This article was written for BAF and is not available anywhere else. Enjoy 10 ways to save money by Will Passmore This article will describe ten ways to save money. Techniques include cutting down expenses, avoiding materialistic things, and even changes of mindset. These techniques can apply to anyone. 10. Create a current and future budget plan. Basically, you want to record all of your current expenses. This should include food and beverage payments, necessary payments such as house utilities, and everything else. You should also take into account your “walk around cash”, which is the cash you spend randomly for things you may not have foreseen - An extra taxi ride. A bottle of water, or perhaps some Tylenol you may buy when you have a migraine. Your future budget plan should be your projection of how much you can realistically spend. Your budget plan should be based on how much you currently are spending, and then minus some. Try to cut down, but only if your cuts are appropriate and attainable. You should first cut down extras that you don’t need. For example your walk around cash, or money you pay for a habit (smoking, coffee, etc). 9. Don’t take your wallet with you One of the worst things about having a wallet in your pocket when you are out and about is that you will be more willing to spend money. You may be willing to buy a drink you really don’t need. Perhaps you’ll see some hat in the mall and buy it impulsively. However, without a wallet you won’t buy that extra drink and you’ll avoid buying the hat you’ll get bored of in a couple weeks anyways. 8. Bring water, carry snacks If you’ve lived for long enough to understand concepts you’ll understand this. If you don’t eat or drink anything for a while, you will get hungry and thirsty. If you are out of the house, you will probably consider heading into a store to purchase food or a drink. That food expense will probably cost a few bucks, at least. And even that bottled water, which isn’t actually from that pictured waterfall, is going to cost a few dollars too. If you go out a lot, you’ll save a lot of money from just bringing your own food and a large bottle of water. Each day at work, I get a thirty minute break for lunch. I used to not pack lunch and so I would head to a cafe or cheap food place to get my grub on. Each day I would spend anywhere from $5-10 depending on where I went. Let’s say that I only spent $3 per meal though. In 30 days of work, I would have spent $90 on food and water. I soon noticed that after spending $200 in a month ($6-7 per day) on lunches, that I always had extra food in the house. Once I started packing my lunch and bringing my own water, I realized that I had an extra couple hundred dollars to spend/save. 7. Saving money on one thing doesn’t mean you should spend it on another In the last example you read about how I saved $200 by just packing my own lunch and bringing water with me to work. Some people would think like this: “Oh I just saved $200. Now I can spend that $200 on some new ______.” I highly suggest you do not think like this. The point of this guide is not for you to cut back on one thing, just to spend it on another. Now, if that $200 is going towards something important or something you long for, then that’s another story. Generally though, you should put each dollar you save into some sort of savings account, or “funds for the future” jar. Now, I said I stopped spending $200 a month on lunch. However, I really only work 22 days of the month (weekends off). I was spending an average of $6.66 a day on lunch. 22 multiplied by 6.66 equals $146.66. Now if you multiply that by the 12 months of the year it equals $1,759. I did the math and by taking into account the amount of money I’d spend on packing my own lunch and water, I would realistically have $1,172.16 saved in one year of just packing up a brown bag for each day of work. This concept also works with: Brewing your own coffee, growing your own vegetables, buying things (that you know you’ll need) in bulk, and a lot more. 6. Don’t use your car X days of the month We’re going to work off of not using your car at least 12 times a month, or 3 days without your car per week. Let’s reasonably say that in one day you drive fifteen miles in your car. Realistically, two days would be around a gallon (if you’re green). The average of one gallon is around $2.80. So, by not driving your car 12 days of the month (or saving 6 gallons) you are saving $16.80 per month. Other ways to save money on gas include planning your trips out to drive the least amount of miles each time, car pooling, driving on highways (instead of stop and go types of roads), and many other things. 5. Do it yourself Many customers in stores do not realize that they buy items that can be easily created (with cheaper supplies) or serve a purpose that provides comfort instead of superb efficiency. These items are often highly priced. Before you go to Home Depot, or a supply store, I urge you to read tutorials online on how to construct your current project, cook a certain meal, etc. For example, some recipes claim you need to use “Extra Virgin Olive Oil”. However, many cooks have said that using cheap no-name olive oil is just as good and will not change the taste of the food significantly enough to notice. Whatever you are doing, make sure you do your research because you may save some cash. By doing this, I saved $4 on a meal just by exchanging one substance on the recipe (not Olive Oil). The meal tasted better. By researching each meal and planning my food budget so everything is used, I save around $30 a month, at least. 