or in exceptional situations – like very bad weather -, I can take the train and in the end I am still saving money.
One good advice is to send the cancellation already when you have just subscribed the service, at least I don't have to keep all notice periods in mind and sometimes the vendors come back to me with good offers if I withdraw the cancellation. What also helped me is to make a list of all my subscriptions, analog and digital, and sort out what I really needed. The others I don't need I terminate.
One of my biggest monthly variable costs is food, but the variance is given by how often I have lunch at work or order the food at takeaway’s. Depending on where I am, this can be more or less expensive. During my academic studies, in Italy as well as in Germany for a total of almost ten years, I have usually taken my lunch from home.
Nowadays, with a good basic income, I like to order food for dinner at least once a week. I am aware that doing so, I spend up to 100 Euro (25 Euro a week) every month when I could cook at home and so spend only 20 Euro in total, one fifth of the expenses. This is a tiny luxury I allow myself, fully aware that the amount adds up to over 1.000 Euro a year.
If you do a lot of things with your friends, this money saving tip will help you.
Often when I went out with friends, it was in combination with going to a bar or some other cost trap like Oktoberfest, Go-Kart or other expensive recreative activity. Now I prefer to invite friends to my place more often and they do the same, as they also enjoy just being together without the need of distracting ourselves with other activities. You can also cook for – or with – your friends and enjoy a good meal.
Additionally, you are not bound to opening hours and can also have an all-nighter.
I am not an extreme minimalist in the sense that I only want x things in my life and nothing more. For me, minimalism is about a mindful consumption. I do not need a new smartphone or laptop every year. Minimalism also helps me to get rid of things and sell them on Ebay-Kleinanzeigen, Vinted or other platforms.
I believe that everyone has things in their home they no longer need. If you add up the sale value of all these things, most households could end up with several thousand euros instead of having the garage, cellar or attic full of stuff they don’t need anymore. You kill two birds with one stone, you get pocket money and you have more space at home.
Are you already implementing one of the tips or a similar one?
* Was der Stern bedeutet: Ich bewerbe ausschließlich Produkte, von denen ich selbst überzeugt bin und die ich in vielen Fällen selbst nutze. Für Links, die mit einem * markiert sind, erhalte ich eine kleine Provision, wenn über den verlinkten Anbieter einen Vertrag bzw. Kauf zustande kommt. Für Dich entstehen dadurch keine Mehrkosten und ich kann so die Kosten fürs Hosting des Blogs oder für das Abo von Photoshop und Lightroom aufbringen. Als Amazon-Partner verdiene ich an qualifizierten Verkäufen.