How Do I Spend Less Money?
A smart and natural way to spend less money is to not buy anything. Easy to say but harder to put into practice you might think. Although I refuse to get caught up in this thought but quickly claim that it is of course possible to change once habits and consume less.
19 tips that will make you spend less money
Here I give you 19 concrete tips on how to spend less. Some may be a bit extreme, but sometimes extreme measures are needed to stop the flow of money.
1. Review your shopping habits
Are your purchases motivated by your own values or by advertising?
Do not let yourself be influenced by the consumer society and the market’s desire for you to consume more.
2. Stay at home
If you do not need to shop because you really need something, stay at home. Do not go shopping just because you are bored. Do not use shopping as a relaxation or entertainment.
3. Leave the money at home
The easiest way to not buy anything is simply not to have any cash, checks, debit or credit cards with you when you go out.
At most, you take a small amount of money with you for any emergencies.
4. Avoid plastic cards
Try putting your credit card in a container of water and put the entire container in the freezer.
It can be a good thing that prevents you from using the card at other times than when you really, really have no other option.
Or better yet, give it to a relative you can trust or cut it. I myself have no credit cards at all and I can guarantee you that it is possible to live a very good life completely without a credit card.
5. Buy used instead
If you really need something and have not been able to borrow the thing instead, received the thing as a Christmas present or got over the stuff in some other way, then see if you can get a good used variant.
The flea markets are just getting more and more and the Internet also provides great opportunities to acquire used items in good condition.
However, do not fall for the temptation to buy things that you do not really need when you are browsing Craigslist.
6. Pay in cash
Studies show that the average person spends less when they pay with cash and much more when they pay with credit, possibly because when you use a credit card it feels like you are not handling “real” money.
My grandmother used to jokingly say that you should buy money before you could buy things and that is a basic rule that I myself usually stick to.
7. Make a budget and stick to it
Do not treat your budget as a New Year’s promise. Then do not break.
Creating and sticking to a budget requires self-control, but what you get as a reward is control over your personal finances.
With a budget, you give yourself a good tool to help you avoid debt and worthless purchases that, in the worst case, only ruin your respect for yourself.
8. Make a shopping list and stick to it
Make purchasing decisions at home where your needs are obvious. Not in stores where the shelves are full of other products that will distract and entice you.
A list can also help you carefully consider purchasing so that you really know that you need the item in question.
9. Ask yourself some control questions
Will I use this every day? Will I use it enough to make it worth buying? How many hours have you had to work to be able to pay for this purchase?
Also make a 3-month forecast. That is, ask yourself if you will still be using the product regularly three months from now.
If you have managed for a long time without this particular mobile phone, what is it that says that you will not do well without it in the future?
If you move often, consider whether the item you intend to buy is worth your while when it’s time to move again.
A grand piano, for example, is quite difficult to carry. If you are more resident, the question is instead whether you are willing to sacrifice a part of your living space to own this particular thing.
10. Repair instead of consumption
A good repair can often restore things to the nearest new condition. This is usually for a much smaller cost than what a new purchase would entail.
In addition, you will not contribute to the environmental damage that all the world’s landfills constitute, which is a positive thing.
11. Try to get things you need or want for free
In a surprising number of cases, you can get what you need without it costing you a single penny. How?
Check if there are any local barter markets. Surely you have something you can and want to exchange and in that way you may get what you want without spending a single penny.
These places are valuable precisely because so many people buy things they do not need or replace good things with similar but newer things.
You can choose to be smarter than that and take over their stuff. There are also newspapers and websites with exchange and gift advertisements. Also check these out!
Borrow. If you need a product for just a short time, why not borrow someone else’s? There is nothing to be ashamed of just because you borrow.
Not as long as you are willing to repay this when someone needs to borrow one of your stuff.
12. Avoid shopping malls, if possible
If you need to buy something, go to the particular store that sells the item in question. Do not go to the nearest shopping center where you may be tempted to buy things you do not need.
In addition, mall stores tend to have high prices because the rent is high for their spaces.
If you go to the mall just to hang out with your friends, think about whether you should try to find another way to use your time or suggest that you can meet in another place where the attractions are not so many.
If you have to walk through a mall to get to a restaurant, movie theater or store, concentrate on where you are going, but do not pay attention to the shops along the way.
13. Avoid unnecessary upgrades
Yes, the new toaster that is launched with persistent advertising can toast eight slices at once. But seriously, how often do you need eight slices of toast at once?
Unfortunately, our consumer culture influences people to replace good and fully functioning products with newer products for stupid and irrational reasons, such as fashion.
Remember, an avocado-colored oven works just as well as a mango-colored one.
14. Buy sustainable products
If you decide to buy something, choose a variant that does not wear out, or will not wear out quickly. Also, avoid buying products that will go out of style.
Think about how you will use the product and how your choice will meet your needs in the future. For example, an item that costs 30% more can still mean a saving for you in the long run.
You will still save money if you can use it twice as long, right? This benefits both you and the environment.
