The Handbook

Strategic Ways to Save Money

Let's face it: stressing over your personal finances is just a matter of being a grown man. To paraphrase the old adage, in every life, a little money tension will inevitably arise. But taking control of your cash flow will make you feel more in control of your life in general. So how do you do it? Well, there are two guaranteed ways to have more money—earn more or spend less. And since we can't get you a raise, let us provide some proven tactics for keeping more cash in your pocket (without disrupting your life too much).

Get a Clear Budget In Place

You won't be fully prepared to tackle your finances if you're not 100% clear on what's coming into your bank account and, more importantly, what's going out. Programs like Mint and LearnVest will track your expenses and deposits, helping you stay within your budget and set up actionable plans to achieving specific monetary goals like paying off that high APR credit card.

Avoid Unnecessary Fees

Now that you can clearly see what you're spending, audit your expenses and look for charges you can easily eliminate. Like unnecessary subscriptions, memberships that can be canceled and service fees that should be questioned. You can end up saving $50 just by stopping these payments that you weren't even aware were leaving your bank every month. And be smart about your ATM trips. Try withdrawing a set amount each week and sticking to it, so that you're not forced to hit up a non-affiliated bank.

Curb Casual Spending

Picking up a bagel in the morning, a juice after the gym, that afternoon coffee run, grabbing a drink after work or picking up the check at dinner. It all adds up. Quick. One idea to curb this slow drip of dollars throughout the day comes from a Personal Finance thread on Reddit: the Zero Dollar Day, where you refrain from spending any money, all day. "As a bonus, by forcing yourself to forego the pack of gum, Diet Coke and whatnot on your $0 days, you wind up cutting these things out naturally on the other days," writes the author.


Here's one of the easiest ways to save more money. Swap your typical flavored beverage for water. It's free, it's good for your health and it's available pretty much everywhere. Just a few less visits to the soda machine or corner store will keep a decent amount of cash in your pocket. Especially when you're eating out, drink water instead of flavored or alcoholic beverages that not only add to the total restaurant bill, but often inflate your waistline too.

Buy In Bulk

We're big fans of buying in bulk. Not only are you always stocked with your essentials, but more times than not, when you by a larger quantity, you pay less per item. This is especially true of such nonperishable household staples as toilet paper, light bulbs, soap and trash bags.


Use Cash More Often

Typically, we spend less when paying cash. "It's been shown that we spend 12-18 percent more when we use plastic versus cash because it doesn't have that same emotional connection for us," says Danny Kofke, a financial advisor and educator. In fact, one study found that people were willing to pay twice as much for an item of unknown market value when they paid with a credit card versus with cash.

Save Nearly $500 in 30 Days

Known around the web as the "30-Day Money Challenge," the idea is to start on the first day of the month by saving $1. Then $2 on day two, $3 on day three and so on. By the end of the month you'll have stashed away at least $465. But we've found that it's easy to abandon the plan halfway through the month. A more successful strategy is to do it backwards. Put away $30 on day one, $29 on day two and it just gets easier as the month goes on.