5 Ways to Save Money That Few People Consider

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Woman happily fanning out dollar bills.
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You’ve probably heard the common saving methods: set a budget, cut expenses, automate savings, etc.

But according to survey findings from NerdWallet, 84% of Americans say they overspend. (Forty-four percent of those who said they exceeded their budgets used their credit cards to do it, which is something you should most definitely avoid.)

The most popular or obvious savings methods are talked about constantly, but clearly it’s not enough. It’s possible we overlook other easy money-saving practices and strategies.

And even if you are sticking to your budget, extra pennies under budget leave you with more cash to tuck away for future goals, dreams and maybe an extra treat now and again.

Let’s explore some saving tricks you may be missing out on.

1. Skip a grocery trip

Family shopping in grocery store
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Don’t go shopping just because it’s grocery day, or because you don’t have something you want. The contents of your fridge and pantry may not sound immediately appealing — but you bought them, so don’t let that food go to waste.

There’s no need to spend more money on food when there are already snacks and meals at home.

You can tell yourself you just need one or two things for a meal, but how many times has going to the store for “just one thing” resulted in bags worth of goods? Then that thing you could have eaten expires, and that money is wasted.

Skipping a trip to the store altogether forces you to use up what you have, even if you don’t feel like it.

2. Just walk

Woman carrying groceries
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You don’t have to live in a walkable urban area for this advice.

If you live close to wherever you’re going, skip the drive. Walk if you’re able to.

Going to the store? Don’t waste gas going down each lane of the parking lot, circling and looking for a close spot. Just take whatever is available in the back and walk to the store.

And if you’re out in the city, and that parking garage you found is close to your destination but expensive, skip it. Find somewhere cheaper, even though it’s further away.

Walking a few extra steps won’t hurt you. On the contrary, it’s good for your body and your wallet thanks to the decreased use of gas. It’s a win-win.

3. Buy gift cards for yourself

Rack of gift cards
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Gift cards don’t have to just be for loved ones and secret Santa exchanges with your co-workers.

If you time it right, buying gift cards for yourself can save you cash. Certain stores provide discount gift card deals, particularly (but not only) around the holiday season. You don’t even have to leave the house to take advantage of some gift card hacks.

This practice can also help you stay within budget if you only allow yourself to use the money on the gift card instead of your debit card, or worse, a credit card.

4. Stop letting retailers in

checking tax return status online
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Probably everyone has gotten some variation of a tempting “Spend $50 and get $10 off” deal in their inbox.

But don’t let these companies reel you in. If you wouldn’t be spending money without that deal, then you shouldn’t spend it at all.

You don’t have to let these retailers tempt you over and over, either. Don’t sign up for any new email lists. And the next promotional email you get, find the “unsubscribe” link in the body of it. It can be hard to spot sometimes, but retailers often put those links at the very bottom of the email.

5. Keep a gratitude list

Woman writing in a notebook
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Ditch the wish list and start writing a gratitude list, writing something unique each day.

Being grateful for what you already have can stop you from thinking about things you don’t, and spending more money to get them.

You can do this in the morning or at night. Some people write things down with pen and paper, but you can always use the notes app or a journaling app on your phone instead.

Consider also writing down your financial achievements, even if they’re small.

Leaving your temptations on the store shelves is reason enough to celebrate and pat yourself on the back. You can check in with yourself and do this every week or month — whatever works best for you.

Get smarter with your money!

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