Retirement Income

12 easy ways to save $20 a day

12 easy ways to save $20 a day

Define your budget

Saving $20 a day can be as basic as sitting down and crafting a realistic budget. “Our society has done a poor job at teaching people how to save as well as construct a real budget and stick to it,” says Tom Graneau, author of Pennies to Power. He asserts that our money problems can be traced to a lack of discipline rather than a lack of funds. Graneau recommends putting away 15 to 20 per cent of your pay every time you’re paid, making it unlikely you’ll have that extra $20 lying around to spend on something frivolous.

Consign your clothes

When you’ve grown bored with a once-beloved item of clothing, consider its condition. If you feel it’s too good to be put in a charity bin, a local consignment shop or online consignment space could be the perfect place to score some extra cash. “Selling clothes through consignment is a great way to earn money,” says consignment website co-founder Brielle Buchberg.

Make your own coffee

This sounds way too simple but your daily café runs seriously add up, especially if you like the fancy stuff. Once you factor in a café latte, perhaps an overpriced pastry, and a second coffee run later in the day, by the end of the week you have seriously blown your budget. Become a DIY barista and make your own concoctions.

Say bye to gym memberships

Many of us belong to a fitness studio, and those memberships don’t come cheap. If you use them regularly, fine, but it not you could try exercising with the help of a Fitness app instead. Look for one that offers live classes so, even though you are exercising in the privacy of your own home, you can still get that group camaraderie. It will cost you a fraction of the price of a gym membership.

Get paid for your opinion

As a consumer, your thoughts are incredibly valuable to marketing companies. So much so that you can often find paid survey opportunities when you reveal your purchasing habits and how you decide to buy items.

Mark two no-spend weeks on the calendar

Depending on your consumer habits, this could be a real exercise in frugality. “Other than petrol in your car and groceries in your fridge, try at least two no-spend weeks each month where you don’t pay for any extras (like that new tech gadget you don’t need),” advises Jill Caponera, a Consumer Savings Expert. “You’d be surprised how much extra money you’ll save when you’re not constantly spending it.

Experience your city… for free

Boredom can lead to unnecessary spending, yet finding inexpensive entertainment can feel impossible. However, there are likely dozens of fun and free events either in your city or a nearby destination that can save you money while offering up a unique experience you might never have otherwise considered. Type keywords like ‘free events’ in your search engine along with the name of your city or town to discover what’s happening nearby.

Don’t be afraid to borrow

If you’re a good neighbour, you likely have trustworthy relationships with the folks who live nearby. Before you go out and purchase, say, a power tool or a leaf blower that you may only use once a year, chat to your neighbours to see if they have the item available to borrow. The savings add up and you’re reducing waste at the same time. It’s a win-win.

Keep your budgeting style old school

Money-saving apps are great, but they aren’t for everyone. Caponera suggests using the good old ‘envelope system’ if you prefer to keep your cash in plain sight. “Set aside a specific amount of money in individual envelopes to cover different categories of your budget,” she says. “If you’ve budgeted $400 a month for groceries, take that amount out of your bank account at the beginning of the month and put the cash in a labelled envelope. This will help you to keep your spending in check and not dip into extra money that could be saved for the future.”

When you treat yourself, create a savings ‘match’

This idea is truly genius. According to a campaign run by a non-profit organisation, you should match the cost of what they describe as ‘non-essential indulgence’ in savings. This means that if you really want that giant cookie from the coffee shop, you should match its cost in your savings account (or a labelled envelope in cash). Think of it this way, if you can’t afford to save the matching amount, you can’t afford the treat either.

Sell some stuff

Whether you bought into the Beanie Baby craze of the ’90s or have some other collection that simply isn’t bringing you joy anymore, it’s time to let it go. Find an app to help you list and sell items that you no longer need, or get some neighbours together for a joint garage sale. When multiple families join forces for a sale, it tends to attract more buyers looking for a great deal.

Skip takeaways

This always feels easier said than done, but if you plan your lunches and dinners for the week, your bank account will come out ahead. Take a look at grocery ads for weekly sales and what could make for a cost-effective but healthy dinner. Bringing your own lunch to work every day also saves you a packet, so if you make more dinner than you can eat, you can have leftovers for lunch.

Written by Kelly Bryant. This article first appeared on Reader’s Digest. For more of what you love from the world’s best-loved magazine, here’s our best subscription offer.