Practical Easy Ways to Save Money - Guides, Tips, Best Saving Methods

There are lots of ways to save money and lots of advice, so I won't bore you with all the details and strategies.

Instead the aim of this article is to list the key methods, tips and ideas that work for most people. This provides a practical list of what is known to work.

This guide will jog your memory and keep you on track to meet you savings goal.

To quote a famous song - 'from little things big things grow'.

Saving money requires major changes, but all the pennies and cents added to your piggy bank all add up.

So tips and guidelines do work to help your save. You can do it!

Be Happy Saving Money
Be Happy Saving Money. Source: Public Domain

Best Ways to Save Money

Maintain your Discipline - Research has shown that many people who save on various purchases spend their savings on other things. You need a strategy to avoid this and put the savings away 'in the piggy bank' so you won't be tempted.

Use a coupon whenever you can but only to buy essential things that generate real savings -  Do your research as there are many money-saving opportunities are out there. What out for the traps of the discounts for bulk buys such as '5 for $10', '3 for $20'. Think about how this is likely to work for the seller. They can be genuine clearances (but look closely as the 'use by dates'). However mostly they are for 'luxury' items to encourage excess consumption. It you buy 5 bottle of a cola drink you will drink more of it. It you buy 5 packets of pasta this could be a genuine bargain because you will not tend to overeat pasta and you an store it in your larder. Bulk buys are genuine savings only for essential items.

For online purchases, stick to the reputable retailers and choose very carefully to verify the savings -  You will save nothing with inferior goods or if you cannot return an item. Check on the delivery costs and do your sums.

Shop around and Use the Internet and Shopping apps - The internet is a wonderful tool for finding products and retailers and comparing prices and delivery deals. It is important to know where to shop and where to inspect goods and items you want to purchase even if you do not want to buy the goods from that retailer because they are too expensive. Many websites allow you to compare prices. There are now some fabulous smartphone apps that allow you to scan a barcode as see price comparisons for the item in your local area.

Always Take a Rain Check before you Buy - Do your research and price comparisons and then take a rain check for 24 hours to carefully reconsider whether you really need and can afford the item. Never buy things on a whim or impulse. Avoid the main entrances at the supermarket or stores which are littered with impulse buying traps. Always reconsider before buying.

Keep a running list of gift ideas for your loved ones and set a cap - When you ave done the prior research and you are confident that a gift is ideal and within your budget you will be much less likely to overspend. Shopping at the last minute is likely to cost you more and be much less suitable.

Budget and Keep a List of What you Spend Money on -  It is important to know what you are really spending in comparison with your budget. If you use online purchases you can use the bank account to track what you spend money on. T here are many excellent computer programs and smartphone apps that allow you to record expenditure in comparison with your budget. 

Keep your Wallet or Purse Empty -Avoid the temptation. An empty wallet or purse means that you have to think again before making a purchase. However small withdrawals from ATMs can cost a lot of money in fees. Online purchases are generally free.

Transfer you Account to a Bank or other Provider that has the lowest fees - Do some research and you may be shocked at what your account is costing you. Find a provider that provides adequate service and convenience and with minimal fees.

Force Saving for the future - Set up an automatic transfer of 10% of your salary to a savings account. You will be amazed at how you can do without these funds when they are missing. You can always tap into the reserves for an emergency.

Pay all you bills and costs by fortnightly installments (whenever you get paid) - This will help with budgeting and will avoid the trap of using a credit card to pay a large monthly or yearly bill. You can set up payment installments in your account and make them automatic if this suits you. Otherwise you can make the payments manually every time you get paid. This is a good way to budget and it provides a reality check to make sure you can pay all your bills before the discretionary items.

Plan ahead for Christmas and Emergencies - You should try to set aside money each week for these items. Even a small amount will add up if you do it regularly, and if you set a budget you will avoid overspending. Even a piggy bank helps to save all your change. 

Avoid Waste and Buying more than you Need -  Look carefully at what you are throwing out from your fridge or bench top. You may be better off buying less more frequently if this is not more costly. This is the opposite of bulk buying discounts which can lead to waste for the wrong type of goods.