15. Buy things that match what you already have
If you like an item carefully think through how well it will work with what you already have.
Maybe a garment is the highest fashion and no matter how nice on the one hand, but if it does not fit with at least two or three other garments that you already have, you will either have limited use of it, or worse, the new purchase can create a need to buy even more garments that you can use for the first time.
16. Make your own gifts
Use your own skills (or learn a new skill) to make gifts that people will remember long after they have forgotten purchased gifts.
Do not forget that gifts do not always have to be things. You can give of your own time or perform a service as well.
Remember that it really is the thought that counts. Money can not buy you happiness or self-respect or friends who are worthy of being called friends.
17. Grow your own food
Even if you only have a small garden, it is quite easy to grow your own food. And it also tastes better!
18. Ask yourself 3 questions
Can I afford it? Do I really need it? Is this really something I want? If your answer is yes to all 3 questions, you can buy it.
19. Borrow books and movies instead of buying and renting
Instead of renting movies, check what your local library has to lend. Many libraries offer a wide selection of movies for free.
While you are there, check out their other offerings as well. Remember that libraries are nice places to hang out and borrowing is free.
Think about what is used
Many people spend a large part of their monthly income on communication and entertainment. This means that you pay for cable or satellite TV, mobile phone bills and the Internet.
But the bills can be significantly reduced by cutting out what has not been used.
Reducing TV costs is easy in many ways today. TV often costs twice as much as a monthly mobile bill.
Do not put more on TV channels than necessary now that there are options such as Netflix, Viaplay, etc. on the internet.
Once we talk about the internet, what do you need for speed? There is a big difference between 30mbit and 100mbit, but when / why do you need a faster internet?
There are big price differences depending on which supplier and speed you choose – think about whether you really need the speed you have today.
Choose the right savings account
Be picky when choosing where you want your savings. There is a big difference from account to account and bank to bank – it is important that you examine all the options you have.
Think about things like monthly / annual fees and what it costs to make withdrawals or if you have to commit to a better interest rate.
Even if the interest rate feels minimal in the beginning, it builds up quickly and every krona counts when you save for a specific goal.
What are your debts?
The first thing you should do before you start saving seriously is to first form an opinion about your current debts.
It is more worthwhile to pay off a loan and avoid the interest from that loan than to put money in an account – you win on it in the long run!
Be sure to pay off the debts with the highest interest rate first for that very reason.
Something that many with multiple debts do not think about is to gather all the loans together. Do you pay 3-4 places at the same time every month?
Go to your bank and collect everything in one and the interest rate will go down significantly.
Start buffer saving
Your savings goal may be for larger purchases – investment for a house or a car – but you should not touch your buffer until it is actually urgent.
It is important that you have money to fall back on if you e.g. lose your job or end up in hospital.
Usually you want enough to be able to manage three to six months without income – Start small and increase.
Keep track of your expenses each month
Start counting your monthly expenses, for one month count every penny you spend on expenses.
It is extremely important that you find out where your money is going and what you can cut back on.
.. and set a budget
When you know how much you are spending, it is important to set up a realistic budget.
It can be difficult to create a budget, but it is important to test what works best for your lifestyle.
When shopping, shop smarter. Check what there are alternatives to everything you buy – brands, points system, shop in bulk, etc.
Most grocery stores offer different point systems depending on what and how much you shop – it’s worth checking out what’s locally near you.
Take advantage of the internet
Everything you buy can be compared on the internet.
Are you going to buy a new TV? Check if you can order it directly from the warehouse for a much smaller price or if the store next door might offer an equivalent TV fixed for an incredibly much better price.
Reduce electricity costs
For many, the electricity bill is a good point to start reducing costs, especially if the electricity is used for heating.
Fortunately, you do not have to live in the dark or freeze to cut the invoice by up to 20-30%.
It can mean hundreds of dollars in the course of a year, money that can be used for something else.
Heating of the home
The savings are greatest for electric heating (or air conditioning). An average electric wall stove consumes 1500 watts or 1.5 kilowatts (kW).
In households that are heated or cooled by electricity, heat accounts for almost half of the total electricity consumption. The second largest share is water heating, about 14%.
These two points are like low-hanging fruit – just pick if you are looking for savings.
Lowering the temperature in the home is a safe and simple method that makes it easy to reduce electricity.
Most water heaters are several degrees higher than necessary to constantly maintain the scalding temperature in the water tank.
It is a way to provide hot water as quickly as possible. But of course you can wait a few extra seconds at the sink and lower the temperature a few degrees.
It also makes the house safer, as the highest water temperature is then at a fireproof level.
It is just as easy to reduce electricity for heating (or cooling), and you do not have to suffer through the measure.
When are you home?
In most homes, there are several rooms that are rarely used during the day, and others that are not used at night.
At night, the home office, living room, kitchen, and (if you have) laundry room are typically empty.
Lower the thermostat for these to about 10 C in the winter. It takes less electricity to heat them in the morning than to keep them heated all night.
If you have a programmable thermostat, you can set it to start automatically half an hour before you get up. That way you never notice the difference.
