Updated on 08.01.14

The Simple Dollar Weekly Roundup: Best Money Saving Tips Edition

Trent Hamm

Last week, I tried a little experiment on Twitter: I asked all of the people following me on there a simple question:

What’s your best tip for saving money that can be expressed in a Twitter-length statement? I’ll use them in a TSD post & link back to you.

A “Twitter-length statement” means in 140 characters or less. I was overwhelmed by a flood of responses, so I just picked out twenty of my favorites, starting off with the best of the bunch (the other nineteen are in pseudo-random order):

+ Spend only on what you’re passionate about and save the rest for the day when your passions unexpectedly drop in to sweep you away (Chris_Tackett)
+ Make your savings automatic so that you don’t even have to think about it (glblguy)
+ Act immediately – when you don’t spend money you thought you would, move it to savings immediately. Don’t wait – snowflake! (paidtwice)
+ Improve your self-esteem & suddenly you can do without acrylic nails. (dedejustdede)
+ Learn and leverage your neighborhood. You can find a great little eatery, small grocery, etc. – save gas – plus support local biz. (etesla)
+ Be involved with your finances on a daily basis. It’s hard to save when you’re not firmly in control of your spending. (Lynnae)
+ Start each month with a real dollar budget, allocating all of your income to *something*, don’t let life just happen to your money (EdenJaeger)
+ Pay a little on debt or toward savings every week. Smaller amounts are less psychologically intimidating. (sarahintx)
+ Just say “NO” to buying crap. Say “NO” to eating crap packaged foods, buying crap products, and investing in financial crap. (squawkfox)
+ If you have a big annual/semi-annual bill, make “virtual payments” on it monthly to spread out the impact. (davidgeisberg)
+ for general saving, pay yourself first. for shopping, pay close attention to the cost per unit. (fcn)
+ Distinguish between your wants and needs. (mischyfishy)
+ Write down every expenditure -that’s worked wonders for me! (m_s)
+ Let your values, dreams, and purpose drive you finances. They provide more motivation and energy for saving than anything else. (TheHappyRock)
+ Savings should be included in your budget, and taken out of your paycheck first. That way you can’t spend too much to save. (jjeaton)
+ You don’t have to earn six figures to save money. Saving is a function of spending less than you earn, no matter what you earn. (FrugalDad)
+ Set a savings goal, set reminders of that goal, and then make it a competition against yourself to achieve it. People love games. (bargainr)
+ Debit instead of credit! I can only spend money not already allocated for bills/saving/investing-forcing me to limit my purchases (talialeone)
+ I manage to save & I am earning less than 15K/yr. My advice — Just do it! (CindyS531)

That’s a nice collection of tips there with a lot of different voices and perspectives. I may try this again sometime in the future for a weekly roundup.

Now, for some of my favorite posts from other blogs over the last week.

Don’t Want To Work Forever? Retire On Time With These 10 Tips For me, retirement is just the point in time where I can begin to live wholly off of the money I’ve saved and invested and thus I can make personal choices without worrying about income. That doesn’t mean sitting at home and reading all day – in fact, it probably means a lot more travel, if anything. (@ the digerati life)

New Car Every 10 Years or Used Car Every 5? It appears to actually depend on what kind of car you buy. If a car depreciates very quickly (like a GM), you’re better off in a cycle of used cars. If a car depreciates relatively slowly (like a Honda), you might be better off buying new and getting the extra years (the article’s numbers are pretty close on the matter, enough for me to call them inconclusive). (@ million dollar journey)

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover The people who look rich aren’t always necessarily rich. (@ master your card)

Warren Buffett on Market Fluctuations: Investors Gain When the Market Falls Excellent excerpts from Warren Buffett’s letters to Berkshire Hathaway stockholders. (@ get rich slowly)

(Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents: Career Struggles I know that I often use my wife’s parents as a measuring stick for how we’re doing – and I feel frustrated when we’re not measuring up. (@ being frugal)

Do You Have An Opportunity Fund? We use our emergency fund for that because we keep a really large emergency fund and don’t sweat it when we have to yank cash out of it. (@ blueprint for financial prosperity)

Inexpensive Frugal Mother’s Day Gift Ideas A lot of good ideas here for celebrating the day without shelling out money to Hallmark. (@ cash money life)

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  1. Frugal Dad says:

    Some great “Twitter-tips” on saving money. Thanks for including mine. I also enjoyed the roundup this week.

    My personal favorite was Being Frugal’s post on (Not) Keeping Up With Our Parents. Many a financial mistake has been made by trying to “keep up” with parents, friends, etc. My wife and I knew two couples early in our marriage who were good friends of ours, and we constantly compared our situation to theirs. Problem was, they had been working and saving for the first ten years of marriage with two incomes and no kids. We were living on one income with two kids – apples and oranges. Once we recognized we would never keep up with them, financially, we became content with our own financial lives.

