Articles Focused on Saving Money

Categories:     

*    Savings Related to Top 10 Household Expenses    *    14 Methods of Saving Money    *    Couponing    *    Savings Apps    *

        *    3-Minute Savings Book Summaries    *    Key Takeaways From Popular Finance Books   *     

*    Savings Advice for Specific Products and Categories: Housing, Transportation, Healthcare, and Eating Out    *


Map of Median Home Value per Square Foot by State

Top 10 Household Expenses

("WHERE to save money.")

When asked where they spend their money, many people first think of grocery shopping and eating out.  Since people eat approximately 3 times per day, we think about food much more frequently and overestimate food's importance to a typical U.S.  household's budget.  According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics,  the combined categories of "food at home" (8.7%) and "food away from home" (6.7%) only account for 15.4% of our total household expenses.  To really save money, people need to understand where they are currently spending and look for opportunities, especially in the largest categories, like "housing" (36.4%), "ongoing transportation" (12%), "healthcare" (9.8%), and taxes.    To see the typical household's budget, read:  What Family Expenditures Should I Prioritize for Reduction?

To adjust the average household's numbers to better resemble your own household's situation, use the 3 most influential variables of income, age, and location.  (Read:  Do Family Expenditure Depend on Income, Age, and Geography?)

At this point, readers will have a strong financial picture of their own household expenses.  Even then, many will avoid reading about saving money on their  "housing," the largest chunk of the budget, because they don't think there's anything to change.  In fact, they avoid looking at housing expenses every month; most Americans use auto-pay to avoid the pain of looking at mortgage, rent, and utility bills.  Housing is not a 1-time expense; it's a monthly expense.  And there are opportunities to reduce how much is spent on housing.  

It is important to look at opportunities in all budget categories:  

1. Housing (Save Money on Shelter, Utilities, Furniture, Housekeeping, and More Housing-Related Expenses)

2. Food at Home (Saving Money on Grocery Shopping).




14 Methods of Saving Money

(HOW to save money.)

There are 14 methods to save money.  Most people already practice several of these techniques on a selective basis.  Bigger savings occur when a technique is applied to a new realm (for example, using a coupon beyond groceries, perhaps for health care expenses) or learning to employ a new or seldom used technique (such as total cost).  To learn about all of the methods, read "14 Ways and Methods to Save Money."   To gather a deeper understanding of how these 14 techniques rely on 3 key savings levers, read "3 Key Savings Levers that Everyone Should Know to Save Money."

To dig deeper into the individual ways to save money, read articles further explaining, providing resources for, or applying each technique:
14 Ways & Methods to Save Money image piggy bank
  1. Price Comparison
  2. Price Discounts & Coupons
  3. Cherry- Picking
  4. Retail vs. Wholesale
  5. Cash Back
  6. Trade Brand for Private Label
  7. Trade Quality for Price
  8. Substitution
  9. New vs. Used
  10. DIY vs. DIFM
  11. Unbundled & Decomposition
  12. Trade Time for Price
  13. Volume Reduction
  14. Total Cost of Ownership Comparison.




Couponing

There are many ways to save money.  "Couponing" is not yet an Olympic sport, but it has developed champions, teams, techniques, followers--and even competitions.  Before jumping into couponing, a person should consider goals, financial resources available (sometimes it costs a little money up-front to invest in serious couponing, but it should be earned back quickly), where it makes sense to shop, how to find deals, how to measure savings success, and the amount of time willing to dedicate to saving money with coupons.  

One frequent beginners' question is, "Where can I get coupons?"  One way to procure a fresh weekly supply of coupons for grocery and drug-store use is to subscribe to a Sunday newspaper that includes free standing coupon inserts or buy them directly in bulk from a subscription service.  To know which weeks the newspaper will carry your favorite coupons, use a sneak-peek technique, such as the lists available on a coupon subscription service's site.  (Read: Weekly Coupon Insert Schedule)

While some couponers say they extract tons of coupons by simply signing up for companies' email lists, we tested that theory on 120 companies and report our results.  (Read: Sharing Your Email Address: Is It Worth It?)

Sunday Newspaper Coupons are found in Free Standing Inserts FSIWhen looking for specific coupons, the answer can vary:

Modern couponers gather coupons from coupon apps while also making use of other types of savings apps (see below).  




Stack Your Savings image stacked beach rocks

Rebate Apps

Rebate apps provide money back after a purchase is made, though many request customers indicate the offers they intend to redeem ahead of the purchase.


Checkout51


Fetch


Ibotta


Savings Apps

Savings programs often have apps, which can be split into 4 main categories: loyalty programs, coupon apps, rebate apps,  and pay-for-data apps.  Using multiple apps is like stacking deals and can save more money than simply replying on paper coupons.  

Loyalty Programs and Apps 

Most retailers and restaurants, and many manufacturers and service providers, enroll customers in their loyalty programs to track customers' purchasing patterns, reward continued brand loyalty, and introduce new products.  

Coupon Apps 

Coupons apps provide digital discounts that can be used at the point-of-sale, saving money as the purchase is being made.


Entertainment Book/ VIP Perks Coupon App

VIP Perks Entertainment app login screen



Other Savings Apps

  • Nielsen computer and mobile app
  • ReceiptPal  




3-Minute Book Summaries

Key Takeaways from Popular Books




Savings Advice for Specific Products & Categories

Housing


Transportation


Healthcare


Eating Out