Closed bedroom doors insulate. Keep them closed (or almost) at night. It prevents the heat from the bedroom from leaking out, and vice versa during the day.
Keep laundry and extra bedrooms closed at all times except for the short periods they are in use.
The same applies to air conditioning for cooling or heating. If you use air conditioning, you can close the wiring to rooms when not in use.
Of course, one should make sure that the home is well insulated – a must for long-term savings. But replacing insulation or improving it is expensive and the profits accumulate over the years.
In the short term, it gives greater savings to look at things you can control right now.
Keep track of your goal and reward yourself when you reach it
It is important to keep track of savings every month – are you ahead, exactly or after the goal? Go through it at least once a month and see what and if you need to improve it.
Once you reach the goal, celebrate and reward yourself with something – it is important to save but it is not about totally overlooking pleasure.
Bonus: Spend less money on entertainment
“Entertainment” is a broad word. It can mean going to the movies, having dinner, watching a sporting event, and more.
In the reach lies the secret to lowering the cost of an important part of the good life.
For example, movies that may be your passion. There are many different ways today to watch movies for almost nothing.
You can sign up for a web subscription for a few tens per month and watch two movies a week or more.
You can watch many for free on high bandwidth computers. Save gas and time by skipping theater, and making your own popcorn at home.
If you have to go to the cinema, it is good to skip all the hyper-expensive sweets and soft drinks. And use discount cards for movies.
Food is a great pleasure and everyone loves to go to a nice restaurant and eat royally. But there are alternatives at much lower prices.
Good restaurants are defined not only by good food (but it is important) but by good service. Ask friends where they have received good service in middle class places. Try that place.
If you want to save a lot in the area, you can cook dinners at home – but with wonderful differences from a normal everyday meal.
Invite some friends and ask them to bring dessert, wine, and a special dish. Fix cozy lighting and think through serving and dish based on exotic recipes.
It gives a good atmosphere and a sense of adventure that turns the dinner among friends into a lavish evening with gourmet food.
3. Sports and events
Tired of sitting at home and watching TV sports? Do you feel like going out and watching people? There are lots of ways to do that and still save money.
Many bars have large, high-resolution screens for football, ice hockey and the Olympics. No matter what sport you like, there is a bar with the right “menu”, at least on selected days.
Use your online social network to coordinate with whom you want to turn an ordinary day into a tennis event.
Be creative and look for unusual circumstances and arrangements. It provides a good opportunity for cheap entertainment.
FAQ: How to spend less money
1. How can I spend less money and save more money?
There are many things you can do to save money in everyday life. The most important thing is probably to set up a plan to get a clear overview of your income and expenses.
Then you can start cutting back on unnecessary expenses.
For example, you can save money on:
- Stop buying unhealthy foods like sweets, sodas and so on.
- Cancel unnecessary subscriptions. Think about what services you have and what you actually use.
- See if you can find cheaper services, for example in mobile subscriptions, electricity contracts, insurance, borrowing costs and more. Switch to the cheaper options.
- Shop on sale or at a reduced price. Both clothes, furniture and groceries are often available at sale prices.
- Make it a habit to get rid of money immediately when the salary comes. Send them by direct debit to a fund saver, for example.
2. Why should I spend less money and save more?
There are many reasons to save money.
Some of the most common reasons people save are:
- For a more secure future
- To their children
- For a larger purchase or, for example, a trip
- To have a buffer
- To be able to invest and make the money grow
Or you can save simply because you have no immediate need for new gadgets, or things that do not provide much value.
There are probably more positive things about saving money than there are about wasting things you don’t really need.
3. How can I spend less and save more money on food?
There are many tricks to save money on food.
Here are some of my top tips:
- Eat at home – Restaurant visits, cafes and the like will be expensive in the long run.
- Shopping – It often pays to go to a larger store and buy what you need once, instead of shopping every day in the small local store.
- Buy at a reduced price – You can often find fresh produce where the date is about to expire, at a 30 or 50 percent discount. Look for red price tags.
- Freeze – Do not throw away food! Almost everything can be frozen.
- Plan – Plan the week’s food and cook. Then you can think through the price of the food at the same time as you plan.
- Make lunch boxes – Lunch boxes are a way to save time and money. Bring food from a large kitchen or leftovers and eat at work or during the week at home.
- Eat vegetarian. Vegetarian is often cheap. Protein sources such as lentils and beans are cheap, nutritious and long lasting.
- Drink water. Soft drinks, juices and other mealtime drinks rarely contain much nutrition and involve an unnecessary cost. Swedish tap water is clean and incredibly kind to your wallet.
For those who are used to a certain lifestyle, it can certainly be perceived as both boring and inconvenient to reduce their expenses, but it is usually possible if you really want to.
And if you do not have enough money, you have to challenge yourself and break established patterns.
Invent what unnecessary expenses you can eliminate completely or reduce. Maybe you can prioritize differently and still have some of them?
When you are done, you will have an economy you feel good about and can be proud of.