How to Save More Money

 

First, you need to understand a concept called hedonic adaptation. As humans have evolved, we’ve become amazingly adaptable to our situation. It has very interesting outcomes. Win a lottery... you’ll be happy and then adjust back to normal within a year. That’s no fun. But lose an arm... you’ll be really sad and then within a year adjust back to your normal level of happiness. That’s what it’s there for. It lets us deal with setbacks, but it also creates a consumer treadmill.

 
 

The hedonic treadmill is a horrible cycle of buying something that you think will make you happy and then it becomes normal and you need the next hit. So you make another purchase, quick happy, then back to normal and you need another hit. Realizing this is important. But better than that is imaging losing it. Imagine losing your house, or your nice car. Better yet, sleep in a tent for a few nights. Taking away the luxuries of your life, either temporarily or in your mind will help enjoy what you already have. Whenever you think about buying something just think:

It won’t make you happy
— Derek Sivers

Okay, now that we understand the mental mechanics, on to the saving! The best way to save money is to look at your monthly spending on mint or personalcapital, see what the highest expenditures are and then try hacking at each one.

Housing will likely be the largest.

  • If you rent, you can move to a cheaper apartment. If you own, you could downsize, but it would have to be substantial enough to offset all the fees, closing costs and stress of a move.

  • Turn down the heat, sweaters are cheaper than gas.

  • Rent out a portion. Airbnb or VRBO a portion of your space, just remember to retain a portion for when you need to pay taxes on the income.

Car is probably the next biggest item

  • Sell your car and buy a cheaper one or bike.

  • Call your insurance company and ask for a reduction.

  • Drive easier, stop pounding the gas to save at the pump.

Groceries

Do a budget and look at the things you buy repetitively and then go and buy those things in bulk
— Mark Cuban, Billionaire

Restaurants

  • Stop going. Seriously, if you have debt other than a mortgage, eat at home.

  • Drink water, have a beer or a glass of reasonably priced wine when you get home.

  • If you’re out with friends ask for separate bills, this way you can control exactly what you spend.

  • Just go for dessert. It’s cheaper than dinner, but it still gets you out and about

Phone

  • Try out republicwireless, or Google’s project fi for cheaper phone service.

  • Instead of getting a new phone, keep your old one for another year.

  • If your old phone’s battery is horrible, try getting the battery replaced instead of just buying a new phone.

  • Never go over your data limits. Put reminders in to check your usage.

  • Look at your usage history to see if you can get a plan with less data/voice next time.

  • If you still have a land line and don’t use it very much try getting rid of it.

  • If you only have a land line for a security system, call them up, a lot of them can switch to cell based alarm systems for the same price.

Clothes

  • When you have something in an online cart, take a night or two to think it over. Do you really need a fourth pair of jeans? Another pair of pumps?

  • Put your clothes up for consignment, or sell on eBay. I’ve known people who have had wonderful success selling premium branded yoga wear on eBay.

Vices

Love beer? Need that glass of wine every night? Stuck on smoking? Stop it. Just commit and stop it. Try the way of life app and make it a point to stop. Then once your debt’s paid off, go ahead and treat yourself to a nice Malbec, or craft beer.