7 Tricks to save money – without giving up anything (anna&eddy approved)

"Boa, Anna and Eddy, you’re so cool and you don’t mind walking around in rags and eating pasta with tomato sauce, but honestly: If I don’t drive up to the customer in my Audi and wear my fancy suit, the guy won’t take me seriously and I’ll never get my commission.

Besides, my daughter gets teased at school when she unpacks her sandwiches instead of buying chocolate bars at the kiosk like all the other kids. She can hardly concentrate anyway with the lack of sugar.

The neighbors are also already looking funny because we haven’t yet planted the cherry laurel as a privacy screen around our new home and anyway, how am I supposed to save money when we have to go on vacation during the school vacations?

The fares are hell! There you pay for the flight to the west coast of the USA 1.000 euros each and the RV also comes on top! And look how frugal we are already, we have namely booked a camper for the round trip, we do without hotels! Well, if that’s not modest, I don’t know what is… That’s as good as it gets, sorry!"

Phew. Karsten – We hear you. We do not want to deal in this post with whether you should buy your own home and where the vacation trip is cheapest. We will do that another time.

But if you don’t see any possibilities to invest more in your early retirement due to your (note: self-selected) life circumstances, here are one or two hacks for you. The best part: they work without you having to give up anything at all!

1. Switch providers

More than a third of German households do not actively choose their electricity and gas suppliers and are therefore in the basic supply system. Thereby you can change the supplier within a few minutes. Why should you do it? It saves a lot of money. We’re not talking about 10 euros a year.

For many households it is about hundreds of euros per anno – the bigger the family, the more there is to get. But even one-person households can easily save 300 euros a year for electricity and gas, which can stay in their own pockets. You have to imagine! That’s 27 million households giving energy suppliers over 300 euros a year…

You don’t want that anymore? Switch providers online. Comparison portals such as Verivox * or Check24 * are recommended for this purpose.

If you want to spend less money every year (who wouldn’t want to do that?)?), also change your provider annually.

This is really worthwhile, because you actually always get cheaper prices and additionally dust off new customer bonuses. Just put a reminder in your calendar and add at least two weeks to the cancellation period.

Example: The minimum contract term with your gas supplier ends on 01.04. and the notice period is six weeks, then switch providers no later than the end of January.

By the way, the new provider will take care of the cancellation of the old one for you – so everything can be done without much effort on your side.

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The same is true for cell phone and DSL plans. You can also save a lot of money if you cancel your old contracts and become a new customer with another provider. Here, too, you can best use portals like Verivox* or Check24 *.

2. Check subscriptions

By this we don’t just mean the TV guide. If you have a subscription to a TV guide, cancel it immediately and give yourself a good slap in the face for having a subscription to a TV guide.

It’s also a question of "hidden" subscriptions that incur monthly costs, such as.B. Your bank account. There are still far too many people who actually pay fees for their account management! As a private customer YOU DON’T HAVE TO!

Switch to a bank that doesn’t charge account maintenance fees. Best to go to a direct bank. You don’t need the branch anyway – nowadays you can do everything online. Many direct banks have super customer service incl. 24-hour hotline. You’ll have more of that anyway than if you were to go to the store during business hours between 9.30 and 11.30 o’clock to the Volksbank branch in Klein Borstel must.

In addition, banks now have to provide a relocation service (z.B. with a view to standing orders and direct debits) offer, which makes the change for you much less complicated.

The rest you know: Do you really read the daily newspaper or does it end up untouched in the waste paper?? Do you use the expensive gym or don’t you go there anyway?? Why do you have a XING Premium account?? By the way, this is not a call to cancel such subscriptions if you really use them! But even then, you can consider whether your contract is necessary in its current form or whether there might be better alternatives.

For example, we are in the super cheap gym around the corner. This has no sauna or body pump classes, but everything we need and use regularly.

For the subscriptions you keep, the general rule is that paying annually is much cheaper than paying on a monthly or quarterly basis. This is especially true for insurance. So you save a few euros if you let the provider debit the whole chunk once a year than if he regularly pays the money for your liability insurances and the like during the year. debits.

