Law 1: Change Your Thinking – This may sound like more of a psychological law than a financial law, but it is very important. Change your thinking simply means that in order to save money, never say the following statement: “Oh, it’s only a few dollars!” NO! A few dollars here and a few dollars there will add up to lots of money––money that should belong in an emergency savings fund or money that should be put away for retirement and not used for purchasing unnecessary items. Regardless of how cheap the item is you want to buy, if you don’t need it, don’t buy it.
Law 2: Forget the Original Cost – You’re in the clothing store and you are eyeing a beautiful new shirt that normally sells for $100, but is on sale at a final cost to you for $30. That’s a 70% discount, which sounds great. But, if you don’t have that $30 to “throw away” on a new shirt that you really don’t need, then you should not buy the shirt, regardless of how much of a discount or bargain the store is offering you.
Law 3: Be Wary of Financial Advisors – Many, not all, financial “advisors” will advise you and encourage you to buy certain investments from them. You will most likely pay a very high commission to the advisor for these investments when you could have purchased these same investments (e.g. stocks, bonds, mutual funds, annuities) with very little to no commission, say at a discount brokerage firm. In this case, they are not financial advisors, but simply folks trying to sell you a product and who are looking out for their own best interest instead of yours. You should not only make sure that you are not getting ripped off from these commissions, but also make sure the information and advice your financial advisor is telling you is correct, up-to-date and accurate. If you don’t trust your financial advisor, it is best to get a new one and follow your instincts.
Law 4: Indulge at Home – Those die-hard coffee lovers who buy coffee at a coffee shop for $5 everyday are spending $150 per month and over $1,800 per year on a cup of coffee alone! Outrageous! To save money and still enjoy your cup of joe, brew fresh coffee at home and bring it with you in a portable coffee cup to work so you can skip the daily (or bi-daily) coffee shop visit—and save money at the same time!
Law 5: Read it Online – If you subscribe to a newspaper or a magazine, it is best to cancel the subscription now! This is because in most cases, the same news articles or similar ones are posted on the publication’s website, which is free for you! Save money by reading your favorite newspapers and magazine articles online.
Law 6: Lose the Gym Membership – It is so important to exercise to avoid health problems in the future. However, paying money to exercise may cause financial “health problems” too. Instead of paying to use the treadmill, go out to your favorite park or around your block for a run or jog. For lifting weights, dumbbells cost under $20 and work just as well as the ones at the gym.
Law 7: Go to the Library – New books can be expensive and since you only read the book once, there’s no need to spend $20-$30 on a brand new book when you could take-out a book for free at your local library.
Law 8: Shop at Department Stores – You will save so much money in gasoline for your car if you shop at stores that cover all the basics: grocery, clothing, electronics, pharmacy and more. This way, you won’t have to use up all of that gasoline by driving to each individual store. Department stores allow you to accomplish most of your shopping needs at one location! Good for your wallet and the environment.
Law 9: Eat In – Restaurants are expensive and although they can be fun experiences, the bill that comes at the end of the meal can be painful. It is extremely important to limit the number of restaurants/take-outs you utilize so you can save money. Bring your own lunch to work every day in order to stop spending $10 per day for lunch at the café. Open up the grocery store’s circular and whatever foods are on sale is what you should buy to prepare for dinner that week.
Law 10: Make a List at the Grocery Store – And stick to that list! If you need milk, butter and eggs don’t come out of the supermarket with orange juice, chocolate and potato chips. Not straying from your list of the items you NEED, will prevent you from spending money on foods that are frivolous. Also, it is important to not allow the foods you do purchase to sit in the back of the refrigerator and become spoiled—it will cost more money to replace these spoiled items.
Law 11: Clip Coupons – The Sunday newspaper is a great source for fantastic money saving coupons. There are also several online websites that offer free coupons. Also, check the manufacturer’s website for direct coupons. Be sure to not let them expire.
Law 12: Sale Means Quantity – Whenever an item that you normally need and use is on sale (e.g. soap, paper, non-perishable items, pens) buy the largest quantity of that sale item as possible. This will ensure that you never pay the non-sale price for any of your essential products.
Law 13: Replace Light Bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFLs) – CFL bulbs use much less energy than those regular incandescent bulbs. Less energy means a lower electric bill. CFLs last longer (sometimes up to 6 years) and are better for the environment. They may cost a bit more than the regular light bulb, but they will eventually light up your wallet (pay for themselves) in a few years.
Law 14: Turn it Off – After you’ve finished watching the news or your favorite primetime show, do your bank account a favor and shut off the television. Also, don’t keep the computer running overnight—it is not good for the computer nor will it save you money. Plus, to save even more money on your electric bill, unplug cell phone chargers when not charging your cell phone—the charger still uses electricity even when it’s plugged into the outlet with no phone.
Law 15: No Cash, No Way – This law applies to credit cards. Unless you cannot eat without using your credit cards, try to use cash only on all of your day to day purchases (which should be very little!). This will for sure keep you out of debt (which will increase your credit score and eliminate the awful thought of interest accruing on your credit cards when a balance remains on them). Plus, you will spend less if you use cash because psychologically you are physically removing cash from your wallet, which visually shows your depleting cash supply—rather than using a piece of plastic as a way to purchase things.
Law 16: Never Use A Real Estate Agent – If you are selling your home or trying to rent it out, you can save a ton of money by selling your home by owner. Real estate agent fees can cost you as much as 4 to 6% of the selling price of the home, or if you’re renting the house out, the agent’s fee is usually 15% of the first year’s annual rent. Although selling by owner will mean you will have to run the open houses, who knows your home better than you? NO ONE! Plus, there are tons of websites, which will allow you to list your home on the site for free or for a minimal charge. With determination, a great brochure to hand out to prospective buyers, and a professional yard sign, your home is bound to sell. Remember, you only need one buyer!
Law 17: Negotiate! – Whether you are buying fruit from a fruit stand off the street, buying a home or car, or buying a new pair of sneakers, ALWAYS ask for a lower price! You have nothing to lose––the worst thing the seller can say is “no”! For in-depth tips on HOW to negotiate, click here
Law 18: No More Paper Towels – You would be surprised how much you spend on paper towers each year! While paper towels are an easy way to clean up a mess or dry the dishes, they don’t come cheap! Instead of paper towels, buy 10 to 15 washcloths (which costs less than a pack of paper towels) and use those to clean, dry your hands and dishes. Save money and trees!
Law 19: Invest in Stocks For The Long-Run – If you have money invested in the stock market, and you need it within 10 to 15 years, take it out of the market immediately! With the highly volatile and unpredictable stock market in this day in age, it could take decades to regain your losses. That’s why stock market investing is best for the long-run.
Law 20: Re-Gift – Gifts can be very expensive. In this economy, there is no need for gifts. Try to not give gifts––call the person and show them your love in lieu of an expensive gift that will get you deeper into debt. If you absolutely insist on giving a gift, try to give the person a previous gift you’ve once received (re-gifting). This will save a lot of money and still put a smile on the recipient’s face! Also, don’t spend $4 on an expensive card––make one for free on the computer or by hand. Remember, it’s the thought that counts!These are The 20 Laws of Saving Money! If you follow these laws in some way, shape or form, money will flow your way. It’s as simple as that. There’s no magic here. However, Uregardless of how troubling your financial situation is, never give up. It’s up to you to fix it and that’s what HelpSaveMyDollars.com is trying to help you do! Use our Expense Calculator to create a budget that works!