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We all try to save, but many times the ways we try to save aren’t always the most effective methods. Often this is because we’re stuck in an old rut, working from the habits our parents and poorly conducted financial educations gave us.

In truth, we don’t fail to save because we aren’t interested in saving, but rather because we just don’t have a modern enough perspective on things to really make a difference in our lives. There are also things we need to avoid to save, however, these are just some of the reasons we can’t save money.

There are others reasons too, and chief among them is how we spend both our money and our time. Here are 6 great ways you can save money every day, just by managing your time and money better.

1) Cook at home, and do it often.

When both husband and wife work, there’s often little time to prepare food at home. Their joint incomes can make it seem like the added money justifies the stress of not cooking, but once you get into a rhythm of cooking at home, it really doesn’t take much time. For example, a few boneless chicken breasts in a covered pan on low heat, with some cut veggies on top, and a pot with a few potatoes boiling, or some corn simmering, takes about 10 minutes to prepare. It takes longer than that to drive to a restaurant. Add in the cost of time waiting for food in a restaurant, plus the premium price you’ll pay for any drinks, and you could have shopped for a week of home food.

2) Pack a lunch to work.

While we’re fans of taking meals to work, we also appreciate the headaches carrying home leaky Tupperware and other containers can create. Plus, they’re just plain inconvenient. What we recommend is spending a little money on some recyclable containers (they’re cheap), and a pack of cheap brown paper bags. You can then help better the environment by recycling what you use (most fast food lunch restaurants don’t recycle anything), and also save money on your lunch. A bag lunch will cost you about £3, versus the usual £6 or more you’ll pay elsewhere. Plus, you’ll save some office time while you’re at it, and actually enjoy your lunch instead of rushing through it. You can easily prepare these lunches at home. In the case of our chicken example above, it’s easy to cook an extra breast, and take a small can of corn and a wrapped piece of bread with you for a side. That makes a tasty and healthy lunch, and costs very little to prepare.

3) Make your own coffee.

This one is a great way to save money, and it’s one of those things most people don’t even consider. You can get a pack of inexpensive recyclable cups for your coffee, and when you finish, drop the empty cup in a recycling bin. This will save you money every day on your morning latte. You just won’t get to flirt with the barista, but then with the money you save, you will be able to invite him or her out on a date, so there’s that.

4) Make a grocery list, eat first, and then and shop fast.

When you shop with a grocery list, you’ll only grab items you need, rather than that pack of chips that looks so good. If you eat first, you won’t be hungry, and so won’t be imagining how delicious all of the things you didn’t plan on buying are too. This will keep you from buying piles of goods you don’t need. By shopping in a hurry, you will press yourself to be quick. A great way to do this is to plan your shopping before a favourite TV program is coming on. This way, even if you are a little late it isn’t going to ruin your day. In time, you’ll be able to get in and out of the store quickly, without wasting time or money on things you don’t need.

5) Get rid of any credit cards with annual fees.

When you first start off with credit, you might need to get some credit cards with annual fees. However, once your credit is a little more established, you’re wasting money on annual fees. Really, you’re already paying absurdly high interest rates on any long term cards you have, at least when compared to a traditional loan, so why add more money on it? The fees are just a slap in the face, and a way for High Street to squeeze a little extra money out of you. Don’t let them do that. You could be saving an extra £100 or more a year on just by eliminating unnecessary card fees.

6) Use the library, because you’re paying for it anyway.

Have you ever considered where all of your tax dollars go? Well, one place is the library. Technically you own quite a few of the books there. Instead of trying to build your own library, borrow your books from the one you’re already paying to maintain. You’ll thank yourself, and have more money to invest when it’s all said and done. Perhaps more importantly, you’ll also have access to movies and eBooks, depending on the library you choose. This will let you plan more things at home, which will put you in a place where you can save more, rather than spend more.

There are many more ways you can save money, and these are just a few. By considering what you spend money on now, and reducing those expenditures, you can work towards increasing your savings. Money saved can then be invested, which is the road to future wealth. Save regularly, and invest often.

photo courtesy of Great Grandpa & Grandma T.

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