Are you able to save money each month? If you’re looking for money saving tips, you’re in the right place!
Often people ask me on money saving tips. They have difficulties saving money, they spend too much and don’t have to tools to save. They waste money in some areas and lack to save in others.
I already talked about the equation before, income – spending = saving. In this article, we focus on the spending part of the equation by talking about money saving tips. Of course, you know that providing extra income will increase your saving (assuming that your spending remains the same). If you want to know more about earning extra income, please read this article about side hustles.
My Top Money Saving Tips For 2021
Bring Your Lunch To Work
This is one of my top money saving tips. In the Netherlands, people spent an average of €700 per year on lunches at their employer. I’m not even taking into account the money people spend when they eat out!
The thing is, that the average of 3€ people spent per day on lunch at work doesn’t seem like a lot when you are spending it. When you add it all together, it’s something to become aware of. Things like this can creep up on you. They add up.
So, bringing lunches to work that the potential to save you around €40 per month. If you want to know what I bring: mostly wraps (I’m a huuuge fan!) with some spicy hummus, egg, and vegetables. The vegetables are different every time, mostly something like bell peppers, tomatoes, or beans. It also depends on what is discounted at the supermarket.
Buy Veggies In The Season
For me, doing groceries is so much fun! I love strolling around the supermarket and thinking about what I want to eat this week. As I’m always looking for discounts in the produce section. Often time, the vegetables that are in season are: buy one get one free, which is an awesome deal.
Also, when the vegetables are in season, they are being produced closer to home. For me also the consideration where my foods come from is important!
Learn How To Meal Plan
Meal planning can save you a ton of money. You will only have to go grocery shopping once per week, which eliminates a lot of additional costs. You only will have to resist the temptations of allll the good foods once per week, instead of every day. In addition, since you plan your meals beforehand, you don’t have to throw out any food that turned bad.
If plan your meals throughout the week, this will save a lot of time as well. No need to cook every day, you can just cook once or twice per week and that’s it. While you’re at it, please also prepare you lunch so you can bring that to work!
Stop Paying For Cable
Households pay between €20 to €40 per month for cable, this is a big tip for saving if you’re not watching as much TV. If you do, the alternative would be watching Netflix (and sharing it with your friends to cut costs of course!)
Currently, I don’t have any form of TV, cable or Netflix. It helps me focus on the things that are truly important. It helps to keep my life more focused and simple!
Stop Buying Bottled Water
The average Dutch household spends €100 per year on bottled water. I was surprised, but I guess I’m just biased. I expected that Dutch people, in general, spend less than average (yes I’m believing the stereotype of my own country, oops!).
Instead of spending money on bottled water each year, the water in the Netherlands (and most of the Western world) is perfectly safe to drink. It saves money and the environment, perfect!
Simplify Your Life
Your financial life is difficult to manage, especially in today’s world of information overload. There are many tips, blogs, and things to learn.
By taking the step to simplifying your life, you can be more in control and waste less time. It will allow you to live your life to the fullest and enjoy the moment!
It can be done by:
- Decluttering your house (including closet)
- Spending less time on your phone
- Automatically pay your expenses
- Paying off your debt
- Focus on the relationships that are most important to you
Think Before You Make A Big Purchase
Often after I bought something just because I felt like spending money, I am feeling regret. In the beginning, I want to research everything. Then I reach the point where I’m like; okay I’m done, I’m buying it!
If you recognize this, we have the same pitfalls. No worries, it’s easy to fix! Before I buy something nowadays, I’m asking myself: do I actually need this? This already eliminates 60% of what I want to buy. Then I ask myself; can I afford to buy it? Will it make me happy? If the answer to both questions is yes, I buy it if I still want it (a few days later).
Eat Out Less
The average Dutch person spends about €1200 a year on going out to eat, that’s €100 per month! If you want to make some quick steps towards saving more, go out to eat less. I understand that you still want to eat out, but try to do it one less time this month. See what happens!
Save Money On Groceries
If you are planning your meals, you only have to take one trip to the grocery store. This alone will save you a lot of money!
My best money saving tips on groceries:
- Go grocery shopping once per week
- Start meal planning
- Shop with a grocery list
- Buy the items that you need (or would use anyway) if they are on sale
- Don’t go grocery shopping when you’re hungry
- Cut your stuff at home (don’t buy the precut)
- Try eating less meat (good for your wallet & the environment)
If you want to have more tips on saving money on groceries, you can read here how I spend $70 per month!
Switch Health Insurance Provider
In the Netherlands, the average person can save €100 annually on their health insurance. Only 6% of the population switched health insurance provider in 2018. I use different websites to compare my health insurance every year, and I switched every year! It costs you 10 minutes of your time, I would say that is a €100 earned quickly!
Switch Energy Provider
The same case can be made for switching energy provider, there are many websites which you can use to compare the prices of the different energy providers. In 2016, the average household can save €500 annually for their energy costs. If you implement this tip and the one above, you might save €500 this year!
This is one of the money saving tips that will give you the most health benefit as well. Smoking costs to society in the Netherlands €57 billion per year, that is €3500 per inhabitant (we’re not so many). In addition, you are paying a little over €2000 per year on sigarettes.. This is money earned very very quickly. Besides that, we all know the harmful side effects of smoking.
Also something very interesting: smokers earn 20% less than non-smokers according to Glassdoor.
If this is not good enough reason to stop smoking, I don’t know what will be!