3. Take advantage of salary increases

This trick is as simple as it is ingenious. At the moment you probably live quite well: You have a roof over your head, regular meals and clothes. Sounds duff!

If you do your job properly, you should always be able to negotiate your salary. Let’s say you knock out an increase of x% starting next month. Then you IMMEDIATELY go to that internet and use a gross to net calculator . There you enter your newly negotiated monthly salary. Now subtract your current monthly income from your new net salary.

Now IMMEDIATELY set up a monthly standing order for the difference between new and old. Where to? To your deposit clearing account. You do not have a deposit? Then take first your daily allowance account. You don’t have a daily allowance account? Then set one up! And we also do the depot!

Without ever having to do without anything, you now have more on the side every month. Nothing changes. Do it really directly, because it’s much easier to give up money you never had than to come down from an increased standard of living again.

By the way, you can do the same with tax refunds or other unplanned income: Make the money work for you by investing it instead of spending it.

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4. Grocery shopping: healthy and cheap

Eat only pasta with tomato sauce. That saves you money.

No, please do not do that. A varied diet is one of the most important investments you can make. What’s the point of all the rumgespare if you don’t provide yourself with essential nutrients?

In Germany we have it really good: Many unprocessed plant-based staple foods like vegetables, fruits, legumes, grains etc. are super cheap. The purchases usually only become really expensive when you buy processed or exotic products. So, as long as you’re willing to cook for yourself, there’s nothing standing in the way of eating cheap AND value at the same time.

Which brings us right to the next super simple trick: Write yourself a shopping list! On a piece of paper, in an app, on your hand – it doesn’t matter. And then buy the things that are on the piece of paper. You don’t need the rest! This helps immensely to avoid senseless impulse buys.

And if your friend comes home and says: "Look, honey, I have something nice here. These are Kale chips, they are organic and fair trade and certainly super tasty!"then tell him that this is why he can only retire four years later.

5. Mindset

You tend to make impulse buys and like to take things with you? Then stick a sign in your wallet, which you will see immediately when you open it. On it you write then something like "Do I really need that?". If you’re at the checkout now, seriously think for a second and put the bag of Salted Caramel Popcorn back.

Why not put this directly into practice by printing out the PDF and cutting out a think piece to fit your wallet?. No excuses&

Click here to read the "Do I really need this?"-PDF to get .

6. Sleep on it again

Sometimes you see something in a store window or on Amazon and think to yourself, "But that’s nice (or practical), I really need that!" The urge to take the gadget or shoes right away is strong. No problem, we think! You can buy it in any case! But wait a minute..

Is it about new clothes? Then just sleep on it for three nights. Is it about a new computer? Make the three nights ten nights. If you still want it, you can always go back to the store or to Amazon and buy it.

Eddy’s mother did the trick decades ago when little Eddy wanted the new "Super Soaker 50". So the announcement was: If Eddy still wants the thing after two weeks, he gets it. Fortunately that was the case and the "Super Soaker 50" led to many happy hours.

Much more often than you can imagine, the desire is gone after three days or at least not so strong anymore. Then you realize that you didn’t really like the shoes, that your computer is still running fine or that you don’t need the "Super Soaker" after all. Just try it out!

You’ve already waited twelve nights and are still thinking longingly about the wristwatch? Then see if you can get them used. Often you save a lot of money if you look on eBay(-classifieds) and similar portals and profit from the "bad buys" of others.

A lot of things are hardly used and as good as new – but well below the store price. By the way, this way you not only save your wallet, but also other resources that are needed for the production of things.

7. Calculate opportunity costs

We find this method particularly effective. First calculate your real hourly wage:

Example: You have a normal full-time job and earn net 2.000 euros per month. You basically work 160 hours per month (40 hours per week * 4 weeks per month), but you can deduct 20 hours because you have 30 vacation days per year.

However, you should also consider your travel time to the workplace. If this is z.B. with a total of 90 minutes per day, you need to add 30 hours per month. Now divide your net salary by your working hours: 2.000 ÷ 170 = 11.76 euros. This is your real hourly wage.