Reduce your Consumption, Reuse and Recycle - Simplifying your lifestyle can curb the tendency to over-consume and waste money. You can save a lot of money by creatively reusing various items, repairing them, adapting them to other uses, rather than buying new items all the time.

Go Shopping without your Kids - This sounds very harsh, but your children will always add things to your shopping basket that you would otherwise not buy. Better still get your children to buy some items themselves for a limited budget. This will teach them that budgets are important and pf the need to always be aware of price. Sometimes they will find cheaper alternatives than you can find.

Keep on the Look Out for Lower Interest Rate Deals - If you are carrying a balance on a credit card try to get your provider to give you a lower rate. The same applies for your mortgage. Otherwise look to transferring to another provider that has lower rates. But beware of the 'honeymoon deals' as many companies only offer the reduced rates for 12 months and may then revert to a rate which is higher than you are paying now.

Shop around for Cheaper Quality Insurance - The rates you pay for home, car, life and health insurance can vary greatly between providers and there are always various new deals being offered. Do some research to check that you are getting the best rate. Many providers offer discounts for multiple services such as banking and insurance, but check on the details to be sure you have adequate coverage and a genuine good deal.

Cook at Home as often as you Can and get your Kids to Help with the Cooking- Eating out, take-away meals and convenience foods are an expensive and unnecessary trap. Cooking at home can be done quickly and meals such as curries and soups can be cooked in bulk and served for several meals. Get your kids to cook their favourite simple meals, which will help them stop complaining about what you are cooking. Convenience and prepared meals are generally of poor quality and are not sustaining. Manage your time better and some thoughts and recipe research will show you that home cooked meals are the best and certainly the cheapest if you avoid waste. Slow cooked meals are a good idea as they take very little time to prepare and they are ready to eat when you arrive home.

Make a List BEFORE going Shopping - You need to avoid impulse buying and this is the best way of only buying what you need within your budget. Always keep a running total of the items you have selected and to your basket. Shop with a list AND a budget. This will stop you overspending. When the money allocated begins to run low you may need to think carefully about the remaining items

Go Grocery Shopping when you have to meet a Deadline - If you have something pressing to do after shopping, squeeze in the grocery trip with a list will help you buying those extra items. This will allow very little time for wandering around the aisles and being tempted to buy things you don’t need.

Shop Online For Groceries if You can Get a Good Deal - Using an online option can save you a lot of money a you will still you will stick to the list. However check on the cost to make sure it is cost-effectve. You may miss out on some of the in-shop bargains but these items may not be what you really need anyway.

Buy in Bulk whenever Possible for Essential Items - You can save lots of money by taking advantage of bulk item discounts for non-perishable items such items as cereals, tinned goods, rice, beans, canned fish, toothpaste, shampoo, toilet paper, pasta, meat you can freeze, body wash, etc. But be careful you can afford the extra outlay to stock your pantry.

Buy Good Quality Generic Products whenever Possible - Generic brands are generally a good idea but make sure that the goods have high quality. Many of the items are simply junk at inflated prices. Try the items before bulk buying them. Genuine discounts of quality brands are the best buys. The seller's strategy driving the generic items is dodgy in many respects related to driving down the prices paid to suppliers and destroying traditional brands. Despite what is claimed it is not necessarily about reducing prices to customers but is more about maximizing profits. Always look for bargains on the less prominent shelves, many of which contain the genuine discounts on the brand items.

Consolidate and Pay off Your Debts as soon as possible - If you have long-standing debts, try to consolidate at a lower interest rate and paying it off just as soon you can. Money paid in inflated interest is money wasted.

Monitor your Bank Balance and Avoid Bank Fees - Be aware of your balance and ring your bank to avoid overdraft fees. Also avoid ATM fees and other bank fees by changing your bank financial institution. Choose credit cards with low fees, low interest rates and low annual fees.

Monitor and Regulate your Electric Use - You can save a lot by unplugging electric appliances when not in use and in many other ways.