11 Tips for Painless Saving

Tips for Painless Saving

1. Automate it.

If it isn’t in your bank account you won’t miss it.

2. Celebrate a pay raise or bonus with a special night out.

Then invest the rest of it automatically by increasing the automatic debits to your investment account or increasing the portion you prepay your mortgage by.

3. Shop around for the best deals on car insurance, the best phone deals, etc.
4. Negotiate a better deal on anything (new fridge, etc) and then put the savings in your freedom fund.
5. Buy a used car or use Uber instead of owning a car.

My house cleaner figured out it was cheaper to take taxis everywhere than it was to own a car and maintain it. I’m trying to talk her into getting a motor scooter or an electric bicycle to save on taxi costs. Don’t assume you need a car. I lived in the middle of NYC for years and didn’t buy a car until I was ready to move out of the city.

6. Buy antique furniture at auctions, newer furniture and household items like vacuums at estate sales or garage or yard sales.
7. Wait for the sales if you need something like upholstered furniture which goes on sale in January.

There is a season for everything.

8. Read Consumer Reports.

It often pays to do your homework before you go into the store and start negotiating. I saved 50% on a top-quality mattress by getting the demo one off the floor and using the lingo I had picked up in the report so the salesperson knew I had done my homework.

9. Accept all children hand-me-downs and toys with gratitude and sort through the things you don’t want to give to charity afterwards.

I take the friend who gives hand-me-downs out for lunch as a thank you to encourage them to give to us first!

10. Don’t upgrade your tastes.

If you are perfectly happy drinking the $7 a bottle wine, why upgrade to the $15 bottle?

11. Consider downgrading your food shopping.

I discovered that the free-range “value” eggs in the plain packaging in the supermarket are often pullet eggs from young chickens and are superb for making perfect poached eggs effortlessly because they are smaller and the perfect proportion of egg white to yolk. They are “value” eggs because they are odd-sized. I either get tiny little pullet eggs or often the opposite, giant eggs with double yolks. The packaging is so grey and dismal, but the eggs are delicious and free-range! We don’t eat the package so who cares? The nicely packaged free-range eggs cost 2 to 3 times as much. Don’t get fooled into spending more for pretty packaging!

Try a blind taste test for painless saving.

My friends had a party with a champagne tasting blindfolded and were amazed to discover that the most expensive champagnes were universally liked the least. The cheap £5 bottle of Spanish cava was the clear favorite.

Jeff Yeager (The Ultimate Cheapskate) decants boxed wines into fancy wine bottles to impress his dinner guests and they never notice the difference. My husband scoffs at instant coffee, but I prefer the mild taste of it and like that it has less caffeine. Why pay more if you can’t taste the difference? A great painless saving tip!

You could save a fortune over a lifetime by finding the bargain brands that taste great. Simple steps—buying rice and beans dried and in bulk is really cheap and healthy as well. Using the slow cooker for the cheaper cuts of meat is another easy way to eat well for less. My husband’s signature dish is his steak spaghetti sauce made in the slow cooker so that meat gets really tender.

If you find all these fun and painless ways to save money, you can not only sock away what you need to for retirement, but you can also spend more on the luxuries of life.

That massage, the house cleaner, the lovely dinner out with your spouse, golfing, whatever lights you up. More money saved and a better quality of life today.

What’s not to like? No pain, as your financial freedom fund gains.

Learn more about financial freedom in the FIRE course.

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