Learn the tricks to save money like a pro

Saving money is an absolute necessity in these uncertain financial times. Today I want to look at 10 great tricks for saving money and hopefully get you started on the right track to saving for whatever it is you need money for – the house, the kids, or retirement. There are hundreds of tricks to save money out there and my brief list here is by no means exhaustive but it should get you on the right track so let’s get cracking into it.

1.  Pay money directly into your savings

Setting up a direct debit to your saving account means that, every month, money will be going straight from your pay check to your savings. This means you will save money without even thinking about it. Choose savings accounts that penalise you for taking money out (lost interest, fees etc.) and you’ll soon be saving lots of money.

2. Budget

Budgeting will save you money no matter how much you may resent it (I know I do). You’re normal household budget is the lifeline of your spending but smaller budgets for things like grocery shopping and day to day expenses can really help you cut back and start putting some money aside.

3. Leave the cards at home

Plastic gives you the luxury to spend money you don’t necessarily have or to treat yourself because you know there’s the money in your account. If you leave your cards at home though you can make sure that you don’t spend anything that you don’t have on you. If you’re going shopping take an exact amount of cash with you and leave anything else behind – this way you won’t spend more than your budget.

4. Use the 30 second and the 30 day rules

These rules are two of the best tricks for saving money you’ll ever find. The 30 second rule applies to small purchases and light spending. You think you’ll buy something wait 30 seconds and if you still want it you can buy it –if not you’ve saved money well done! The 30 day rule applies to large purchases like TV’s, laptops or gadgets. In these situations wait 30 days and ask yourself whether you really needed the purchase and how you’ve managed without it. If you’re still after it at least you know that it will be money well spent and not wasted.

5. Give yourself a bills makeover

Most people spend too much on their bills and simply don’t spend the time to bring them all down. Online bill comparison is a must have weapon in your money saving arsenal and you should always take the time to find a better deal. Now when you find a better price don’t just leap in and take it as we have a much better trick up our sleeve. When you find your new better deal you phone the company that provides your service now and threaten to switch if they won’t ofer a better deal. Of corse be polite but say “I’ve found better deal and wondered if you offer something better.” If they say no then you can simply switch – but 80% of the time better deal will mysteriously appear out of the woodwork!

6. Haggle

I love to haggle and haggling is a sure fire way to save you lots of money. You can haggle on everything that is second hand and a great deal of things that aren’t. Discounts for large purchases are not uncommon and with small businesses you can usually get a discount for paying with cash. Always be polite and aim for a ten per cent discount – sometimes people will say no but a lot of people won’t.

7. Coupon shop

Many people are reluctant to cut coupons. To these people I simply want to say REALLY. You can save money on so much and you don’t have to do it religiously. My partner and I go out for dinner twice a week at the cost of once a week and finding vouchers is easy online. Taking advantage of coupons can really save you a lot of money –making a perfect trick to save money.

8. Get it for free

When it comes to tricks to saving money getting things for free is of course the best. The internet has put free entertainment at our fingers like nothing else in the history of humanity and if I ever want something for free I come to the internet to get it. I’m not talking about illegally pirating movies or downloading stuff I’m talking about genuinely free entertainments on offer around the web. A QUICK search online brings you within easy reach of free games, free books, free television and free films. Heck reading blogs is free entertainment and you’re reaching this article now – for free J. In the US thousands of books are in the public domain and downloadable for free. There are movie sites online that showcase some of the best films of the last hundred year completely legitimately. There are games sites all over the place where you can play everything from Scrabble to Super Mario perfectly legally. There’s honestly so much for free online you’d be mad to pay for a TV license or book (but I know sometimes you can’t resist).

9. Buy in bulk

Bung in bulk is a great trick to save money and by taking advantage  offer and bulk purchasing groups you can cut down on your expenses for years to come. My favourite way of doing this is with friends so that my house doesn’t become filled with stuff I won’t use for a decade. If you and some friends chip in for necessities and buy in bulk you will be saving 10-30% on your spending happily. For other deals you can split the costs with friends but basically buy as much in bulk as possible.

10. And finally

The last of our tricks to save money is perhaps the simplest – setting long term saving goals. I mentioned these right at the start of the article and if you want to save money these are exactly what you need to do. I set a money goal for long term savings (in my case retirement) and I set myself a yearly goal to pay for a holiday. Whenever I’m thinking about spending money I remind myself of these goals and suddenly I find myself NOT reaching for my wallet. If you can get into this mind set yourself you’ll have learnt my very best trick for saving money.