Becoming rich is one of those things many of us dream about; waking up with no financial worries, no mortgage, the money to send our kids to college, and so on. Unfortunately, few of us will ever become millionaires.
However, there are some ways you can start saving today so you can afford an early retirement or live comfortably working part time.
Here are 15 ways to save now so you’re rich later.
1Negotiate your bills
Just because a company quotes you a price doesn’t mean it’s the best one they can offer you. Start by contacting the companies with which you have a regular bill, for example:
- Credit card
If you contact them and explain that you have been offered a better deal elsewhere, they may be able to negotiate a better price for you, especially if you are a long-term, loyal customer. If they can’t offer you a better deal, it may be worth switching providers.
2Cancel unnecessary subscriptions
We often get lured into paying monthly subscriptions because we feel it would encourage us to use them. Unfortunately, most of the time that’s not true and it’s just another way to eat away at our bank balance. Think about whether or not you really need the subscriptions mentioned below:
- Gym membership
- Magazine subscriptions
- Amazon Prime.
3Shop retailers who offer rewards
Because retailers want you coming back for more they often offer a variety of rewards such as coupons, discounted offers, and even freebies. Create an email address specifically for these programs and shop according to the deals each retailer offers every week. You can also shop secondhand or with online retailers who offer better prices, like Ebay, Amazon and Craigslist.
4Ignore links that promise fast money
There is little more embarrassing than falling for the online scams that claim you can earn thousands of dollars a month by clicking a link and investing a couple of hundred dollars. Similar to fad diet pills and online gambling, very few ever make a cent, let alone a living.
Becoming rich takes time, patience, and discipline, so instead of investing your hard-earned cash into what adverts call “online deals”, put it in a savings account. You could also learn how to invest in stocks and shares. If you learn the basics, you could slowly generate a moderately good income on the side.
5Stop buying branded products
Fancy marketing is something we all fall for. The beautiful packaging and catchy tagline are probably what lure you in, but here is a secret: The product is no different to your supermarket’s own brand version. Aside from the product not being different, the own brand version will cost a fraction of the price.
6Don’t spend just to keep up with others
Your personal goals are what should matter to you the most, not what other people are achieving. It can be disheartening to see your neighbor roll in driving a new car every year but remember that as nice as it would be to have one yourself, you don’t need it. Work towards something bigger and better than material possessions and you’ll reap the rewards in the future.
7Cook at home
Eating out is extremely expensive, not to mention the drinks you probably order with your meal. Some ways to cut out expensive restaurants could be to:
- Invite friends over for dinner parties
- Celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other important landmarks with a big barbecue gathering
- Take your lunch to work with you
- Plan ahead so that you don’t pick up food when stressed
You may also find that hosting events in your home with family and friends lowers the amount you spend on drinks, as all good guests bring a bottle or two with them to an event.
8Make your own coffee
If you spend $3 to $5 a day on coffee, it’s time to stop. Aside from the mound of sugar you’re probably consuming, you could save up to $35 a week; that’s more than $1,800 a year. Instead, invest in a nice thermos, coffee machine or just higher quality coffee from the supermarket, and make your own at home.
9Automate your finances
Automate your finances so that all your bills are deducted from your bank account directly after every paycheck comes in. For example, if you get paid on the last day of every month, schedule your bill payments for the first. Organizing will help you have a much more realistic view of your monthly budget and how much you can set aside for savings.
10Think of the environment
Here is some happy news: Taking strides towards being more eco-friendly will actually benefit you financially as well. You could have a positive impact on the environment and cut your bills significantly by:
- Spending less time in the shower
- Turning off the lights and all electrical devices
- Changing to energy-efficient light bulbs
- Getting a programmable thermostat
- Connecting to a smart powerstrip
- Insulating your water heater
- Air sealing your home
- Dry lining your clothes.
11Rent or sell your belongings
Whether it be clothes, electronic devices or even cosmetics, we all spend money on things we often do not need. Decluttering your home is a great way to start afresh and earn a bit of spare cash.
Consider listing items on Ebay, having a garage sale, and even listing your spare room on Airbnb. In some parts of California, a spare room on Airbnb goes for up to $4,000 a month, something to seriously take into consideration if your bills are high and you have a mortgage to pay.
12Stop using your credit card
Although not all bad, credit cards should be used sparingly. They are great for:
- Building a credit rating
- Cashback rewards
That said, if you don’t have the funds to pay it off, you could end up in serious debt. Make your credit card an emergency card. Do not keep it in your wallet when you go grocery shopping or to the mall.
13Get involved with free activities
You may feel that participating in family and friendly activities are always expensive, but they don’t have to be. You could simply swap an afternoon at the movies for a day at the park with a picnic and a Frisbee. You could also look up community activities in which you are interested.
If you get your hair, nails, or teeth done regularly, you should consider visiting vocational schools in your area, as they often host free events so that students can practice. Don’t be scared, they are supervised by professionals and although it may not be worth the $100 you spend on your hair every month, you’ll still receive amazing service!
14Maintain your car
Better yet, walk, rideshare, or table public transport wherever you can. That said, I do know that these options aren’t available to everyone, so if you have to drive to and from work or college every day, make sure that your car is fuel efficient and that you look after it by:
- Regularly cleaning the air filter
- Making sure your tires are inflated and rotated
- Checking the oil and water levels
Lastly, avoid parking and speeding tickets at all costs!
15Put in the Hours and save what you earn
Of course, if you have a full-time job, it can be difficult to find the time to earn spare cash on the side, especially if you have a busy social life or a family. If you can, putting in additional hours alongside your job is a great way to save money. For example, you could:
- Do some freelance consulting
- Find a weekend job
- Teach or mentor
- Sell products online
Saving money is a very difficult task for most, but by following some or all of the suggestions outlined above, you’ll find yourself closer to your financial goals in no time! Start by making the small changes that will make no difference to your current lifestyle and then push yourself that step further to become more frugal with your earnings.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.