I don’t even need to ask – we all want to save money. Some of us absolutely need to, others just want to, but no matter what your finances are like, I bet you could do with some cutting back on your everyday spending. Luckily for you, there are several tips you can learn on how to be smart about your money and your spending. If you apply them, you can save money on…virtually anything! That’s right, from the smallest things, like your daily coffee to something like a home, money can be saved, pinched, and scrimped, so let’s see how!

Learn To Differentiate Between “Want” And “Need”

One of the most important financial lessons you will ever learn is to start making a much-needed difference between Wants and Needs. You see, a lot of the money we spend has nothing to do with our bare necessities or things we need; it all goes on things we want, or think we want.

We live in a consumerist society and everywhere you look, someone is pushing you to buy something and trying to convince you that you have some hidden need for their product. Learn to identify these tricks and train your brain to automatically assess an item and decide whether it’s a Want or a Need.

To give you an example, let’s say you’re in the market to buy a watch. You do need one, because being on time is important for you, but you want the expensive one. A cheaper one fulfills your needs just as well, but what you want is to spend the extra few hundred quid for the pricey one.

This goes for everything else: you need chicken, bread, and potatoes, but you want a few cans of beer and scallops. You need to get to work, but you want to take an Uber instead of taking the bus. In time, you will get used to the fact that the majority of your expenses are choices you make to spend money on what you want, instead of sticking to what you need. If you can master this impulse, you’ve won half the battle. And with our growing awareness of income inequality and economic disparity, being frugal is cool – and Penny Golightly knows what’s up.

Look For Deals And Discounts

It used to be that you had to wait for shops to offer you coupons and then keep a hold of them to use the next time you were in that shop. Or you had to wait for annual sales. Nowadays, discounts, deals, and coupon codes abound, and you can easily find them online. With just a quick Google search, you can enjoy a discount on almost anything, if you know where to look. There are coupons, discount codes, deals, and vouchers right at your fingertips. Lotty from Lotty Earns can help you with deals, discounts, and even freebies!

In addition, you can also make smart use of any store card that offers a discount, student discount, senior discount, employee discount, an app that gives you exclusive access to offers, or newsletters that alert you of special discounts and sales that you find out about before anyone else. Not only does it require no effort, it’s almost like passive income. Never buy anything without looking for a discount code, first. Miss Thrifty frequently has coupons available, if you are interested in them, as well as plenty of other tips on being thrifty.

Cut Back

Have you ever considered just cutting back? It doesn’t even have to be by much, just say, 20%. On everything. From takeaway coffee to taxi rides to clothes to gadgets to going out – anything can be reduced. You don’t even need to cut anything out completely from your routine or expenses, even if it’s a luxury item or habit. All you have to do is make the conscious decision to cut back by a little bit in order to save some money. And who is better at saving money than the Money Saving Expert himself? You can follow Martin Lewis for tips on his blog or on Twitter (@MartinSLewis)

That way, the savings can add up quite a bit, especially on expenses you make frequently. And once you do the math and realise just how much you could be potentially saving, that can be a powerful incentive to continue to cut back on other non-essential items or habits, but that end up being very expensive. Ideally, these categories will include any unhealthy habits such as smoking, drinking, or eating fast food. Think of all the money you could be saving! Kelly from Reduced Grub can save you £1,500 per year on groceries alone!

Plan Ahead

Things end up being the most expensive when you are taken by surprise. When you need something urgently, you will pay however much is necessary just to get that item or service. But if you are smart about things and plan ahead, you can end up saving a significant amount of money. Let’s look at some different categories of expenses where planing ahead can help you save.

Holidays & travel – The most obvious situation is booking holidays and general travel. The farther ahead you book tickets and accommodation, the less you need to pay. If you need to travel on short notice, that plane ride is going to hurt your purse a little bit. But if you plan it ahead of time, you can look for deals, keep an eye on changing prices, wait for ticket sales, etc. This goes for trains and coaches, as well, and also for hotels. If you know when you’ve got the time and where you’re going, book everything in advance and you won’t be sorry.

Renting a house – This is simply a matter of ensuring that you are not in a desperate situation where you need somewhere to stay, so you are forced to accept a less than ideal price. If you start looking ahead of time and know what you’re looking for and what your budget is, that allows you the luxury of being picky, turning things down, and waiting for the perfect place for you, that will not only be cheaper, but also meet your needs better. If you look for something on short notice, you’ll have to settle for whatever is available, and probably pay late or emergency fees.

Essential items like clothing, tools, etc – This goes for any item you know you will need at some point in the near future – don’t leave it until the last minute. Instead, start browsing ahead of time. For example, let’s say you need some new winter boots. Don’t wait to get them in December, once it’s snowed and you need them ASAP; be smart and purchase them in the summer sales, when they’re less than half the price. Same for tools you may need to use around the house, and even gadgets like a new laptop, or household appliances.

Share With Someone Else

And if you think individual saving is great, wait until your hear about the magic you can make happen when you team up with a friend or four. If you haven’t been paying attention, there are all kinds of offers that require you to either buy multiples of a product, or that you purchase a service or experience package as a group. This way you can save money on lots of things, from bus tickets to cinema tickets to everyday, household products (3 for 2, anyone?).

Don’t forget groupons as an excellent way to save money on essential services (like cutting your hair) or fun experiences, like bungee jumping, going to an obstacle course, attending a class, learning a skill, like pottery, etc. Not only is everything more fun with your friends, but you can also get significant discounts if you stick together!

In conclusion, as you can see, money can be saved – and easily! – you just have to know where to look, and how to go about it. You can save money on almost anything you want to purchase, and cut back on your spending in the process. Karen from Help Me To Save can do exactly that and help you in your saving journey.