money saving
Updated April 19, 2020

29 Ways to Be a Better Saver (Even If You’re a Spender)

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Money saving is a problem. In fact, it’s a huge issue, source of stress, and lifelong goal of almost everyone at some point in their life.

Once we have money, it’s all about what to do with it.

Do you find yourself thinking that once you get your paycheck, you’re going to buy that thing you really love? Do you find that a $20 bill in your pocket burns and you just can’t wait to spend it?

Or, do you find that you don’t really need anything that often? That you like to watch your money slowly accumulate over time?

Clearly, those are two polar reactions to the very simple matter of having money.

The real question here is: To spend or not to spend? Money saving is the answer.

Click here to learn how to save more money without even trying!

Spenders vs. Savers

That question is actually a lot harder to answer than it first appears.

Not only does it depend on the financial need, but it also depends a lot on the psychology of the person spending the money.

Generally, you can think of most people as spenders or savers. Here is a general breakdown of the hallmarks of each spending type:

Spenders

  • buy first, ask questions later.
  • are fans of using credit cards.
  • delay planning for the future.
  • may feel guilty about overspending.
  • can’t save much, even when they try.

Savers

  • plan most purchases.
  • put goals ahead of impulse buys.
  • minimize debt.
  • may feel guilty spending at all.
  • save to the detriment of having fun in the moment.

So, which one are you? If you answered spender, you’re not alone.

According to a Consumer Credit report, 34% of people call themselves “spenders” while only 8% of people would call themselves “savers” (the other 58% try to save but splurge occasionally — a grey area).

Are you a spender in debt? You’re not alone. Click here for help getting out of debt.

The Importance of Changing from a Spender to a Saver

Being a spender isn’t necessarily a bad thing — as long as it’s tempered with saving as well. It’s when a person only spends that problems can arise.

Spending all immediate funds — and sometimes even loaned funds — means that not only is that person currently going to have stress from money, but they are also saving less for cars, homes, or retirement.

For instance, according to that same Consumer Credit report, 43% of spenders do not have money left in their accounts after bills are paid, compared to only 5% of savers.

That means that in the case of an emergency, savers will have the immediate funds while spenders won’t.

Also, the report found that because spenders live more in the present and savers keep an eye to the future, it’s no surprise that spenders have different long-term priorities.

For instance, only 47% of spenders are saving for retirement compared to 70% of savers.

Click here for advice on how to save for big purchases, such as your first apartment.

How to Stop Being a Spender

At this point, you may be saying, “Okay! I’m a spender! How do I become a saver?”

The best advice for how to stop being a spender is to practice active saver tips and tricks at home, before shopping, during shopping, and even afterwards.

There are lots of tips for how to save money fast and how to become better at saving money. We’ve compiled our most effective strategies below.

With over 25 of them, there’s sure to be a few methods which you can easily implement into your own life.

Take control of your finances and learn how to stop being a spender today.

Click here for easy ways to save money without putting in much effort at all!

How to Save Money (When You Spend It)

1. Literally Get Paid to Shop

Did you know there’s an app that gives you gift cards simply by walking into stores?

You don’t even have to buy anything!

It’s true!

So whether you’re a mall rat or just somebody who goes shopping every now and then, you stand to make a little extra cash this way.

Click here to learn more about this special app and start getting paid just for walking into stores! Use promo code MDR for a $5 bonus.

2. Earn Cash Back

Another great option is Ibotta.

When you buy something, take a picture of the receipt then upload it to Ibotta.

The app will give you cash back on what you bought.

The money you make can be delivered via Venmo, PayPal or gift cards.

If you’re going to buy items anyways, you might as well earn money back! It’s silly to not do so.

Sign up for Ibotta using this link to get a $10 sign-up bonus and start earning cash back on your purchases!

3. Make $36 for Spending Money

Many brands, such as Amazon, get a better view of their demographic and audience by simply asking to see purchase histories.

The app ShopTracker does just that.

ShopTracker allows you to share your Amazon purchase history and make $36/year doing absolutely nothing different than normal.

Make just under $40 for doing essentially nothing.

4. See Where You Can Save

Sometimes, we don’t know where to start.

Use Cushion, an app that analyzes your spending habits and determines where money can be saved.

Not only that, but Cushion can cancel subscriptions, negotiate bills, find you better car insurance and more.

Becoming well-informed about your current spending-saving status is the first real step in changing from a spender to a saver.

5. Get Paid to Shop

Are you an online shopper? Then this one is for you.

All you need to do is sign up on Rakuten (formerly Ebates) then shop online at the hundreds of retailers on their app.

When you make a purchase, anywhere from 6-12% cash back will be applied. Every quarter, that cash comes as a PayPal sum or a check.