4. The Blindfold Taste Concept The blindfold taste test is something that cooks do very often. They will put a bunch of volunteers at a table and have them taste different foods, drinks, etc. They will ask them to record what they think each one is. Often the drinks may be the same flavors, but different brands. And very often the volunteers get confused and answer incorrectly. Next time you are at a market, a technology store, or something else, make sure you metaphorically put a blindfold on. Keep in mind that often ‘name brands’ are only popular because of their ‘name’. For example, as an Apple Fanboy, I will admit that no-name MP3 players and phones are just as good (not in all cases, but many). Instead of buying a iPod back in the day, I honestly could have purchased a Zune and received a better product. The interface may have been annoying, but the hardware was actually better (in a Zune vs one of the iPod version comparisons; this is proven). You would be surprised how many people think that ‘name brands’ are much better. I work at a store that sells supplies and technology and I can tell you that those assumptions are far off a lot of the time. So, save yourself some money and don’t go for the name brand. Go for the best product, even if it’s cheap price tag makes you think it’ll fall apart. Most likely it won’t. This is not something you can do every day, but I’ve personally saved a few hundred dollars over the years doing this. 3. Realistic Subscriptions After being involved in the ‘hosting community’ I have noticed something very common in people’s purchases. When they see ‘unlimited’, they are more likely to spend money, than if there’s a limit. Even if the limit is something they’ll never reach, they’ll pay more for having a plan that is considered ‘unlimited’. Whether it is for your internet, television, phone, website hosting, gym membership, or anything else; Be realistic. There is no point in paying out extra cash for something you’ll never fully appreciate. If I am only going to go to the gym 12 times per month, I’d rather pay $19.99 a month instead of upgrading to $24.99 (even if it’s only $5 more) to go for 30 months a day. Be honest. What do you actually need in your subscription plan? What will you use each month? Go from there. Don’t go for the ‘deal’ if it’s actually a ‘waste’ for you, personally. 2. Get Online Banking Online banking is a great way to check your funds quickly and regularly. You don’t need to record (on paper) each purchase, if you don’t want to. There’s no need to call the bank or go to their location to check your balance. Download the bank’s phone app or get their website’s URL and set up online banking for your account. Once you do that, you should regularly check your balance. I have gotten into the habit of checking my balance before every single purchase. Honestly, sometimes I’ll check my balance and then decide I actually don’t want to spend the cash I was previously ready to blow. I’ll be honest. I am wealthy. And I can honestly tell you that it is VERY easy to spend $1,000, even in increments of $5.83, or some other random number. Now? My balance only changes when I pay my bills or I purchase something I truly need/can afford without long-term consequence. 1. Save for something, but never buy it If you’ve ever saved for something, you may have noticed some increased motivation in your mindset. For example, when I needed a new computer, I put my money towards my goal of $1,200. I realized that after I set that goal, I stopped buying pointless things at the store and started allocating that saved cash towards my goal. Now, tip #7 tells you to not save on one thing and spend it on another. Please notice that saving on something and then later spending it is fine if you truly need the item. In my case, part of my salary requires a computer. However, setting that goal for a laptop motivated me. Once I got $1,200 I actually realized that I did not want the laptop I had originally chosen. I settled for a laptop $100 less and then put that $100 towards my regular life savings. If you set a goal for yourself you will naturally try to accomplish that goal. If you tell yourself that you aren’t saving for anything, then you will feel less of a consequence (in the moment) when you blow your cash on things you really don’t need. 0. Read this guide Read this guide, read other guides, and practice the techniques inside them. Saving money should become routine for you. It should get to the point where you could write an entire article on what works for you, and others, without even thinking about it much; like I just did. Using the techniques in this guide, I have (and this is 100% accurate) saved $2,463.60 in the last year. To cigarette smokers: If I cut out smoking cigarettes I would save (including the amount I just mentioned) a total of $4,653.60 per year. ($6 per pack).