Below is my list ideas to save money. A lot of the ideas came from other fellow readers — that means you. Enjoy!
1. Focus on the big ticket items:
Don’t optimize the tiny things, before you have your 2–3 big ticket items in order. Usually these are your rent, your car, or healthcare expenses.
– If available, join a cooperative apartment (very popular in Switzerland, you can usually save 30% compared to market prices)
– When moving, negotiate the rent (a reader has saved $100 per month using this tactic)
– Buy and share your car with some friends or neighbors
– Sell your car and use car-sharing in combination with an electric bicycle
– Compare your car in terms of total cost of ownership with other cars, and take appropriate action
– Make use of geoarbitrage by going abroad (e.g. Swiss people can save a lot by going to the dentist or doctor in Germany)
– Switch to the cheapest health insurer and immediately save up to 2000 CHF per year (in Switzerland).
Use an independent insurance broker and optimize your insurance portfolio. Most people are over-insured, and have significant saving potential.
A fellow reader has stopped alcohol 100% and is saving $50–100 per month
7. Bottled beverages:
Cut bottled beverages and switch to tap-water instead. If tap-water quality is bad, consider buying a filtering system.
8. Food shopping:
A fellow reader has saved thousands by being agnostic to brand and looking at price per unit exclusively. It’s amazing how a brand name on a quasi-commodity can increase its price per ounce for no good reason.
9. Second hand:
Whenever possible, buy things second-hand. It’s unbelievable how many things that are “as good as new” you find for a fraction of the price.
10. Pay back high-interest debt:
Pay back your credit card and other high-interest debt with the highest priority.
11. Live abroad:
If your job and family allows, move to a country with lower living expenses.
12. Change battery of smartphone:
Instead of buying a new smartphone, try instead to replace the battery and buying a new case. Feels like new, and might give you another year or two of satisfactory usage.
13. Pay yourself first:
– Instead of saving what is left after spending, spend what is left after saving.
– Only pay down debt with 50% of your available cash. Use the other 50% to build up savings. That way, you are paying down debt while simultaneously building up savings!
14. Use checklists:
Use checklists to keep your psychological biases in check. Then revisit them before every financial decision!
15. Automate your finances:
– Automate as much as possible, especially items from your checklists
– Have an automated monthly payment setup from the regular bank account to a savings account. This way you’ll surely save money. Optimally the payment is performed right after you have received your paycheck.
16. The 30/30/30 rule:
Spend 30%. Invest 30% in longterm investments. Invest 30% in yourself.
17. A simple investing plan:
– Pay down your debt and keep 3–6 months of living expenses in cash
– Invest the rest in Berkshire Hathaway or a Vanguard S&P 500 ETF. Buy and hold.
– Over time, if done consequently, your capital gains will exceed your salary.
18. Internet service:
Get a reasonable priced mobile contract with no data limits. Get a second SIM card for this contract. Use a SIM WLAN router at home. Use IP services at home (voip telephone, Netflix and/or tv services).
19. Mobile phone service:
Use a prepaid phone without a contract. That way you have full cost control.
20. Making more money:
Not all people are good at making more money. If you are someone who is good at making more money, then it might be wiser for you to focus on that instead of just saving.
21. Cook at home:
Don’t spend money eating out. Cook at home!
22. Don’t spend it:
Want to save money? Don’t spend it.
23. Rent your spare room on Airbnb:
Have a spare room? Rent it on Airbnb!
24. Make use of your company:
If you own a company, make use of it. You can use pre-tax money for certain expenses, and have some flexibility with how much you pay yourself in salary each year, to optimize your income taxes.
25. Live on a boat on anchor:
No rent/electricity/water to pay. Fish is free. Swimming pool too. A fellow reader has lived in Polynesia for $250 per month. He says it’s paradise and he will be back.
26. Ask Google:
Don’t be lazy. Use Google to make better decisions.
What do you think? Let me know on Twitter.
My goal is to improve this list further to make it even more useful. If possible, also let me know how much money you saved with your idea or any of above ideas.