Some of the available stores included through their app include: Macy’s, Sephora, Neiman Marcus, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, L.L.Bean, JCPenney, Dick’s, ULTA, aerie, GAP, Overstock, Michael Kors, Forever 21, Under Armour, UGG, Ralph Lauren, and CVS.

6. Eat at a Specific Restaurant

Are you a foodie? Do you gain a lot of satisfaction from a good meal?

Are you wondering “How can I save money on food without sacrificing quality?”

You’re absolutely not alone.

If you’re a spender with a sweet spot for eating out (who isn’t?) then the Seated app is going to be your new best friend.

Log into the app and see which specific restaurants it will pay up to 30% cash back for you to eat at. Earnings are paid in gift cards.

Click here to sign up for Seated and find the best and most affordable restaurants for your dining habits!

How to Shuffle Money to Savings

7. Automate Your Savings

If you’re looking for how to save money each month, setting up an automatic savings system is a good way to go about it.

For example, Chime is one of the fastest-growing bank accounts in America and the reason it’s on this list is because of its Automatic Savings feature.

Picture every time that you spend money or get paid money, an app puts some of it into an automatic savings, which it is curating on your behalf.

It’s a way to grow your savings with minimal effort.

8. Play Savings Games

You can play an actual game with the Long Game Savings app.

Long Game Savings is a savings account with fun games attached.

The more money you save, the more chances you get to play the games which have rewards in cash and cryptocurrency.

The prizes even go up to $1,000,000!

9. Take Bite-Sized Chunks

The idea here is to set aside a percentage of every purchase you make.

Let’s say you decide to set aside 10% of everything you buy.

If you pay a $50 pair of jeans, then take $5 more and put it into a savings jar.

It’s also a great way for you to see just how much you’re spending each month and how to save money.

10. Set Aside More Money Each Week

A great way to become better at saving money is to make it a game.

Challenge yourself to set aside more than you saved before.

For example, the first week, maybe you save $5. Then, the next week maybe $10. And so on.

Even if you increase the amount just by a dollar or two, within a year that will add up to real savings.

Click here to check out a range of money saving recommendations we tried for you and can honestly say they work!

How to Prepare for Success (Spending Less Money)

11. Set Goals

Half of the battle when trying to save money is preparation.

Just like how people trying to eat healthy meal prep before the stressful week starts, so too should a person plan and prepare for what they need to buy both before going into a store and also in terms of long-term goals.

If you need some help, Varo Money is a great place to start gaining money saving tips.

It’s a bank account which tracks your leftover money.

Varo Money also has a handy budgeting feature which guides you in setting goals and tracking spending to make sure you’re on track.

12. Budget Your Day, Week, Month

As a spender, you might not like a budget at first because the entire point of it is to limit your spending. It’s all about perspective.

Instead of seeing it as a negative keeping you from spending money, see it as a way to become better at saving money for life events (marriage, retirement) and big items (car, house).

So, sit down and get to writing out what you absolutely need to spend money on (rent, food, utilities, transport to work).

Make sure to leave a little extra money for fun activities so you’re not completely deprived.

Eating out with friends occasionally is a good example.

13. Make a Shopping List

One of the most effective ways to save money fast is to not spend it.

Before you go shopping, write out a shopping list of exactly what you need.

Promise yourself that you will only get the items on the list and nothing more.

You can even make it a game to see how quickly you can get in and out of the store.

Budgeting is crucial to success. Click here for more budgeting tips and saving guidance.

Things to Remember While Spending

14. Use Cash

As you may already know, spending more money with a credit or debit card is a very dangerous reality.

Instead, leave your cards at home and just bring around the amount of cash you will need, plus a small bit extra.

Then it becomes impossible for you to overspend.

15. Shop with an Accountability Partner

Changing from a spender to a saver is difficult — so enlist help.

This may seem unnecessary to you at first, but it’s really not.

Shopping with another person who knows your savings goals and the current items you actually need is really helpful.

That person can tell you that no, you don’t need a third ugly holiday sweater.

They can remind you that you’re saving for a house/car/vacation/retirement instead.

Basically, they’re playing the role of good angel on your shoulder.

16. Know Yourself

Everyone has their own favorite stores, also known as danger zones or forbidden forests.

Don’t go in there. Don’t go into the store where you love everything and then force yourself to walk through the aisles and then not buy anything.

That masochistic behavior is a good way to either break and splurge or make yourself feel rotten for trying to save, neither of which are good.

Just avoid your favorite stores, if you can.

17. Forget Brand Names

These days, with so many options made available through the Internet, it really is unnecessary to exclusively buy brand names.

Often, those brands are overpricing those items for no reason. If the item is a laptop, which you will use every day then sure, the extra money may be worth it.

But for other smaller items that are less integral, there’s no need. Buying smaller brands will save you a lot of money.

Click here for more tips on how to save money while shopping.

Extra Money Saving Tips

18. Forget Extended Warranties

You may very well be thinking, “What? Why are we getting rid of the insurance?” but there’s actually two very good reasons.

