How To Save: 21 Tips



Photo of some master elder savers.

The savings rate of Americans, meanwhile, jumped to 5.2 percent in the period April to June, the highest since 1998. A higher savings rate, however, could slow economic recovery because consumer spending accounts for 70 percent of economic activity.
I read about the above implication over and over again in the media and it drives me crazy!  You (read: us) are not responsible for growing the US economy.  As individuals we are responsible for ourselves and our “financial house”, so continue to save and look for ways to cut your spending.   Having cash at hand (via a healthy savings account) will empower you to lead the life you want and make you sleep like a baby at night (let the economists worry about the US economy).
Here are 20 quick tips on how to save:
1. Establish the ritual – saving is about repeating an act over and over again.

2. Put it in and don’t take out (i.e., your cash).

3. Make it a game – for every thousand dollars saved, give yourself a small treat (train yourself – just like it’s done with a dog).

4. Say goodbye to friends who don’t save (remember what peer pressure was like in high school).

5. Avoid too many hobbies (you can have a few, but the more hobbies you take on the more bills you’ll have.  E.g., collecting wine, seeing movies at the theatre, stamp collecting, golf, etc.).

6. Try, don’t buy (look for inexpensive ways to get the experience or product you desire).

7. Haggle and don’t settle for the advertised price.

8. Don’t buy a new car and maintain your car until the cost to maintain your vehicle exceeds value of vehicle.

9. Don’t eat out or order take out food.

10. Understand and master what truly fulfils you (it’s almost never material goods).

11. Exercise (if you feel good, then you’re less likely to spend).
12. Splurge on small treats on a consistent basis (yes, if you know that you’re going to treat yourself to dinner out once a month, then you know you can’t go out every week, for example).
13. Don’t live in a large city (things are more expensive and your lifestyle will be more extreme).
14. Get rid of debt fast (if you don’t do it immediately after you finish your degree, for examples, debt may stay with you for life)
15. Streamline – figure out what you need versus what you’d like to have.
16. Make your own coffee, breakfast, lunch, and dinner (in general do-it-yourself as much as possible, including home renovation).
17. Love your local library.
18. Don’t emulate people, be yourself.
19. Live below your means, in general.
20. Never, ever, let your mortgage and tax payment exceed 20% of your take home pay.
21. Watch your auto renewing services and plans (like cell phone, data plan, Netflix service, cable, magazine subscriptions, etc.)


  1. Great ideas Vince. I especially like the tip on the library – there are definitely a lot of good resources at the library – books, books on tape, periodicals, connections to community events, etc.

  2. This is the first I have read on your website. I like your information and agree. I live on 90% of my income since 10% goes directly to a savings that is not even at the same bank as my checking. Amazingly, I don’t miss that 10%. I had to scale down my monthly spending to be able to live off of the 90% and it actually wasn’t that hard to do. I stopped using credit cards and also cut out restaurants as my primary food source. That was an enormous savings. I prefer to have money for more meaningful things like a nice vacation or be prepared for an emergency (ie. job loss). I’d rather stress over what to cook for dinner after work than have to stress over how I would eat AT ALL should I lose my job.
    Happy Holidays!
    Raleigh, NC

  3. V-
    You are a hard taskmaster-but I pretty much follow those kind of saving rules…….. # 4 is extremely hard-You can’t just drop friends for that criteria.
    You also need to hold your own when it comes to bringing something to the table….and that certainly includes picking up a meal check once in a while as well as other things- You can’t be a freeloader all of the time.
    I know – I’ve been there……..

  4. Hi roseann
    Good comments! On #4, my thinking is that if you spend too much time with folks who don’t share a conservative money philosophy, then the chances if living without your means becomes difficult. It’s the same idea with marriage, marrying someone with the same life goals will greatly increase the risk of achieving whatever goal you set.
    The word freeloader is interesting and everyone hates that word! Moreover, being considered a freeloader is not good. I’m a big believer in treating close friends and family well (cooking meals, buying dinner, drinks, etc.) , but it needs to happen all within the right context (viz., with deserving people who appreciate, and at times, return the favor).

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