The Lifehacker book Google Group is going strong, with readers sharing suggestions and swapping tips on what hacks they use to get things done. Along those lines, reader Smokey shared money-saving strategies that help him stow away maximum dough. Smokey writes:
The amount of money I've been saving is incredible. Here are some of the cost-cutters I use.
1. Obviously, set up a budget. Thanks to you guys, I love using expensr for that purpose. Just by visually seeing what you spent, helps you quickly pick out all the little things that add up quickly.
2. This one is a combo:
A) Once I had all my financial affairs properly filter out, I started to follow the rule of 60, 10, 10 ,10 and of course, 10! Basically take 60% of your monthly paycheque and budget that out for all your expenses. Rent, Transportion, Groceries, etc. Next, 10% should go into your retirement savings, you're gonna need that cash! 10% should go into long term savings. This is emergency money in case everything goes wrong and you need quick access to real money. 10% more should go into short term savings, say 1 to 6 months worth of savings, then you'd be surprised what toys you can afford! Then last 10% should be your fun money! Enjoy life while you can ;) Of course, this won't work for everyone, so feel free to shuffle the numbers around until they do, just stick with 'em once you do. Sometimes you can even cut out the short term savings for now until you can fit it in.
B) For part two, this is integrated with expensr. I removed all the categories and changed them all to Expense, Retirement, Long Term Savings and Short Term Savings. Using their budget tool, I just set in the limit to each of their respective percentage. Now I can get a visual look and/or warning to see if I'm not following my own advice!
3. I stopped buying books and got myself a library card. I noticed I've been spending upwards to $200 a month on books, when I can easily get most of these from the library. Sure, I don't get to own each copy, but that's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. If the book is absolutely amazing, then I still may buy it, but at least I get a free sneak preview.
4. Cut out that coffee. Actually, I drink tea, but I would head to the coffee shop every morning and after lunch. That's $1.50 a tea and $3.00 a day. That's upwards to $60 month! (I know, I'm a math genius.) What do I discover though? A box of tea for $3.00 total that will last me the entire month! Cha-ching! More savings for me.
5. Bag your lunch. Of course, that's pretty obvious too, but I've quickly discovered that the price of one take out lunch can easily feed you for a week and still be pretty delicious.
6. Cancel your cable. I had the super deluxe cable package, just for the sheer fact of status, of having all those channels. Well, ya know what, there's nothing on TV!!! I find I just flip though all the channels the same way I did with a lower package. Even the movie channels sucked because they were usually playing crappy movies. So, I really didn't cancel my cable, but I drop the extreme package and also a $50 expense.
7. Oh yeah! Pay off that debt! Sacrifice a few months of not having much fun and pay more than the minimum payment on any debt you have. Get rid of it. All those micro-payments add up and you'll notice the difference once you're not paying them anymore! This one is the most important one of them all. So what can you do in these next few months without going out, or watching TV/movies? Get outside! Take a walk! Call a friend and play some catch. Being outside is one of the best time wasters. Suddenly you'll have tonnes of extra dough and you're being physically active, but that's another life hack we'll have to talk about in another chapter. ;)