  2. Thanks for the mention Trent! I joined Twitter a couple weeks back, and i’m still up in the air if it’s useful or not. What are your thoughts?

  3. My Small Cents says:

    My favorite tip was Lynnae’s and it’s been the way that I’ve turned my financial life around over the past year and a half. By being involved with my finances *every* single day, I am no longer frightened and overwhelmed.

  4. Patrick says:

    Live within your means, delay gratification, and know your wants vs. needs.

    Of course, it isn’t always that black and white, but doing this has worked very well for me so far. Thanks for the mention. :)

  5. Lynnae says:

    Great Twitter tips and post roundup! As a mom, I really like the Mother’s Day ideas at Cash Money Life. I’d much rather have something homemade from my kids than a token gift from Hallmark!

    Thanks for the links!

  6. squawkfox says:

    I find the power of twitter fascinating. With one single “twit” you gathered all these awesome tips. Thank you!

  7. Eden says:

    Hey Trent, I liked you Twitter experiment and thanks for including my tip.

    For those wondering about Twitter’s usefulness, I was skeptical at first, but now I’m hooked. It’s all about who you follow. I get a lot of tech news and tips (relevant to my work) and find out about a lot of useful things that way. Essentially, it’s become the ‘breaking news’ of useful things on the Web.

    I am ‘EdenJaeger’ on Twitter if anyone wants to follow me and I recommend seeing who the people you follow are following to start building up a good list.

  8. Khaki says:

    A great tip for saving money is to think before making the purchase in terms of how many minutes, hours, or days it took to earn that money. It is even better to know your hourly wage after taxes and deductions in this equation.

  9. Kim says:

    My best money saving tip? “Want less.”

  10. Beth says:

    Just curious, when are you going to update your April Net Worth?


  11. Erica says:

    Hey – thanks for including my tip! It’s an honor to have it posted on one of my favorite blogs. :) (etesla)

  12. dj says:

    Why stop at 10 years for a car :-) I have a friend who has owned the same car for over 25 years. It’s a Toyota Corolla. Added benefit is their insurance is a lot less. I think it is really sad the impact marketing has on the populace. Their self-esteem wrapped up in a manufactured object, like the folks that bought the iphones at $600 only to see it drop $200 seven weeks later. When did we replace making decisions with our heads, with emotions (includes political elections).

    I like what Alan Alda said on Tavis Smiley’s show, “Keep score your way”, from his “Things I Overheard While Talking to Myself” book.

    Never buy anything on impulse. Buying is like a craving, if you can get past the moment, it’ll go away. Like #8, when we buy items now, we don’t see the price tag as the cost, but rather the hours we need to work as the cost. We always ask, need or want.

    Nate, from the Oprah show, said something that pretty much sums up household stuff. He never keeps anything in his home that doesn’t have meaning to him. It’s so easy to accumulate stuff. Not only does it take your money, but then it steals your time. You have to clean, maintain, and worry about it. Just make sure it is worth your time and the ongoing price. Did you ever notice in interviews of actors, the number that actually don’t own or watch TV. We should take a cue from them ;-)

    The best gift of all is “time”. I took time off to spend with my mother who was in a hospice. Talk about financially scary. My father had previously died suddenly. My mother received “things”, but all she wanted was to see her kids, and grandkids. Everyone was so busy working, making money, to pay for the things. Sounds like what young kids want from their parents, not stuff, but time. Rather than buy something, ask your loved ones if they need anything done around the house. When one is on death’s doorway, it won’t be the junk that was bought that brings solace. Really, what special meaning can a mass produced knickknack, made of some material, in some condition, in a far a way place like China, have to a person?

    Oprah had a show, “What would you dare live without” where she asked two families to change their lifestyles for 1 week. Which meant, no eating out, drink filtered water, 1 hour of tv or video games, etc. At first it was interesting to see how dysfunctional our families have gotten. Second, it was amazing to see the transformation, especially in the little kids. They didn’t miss the stuff, and were actually reading books.

  13. Stephan says:

    I work for Hallmark Cards. Go ahead and buy a card or three for your mom. :-)

  14. Josh Eaton says:

    Trent, thanks for including my tip! (jjeaton)

  15. Lovely says:

    I think most people would agree that saving money is something “easier said than done”. Personally, I believe it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money-saving habits.

    Here are some things I’ve done to help change my spending habits:

    – Cooking more at home ? Eating out is very expensive especially if you do it a couple times a week
    – Shopping online ? You can find better deals than in the store and you save on gas (I recommend http://www.shoptivity.com)
    – Paying the full balance on credit cards each month ? Interest charge is like giving away free money
    – Don’t forget to pay yourself ? Set up an online savings account (they pay higher interest than a normal savings account)
    – Setting a budget and goals ? It’s good to have your goals written down so you see them everyday and don’t lose focus on your ultimate objectives

    Again, saving money requires a lot of patience and hard work. However, you’ll thank yourself later on in life. Good luck everyone!! =)

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