First, when buying something, you should always try to get the best quality you can (this does not mean a name brand — they are not mutually exclusive).

This means that if it good quality, it most likely won’t break within that year of extended warranty.

Second, for many of us, we decide to trade in older models for newer ones.

If this is the case, why would you need an extended warranty on top of the current one?

You’re just going to trade it in soon anyways.

19. Buy Secondhand Tech

While we’re on the subject of tech, consider buying secondhand instead of new.

As we just mentioned, many people love to trade in their gadgets for the newest model.

That means there’s an entire range of year-old gadgets which are being sold. If you don’t mind not having the newest item, then it could save you a lot of money.

Also, for items like iPods, portable batteries, external memory, and DSLR cameras, consider getting a refurbished one from Amazon.

They are usually pretty good about making sure the refurbished quality is high.

20. Spend on What You Value Most

This money saving tip may seem counterintuitive, but actually it softens the impact of daily saving.

If you save all of the time and are really careful about where you’re spending your money, then it is completely fine to spend on what you value most.

The idea of “what you value most” means an item or experience which actively adds to your life happiness or contentment.

This could be a family trip, a vacation, a monthly coffee at your favorite café, a monthly new book, etc. Saving for that special thing makes it that much sweeter.

21. Choose Cheaper Transport

In this day and age of rideshare services, it may seem like transport has never been easier. But that convenience is also eating into our bank accounts.

A way to save money each month is to stick to public transport, biking (crazy!) or even carpooling with people from work.

It’s cheaper and also better for the environment.

Click here for some amazing frugal living ideas to help you save even more money!

How to Save Money at Home

22. Cook at Home

This should not be surprising to anyone.

One of the best ways to save money on food is to make it at home.

We all know it is cheaper, and often healthier, to eat at home.

If it’s a matter of being exhausted from a long day’s work, try to meal prep on the weekends, making lunches and dinners for the week so all you need to do is microwave them later.

23. Buy Eco-Friendly Appliances

Another money saving tip is to buy eco-friendly appliances when you shop.

Whether you’re buying new or secondhand, take a moment to Google their energy ratings, if they aren’t already displayed.

This will help you save money each month without doing anything extra.

24. Cancel Subscriptions

Take a good look at any recurring costs other than the necessities such as rent, car insurance, utilities, and so on.

If you’re paying monthly fees for a gym membership when you never go, or to a newspaper you barely read, then it’s time to cancel.

25. Charge Your Bad Habits

If you need that extra boost, or you love a good bet, then this is a money saving trick for you.

Write down a little list of your bad habits. Examples: snoozing your alarm, not going to the gym, taking the car to a nearby shop instead of your bike.

For each bad habit, set a fee ranging from $1-$10. Then, if you do the bad habit, you have to put that money into the naughty piggy bank.

It’s a great way to save and also motivate yourself to improve your habits.

Click here for more tips on how to track your spending habits and find areas in which you can save!

The “Become Better at Saving Money” Mindset

26. Cultivate Patience

While practicing patience is a good life skill, here we mean that being patient can save you a lot of money.

Here’s two quick examples for how to save money by going slow.

First, when shopping, if you see something you like, wait on it. Go to another store and think if you really need it.

If you forget about it soon, then it wasn’t that important. Your patience is showing you where your priorities lie.

Second, having the patience to wait for sales can save you hundreds of dollars.

If you want an item, especially anything over $50, it would benefit you to wait until a holiday or even Black Friday/Cyber Monday to buy it.

27. Be Honest

Many spenders tend to hide what they spend so that it feels like they really didn’t just buy that thing they don’t really need.

Be more open and honest with your spending and keep yourself accountable.

Honesty here is the best policy for your wallet and future goals.

28. Find Your “Why”

Delve deep into the reasons why you might be shopping.

Changing from a spender to a saver involves knowing your triggers.

If you need an item, that’s one thing. If you’re going into a shop just to look around, browse or “get a few things” which you don’t really need, ask yourself why.

Are you stressed? Are you angry, anxious or pissed off?

Is shopping a way of letting out that frustration or of making you feel good? If so, try to redirect that energy into something else and save your wallet from angry purchases.

29. Ignore Peer Pressure

We’ve all been in a situation where other people have the newest, coolest or most hyped item.

It may be coveted by your friend group and you may feel pressured to buy into it. Don’t!

There’s no need to go along with what everyone else is buying.

Everyone has different life goals, so their saving plans are different too.

Don’t stress about matching them because you’re both on different savings journeys.

Click here for more on how to change from a spender mindset to a saver mindset.

What about your money saving habits? Do you have any other tips we haven’t tried?

Let us know in a comment below!

Logan Allec, CPA

Logan is a practicing CPA, Certified Student Loan Professional, and founder of Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money. Learn more about Logan.

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