[Related Read: 8 Habits That Are Terrible For Your Wallet And Your Health]
Make A Budget
When you’re making a budget, you’re getting aware of how much you spend. With a budget, you know exactly how much you are able to spend and how much you actually spend. A budget can help you to pay off more debt, make more money, retire early, and more.
If you want to learn more about budgeting, start here:
- Create A Budget That Works For You – The Full Guide
- 5 Reasons Why You Need A Budget
- How To Make Saving Money Fund And Exciting
- 9 Motivation Tips To Stick To Your Budget
Drive A Smaller Car
On average Dutch people have a loan of €9500 for their car. I did not expect that number! This surprises me, thinking about the high-interest rate that is mostly paid for the car loans. To the car loan amount, you can add the gas, maintenance, insurance, taxes, and more.
I would aim for a car budget of around 10-15% of your monthly income.
Pay Off Your Debt Quickly
If you take some of these tips into account, you will be able to pay off your debt quicker. By paying off your debt quicker, you will pay fewer interest fees. In addition to this, you will free up money (and your mind) for other financial goals.
[Related Read: How To Set Financial Goals In 6 Steps]
Refinance Your Mortgage
If you got your mortgage 5 years ago, chances are that you can refinance your mortgage for a much lower interest rate. The current interest rates are as so low, that it would probably be profitable for you to refinance your mortgage (even with late fees). Contact the institution where you have your mortgage for additional information, they can provide you with this!
Cancel Your Gym Membership
If you’re using your gym membership; great, keep up the good work! I go 2x per week to the gym, so I know I get my money’s worth. When you have a gym membership and are not getting the full value out of it, please do yourself a favor and cancel it.
If you are only going to the gym once per month, or less, try some different things. You could try working out at home, something like the 7-minute workout. You can go running, do yoga, go biking (yes we bike a lot in the Netherlands), and more.
If you are wanting to shift your money mindset, please start by reading some books that can spark the change that you would like to see. The book that has meant a lot for me is Rich Dad Poor Dad, you can read the main takeaways in my Rich Dad Poor Dad book review!
Save Money On Entertainment
Some people I know are spending a lot of money on entertainment, while they’re having debt.
Instead of going to the cinema twice per week (€10 per person per time), you could watch a movie from home on Netflix. Try inviting your friends over for dinner, instead of going out to eat.
Instead of sitting inside a coffee shop for 3 hours with your friends, eating and drinking, invite them over and make a cup of coffee for them. If you have quit drinking caffeine altogether, you can take them for a bike ride around the city. These are just a few of my suggestions, get creative and you will get there!
Take A Staycation
I always wanted to use the word staycation in a sentence, love the word! Okay, back to it. A staycation is a vacation taken to explore the area around where you live. You are exploring the area as tourists, so you will do things every day – see sights and do all the touristy stuff.
It is a great way to save a lot of money on hotels and transportation, and still treat yourself!
I will always choose Airbnb over hotels, just because I love staying at people’s houses and of course because it’s a lot cheaper! Also, I love to chat with the people who live in the area and you can pick one that has a kitchen so you don’t have to spend money on things like eating out for breakfast.
If you want to, you can use my link to go to Airbnb and get a €34 (or $40) discount on your first trip!
Save Money On Your Vacation
Aside from Airbnb and staycations, here are my other tips for saving money on vacation:
- Travel in the low season instead of the peak season for your destination
- Try to eat out less, buy groceries and cook (very convenient if you’re staying in an Airbnb)
- Be flexible with your flight dates, a two-day difference in my departure date saved me over €150
- Eat where the locals eat
I understand investing might be a big step for you, but it’s something that you just have to jump into and do! Simply get over your fear and start investing. It is important to understand the things that investing can bring you when you just get over the initial bump in the road and start doing it.
Investing is one of the roads to retiring early, it will grow your money over time so that you have enough to go around when some unexpected events happen in your life.
Go To The Library
If you want to read read read, watch movies or check out the latest magazines, your local library might just be the place to be! You can check out all the books that they are offering, many libraries are even offering ebooks nowadays, so you don’t even physically have to go there!
This is one easy was for entertainment as well. Like we mentioned before, you can quit paying for your cable and just borrow a movie from the library.
Have An Emergency Fund
I believe everyone should have an emergency fund. An emergency fund might come in handy when something breaks, you have to replace something, your hours on your job are cut, and so on. 40% of Dutchies have an insufficient emergency fund, which should be about 3 months of salary.
Buy Second Hand
One of the easiest ways to save money is to buy second hand. You can buy everything second hand; furniture, clothing, shoes, and more. It allows you to save a lot of money, some things you can even get for free from friends and family.
I have received some really nice things second hand. For example my table with chairs from my grandmother, my closet from the Dutch Craigslist and some clothing. Love it!
Find A Roommate
When you are having a spare space in your house, you can either rent it out with Airbnb or you can find a roommate. Finding a roommate can be very convenient to cut the costs of your housing, enabling you to save more!
I have been living with roommates since I have been studying, and I really like it! Apart from the fact that you always have some social interaction, it has also enabled me to live under €300 for rent and utilities for almost 6 years now. Look into the option if you want to check if it’s for you if you decide it’s not for you that’s perfectly fine!
If you’re already good at some of these money savings tips, find a couple of other ones that you can really implement. You may be able to improve your financial situation, and live your dream life!
Let me know below, what money-saving tips did you take away from this article?