The 20 Laws of Saving Money

May 29, 2010
By
HelpSaveMyDollars.com’s The 20 Laws of Saving Money aim to save you the MOST amount of money each month.  Try to incorporate as many of these laws as you can into your life.

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!

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20 Responses to The 20 Laws of Saving Money

  1. Emergency Savings Fund | HelpSaveMyDollars.com on May 29, 2010 at 10:30 pm

    [...] any money each month, or are in fact losing money, you need to reduce your expenses.  Visit my 20 Laws of Saving Money for simple ways to lower your expenses, without dramatically changing your lifestyle. To find [...]

  2. Why Save Money? | HelpSaveMyDollars.com on May 29, 2010 at 9:46 pm

    [...] To find out how, click here. [...]

  3. [...] shop visits each week and instead, brew the coffee at home yourself.  All of these tips are in our 20 Laws of Saving Money.  But if you try to cut your expenses gradually, it’s a whole lot easier than if you immediately [...]

  4. [...] looks like, there are always ways to cut spending and live a more frugal lifestyle (see our 20 Laws of Saving Money for more info on saving [...]

  5. [...] tips can save you well over $500 per month.  When used in conjunction with our 20 Laws of Saving Money , you should save thousands per [...]

  6. How the iPhone Can Save You Money | HelpSaveMyDollars.com on May 30, 2010 at 8:56 am

    [...] 3.  Grocery Gadget Lite FREE Shopping List Sync Groceries ( from Flixoft, Inc) – This free app allows you to make a shopping list with the prices of each item and save it right from your phone.  Keeping a shopping list and sticking to that list is Law # 10 of HelpSaveMyDollars.com’s The 20 Laws of Saving Money. [...]

  7. [...] money saving tips that won’t affect your lifestyle, please visit our 20 Laws of Saving Money.  Remember: aim to save 10% of your income – 15% if you’re over age [...]

  8. [...] to buy unnecessary items in that store because of the discount you will receive.  As we say in our 20 Laws of Saving Money, just because something is on sale or just because you’re receiving a discount on an item, [...]

  9. Jake on August 3, 2010 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for making this website. Its good to know that people are out there to help out. I'm 17 years old myself and am looking for that lifestyle thats going to make me a happy man. Reading this website is my first step thank you for creating it. And by the way on your law 15 no cash no way, u may want to add that its really best to use credit cards to buy things as long as you have the abillity to pay it back every month. This raises your credit score. i know i will be doing this. Thanks again.

  10. Giggi on January 2, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    I was so surprised about Law #18! I’ve never seen this on a saving money list. I buy one 4 pack of Skoy Cloths maybe every two years from greenpartysupply. We keep one in the kitchen, one in the bath and use the others for various other household uses. They go in the washer so they last forever!
    Two laundry savings tips, we cut the dryer sheets in half and use them twice, and we reuse Color Catchers until the sheet is totally full, saves a lot.
    I love this guy!!

  11. Rcdrury on April 26, 2011 at 11:47 pm

    Scott, It’s fairly apparent that you don’t put much stock in professional assistance. I’m referring, in particular, to Laws 3 and 16. While it’s not my area of expertise, I’ll address #16 first, as I learned first-hand the folly of trying to sell my home myself (in a much stronger market than exists in most of the US today). In a market where the average home was for sale for no more than about 10 days (Cheyenne, WY; early 90s), my home was on the market for nearly three months priced at the lowest of three market valuations. After advertising for almost a month and two open houses with no serious bites, I hired an agent who was reputed by many sources to be the top in the area. She immediately told me that we were asking too much even though three other agents recommended we sell it for more. We didn’t listen. When we finally did, the house sold almost immediately. The mortgage payments we spent during the period were greater than the reduction in price.

    The second area is that of financial advisors, about which I do have some knowledge, as I am CEO of the nation’s largest nonprofit financial advisory network. The term “financial advisor” is defined quite differently depending on the source, but my organization, and the true financial industry, defines it fairly synonymously with “financial planner;” an individual who advises primarily based on a comprehensive plan involving cash flow/debt management, insurance, investments, retirement, and estate planning. In other words, a professional; not a salesperson. So, why shouldn’t an advisor be compensated for advice, whether that compensation comes in the form of a fee or a commission? If one is buying general securities, such as stocks or bonds, it’s fair to compare the cost of fees versus commissions. For mutual funds, it’s normally less expensive to pay a commission rather than the higher expense ratios of most no-loads. If the invested amount is insufficient to allow for breakpoints (volume discounts which vary between fund companies), one can buy B-shares (deferred sales charges) and not pay either advisory fees or commissions. Bottom line: Treat your advisor like a professional and he will likely act like one. It is usually the client who forces the advisor to operate as a salesperson by fostering an environment of distrust. You are correct; if you don’t feel your advisor is trustworthy, get another. Otherwise, trust him as you would your physician or attorney.

    Rob Drury
    Executive Director,
    Association of Christian Financial Advisors

    • HelpSaveMyDollars on May 23, 2011 at 4:42 am

      Rob, thanks so much for reading the article and your comments are
      appreciated!  As for Law #16, if someone has sales experience and is
      willing to take on the task of selling their own home (which is a lot of
      work), then it’s a wise idea to sell by owner, as you’ll save a ton by
      not having to pay the commission fee.   There are certainly benefits of
      using a real estate agent, as they tend to have experience in real
      estate sales and have better access to marketing the home online and in
      newspapers.  It’s a personal preference.

      As for financial
      advisers, it is important to take the time to find one that is
      trustworthy and one who looks out for the best interest of their
      client.  There are plenty of good financial advisers out there, but we
      encourage consumers to do their research!

      • Anonymous on May 23, 2011 at 12:14 pm

        A properly qualified financial advisor who does not look out for his client’s best interest is about as common as a physician or attorney who doesn’t.  When it does happen, the advisor isn’t in business for long.  The best way to “research” financial advisors is to use a referral from a close friend or relative one trusts and respects, or use the help of a third party organization (such as the one I run) that specializes in such referrals.

  12. W S Moye on May 23, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    This may sound like I’m bitter but I’m not,just lost. It’s just that this article is directed at people who have money and don’t use it wisely. I make 8.75 an hour and I don’t have extra money, when I cut things from my budget they arent luxuries, they’re necessities. Like food. I go from buying the generic version of something to cutting my food down to things like potatoes and Ramen.I don’t know how they figure minimum wage but I don’t see how I can live on what I make. Clipping coupons was the only applicable advice for me here, do you know of help I can find for ways to cut costs or make more money for people like me? (not looking for handouts though, I just want to be self-sufficient) I don’t know what I’m going to do.

    • HelpSaveMyDollars on May 24, 2011 at 11:40 pm

      Thanks for your comment!

      Try to track your expenses – be sure to figure out exactly how much money you spend each month – use HelpSaveMyDollars.com’s Expense Calculator: http://helpsavemydollars.com/expense-calculator/

      The Expense Calculator will help you to visually see where your money is going each month.  You may have to make some tough decisions, like getting rid of your cable TV service or Internet – perhaps moving to a different home to save money on your rent/mortgage.

      Definitely continue to clip coupons – use online sites such as CouponSherpa.com and 8coupons.com
       

  13. Guest on July 16, 2012 at 9:48 pm

    Where on earth did you find dumbbells for $20? 

  14. Guest on August 15, 2012 at 8:00 am

    Hello,
    As for rule #13, you will want to watch this video.  CFL’s are NOT good.  Check the research.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3gjvOOlHmsU&feature=plcp

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