Now you are flirting with a new pair of trousers, which should cost 129 euros. Expressed in working time, that is more than eleven hours. So you would have to work more than one day to pay for the pants. Maybe you sleep over it again (see 6.) and think whether your five other pants are not enough for the time being and whether the new pants are really worth more than one day of your working life.

Calculating is not your thing? No problem! Just use our hourly wage calculator, to check for you how many hours you would have to work for a new purchase.

Bonus for the hardship cases: The 5-euro bill trick

If you are a supposedly hopeless case, we have to resort to more drastic methods: Never spend 5-euro bills again. Whenever you have a 5 euro bill in your wallet, you put it in a box at home o.a. Never pay with it – from now on, 5-euro bills are no longer accepted means of payment! At home you collect the bills and in regular intervals you bring your money to the bank.

If you are already with a direct bank, check out how often you can deposit for free per year and where you can do it. If your bank does not offer free deposits, open an account with a direct bank that does.

Every little bit counts!

Do we two happy blog authors do it all as described above? Yes (except for the hardship trick, which we fortunately don’t need)! We always do it like this? No! Eddy also comes home with a bag of Kale chips, we both enjoy eating out with friends and travel every chance we get.

It’s not about doing without everything from now on, but first and foremost about being aware of everything – in other words, developing an awareness so that you can in turn make conscious purchasing decisions.

Logical: Only when it is clear to you what you actually spend your money on, you can ask yourself whether it is really necessary or not. whether it makes you permanently happier .

It is within your control to change your habits and put money aside to retire earlier . Just see what of the tricks can be implemented quickly for you and also consider what else you can change in the long run. For example, it’s best to add a new freedom-acceleration habit every month so you don’t get overwhelmed at the beginning.

In summary: Here’s how to retire faster without sacrificing

  • Switch your electricity and gas providers
    Use a comparison portal like Verivox* or Check24* and look for new energy suppliers. Best you change from now on annually. This can be done very quickly and saves a lot of money.
  • Cancel contracts/subscriptions for things you don’t use
    Just look at your monthly bank statement, who debits everything, although you are their service o.a. Not needed at all. Also consider if there are cheaper, but equally good alternatives. Change recurring bills to yearly instead of monthly or quarterly.
  • Put your salary increases aside
    Always transfer the difference to your old salary to another account immediately. The money was never available for you and you don’t have to spare anything.
  • Go to the supermarket with a shopping list
    Be aware: Every supermarket operator optimizes the positioning of his offers as best as possible and tries to trick you into impulse buying at every corner. With your shopping list, which you work off dully, you are less receptive to it.
  • Sharpen your awareness
    Put a note in your wallet (e.g., "I’m going to buy something").B. "Do I really need this?") that reminds you to re-examine your acute buying impulse.
  • Sleep over it again
    The next day, your huge wish from yesterday for a pasta machine might have vanished, because you don’t really like to eat pasta and you don’t have room in your kitchen for another machine.
  • Charge for your working time
    How many days do you have to work to buy the new iPhone?? How many hours do you spend in the office for the new pants?? Is it really worth it?? Use our hourly wage calculator at the end of the article!

Hourly wage calculator

With the hourly wage calculator, you can calculate how much you

  1. real earnings, if you include your actual hours worked, travel time to the workplace, etc., in your annual salary. include.
  2. have to work to afford a desired purchase (optional).

This is how you feed the calculator:

  • Net salary per month: Enter how much ends up in your account each month (after taxes).
  • Vacation days per year: Enter your annual vacation days here. For most, the value is between 24 and 32 days.
  • working days per week: Do you work five days a week or z.B. only three or four?
  • Hours per week (real): Enter here how many hours per week you work on average really and not the number that is written in your employment contract!
  • Total travel time to/from work per day: Here you enter the total commute time in minutes that you need to get to the office and back home again.
  • Price my planned purchase (optional): If you are thinking of making a purchase, enter how much it would cost to work out how long it would take you to make the purchase.

Important note: Your data will not be sent to our server; the calculation will be done locally in your browser only! We do not receive any information about what you enter.

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