Let’s start with the first three tips about locomotion. Maybe you already know: I used to have a car at my own disposal. I have been doing it every day and almost every route. Today I only have a car sharing membership and even though nothing has changed in the general conditions, I only drive 2-3 times a year. Just when it is really necessary.
For short distances (up to 3km) or if I have a lot of time, I take the means of transportation that I always have with me and that works completely maintenance-free and without operating costs: my feet.
Tip 1: Walk!
Yes really, this works. Boring? No way! Listen to podcasts or audio books and use your time productively. Or just do nothing and let your mind wander. It’s much better to do it on foot than in a car.
Besides: It’s good for your health. Walking a lot reduces your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, heart attack and stroke. At least 10.000 Steps Every Person Should Take per day Put back. I think some people can’t even do that in a week. 20.000 steps would be even better by the way.
Tip: A pedometer can motivate you to walk more often.
But of course, you don’t always have that much time or need to carry loads. Fortunately, there is still the bicycle, a beast of burden, which is guaranteed not to eat the hair from your head.
Tip 2: Ride a bike!
Good saddlebags are an investment for life. Or at least for many years. And the shopping for a week can be done at least for singles or couples with it quite well.
Besides, you are quite fast with the bicycle. In rush hour traffic I am guaranteed to reach my destination faster than my colleagues by car. Plus I get exercise in the fresh air.
With a little practice, the right mindset and above all the right clothes, it can even be fun in bad weather.
But of course not all ways can be done practicable by bike. At the latest from 30km each way I would also think about using public transport or the car. But there are also ways to save money.
Tip 3: Form carpools
If colleagues have a similar route as you or you want to go to events with friends, just drive together. That saves fuel and is much more fun.
And if you don’t know anyone who drives the same route, take a look at the many carpooling sites (e.g., "Carpooling").B. BlaBlaCar), which are now available on the Internet. On longer distances and with some lead time you can always find someone who at least wants to be close by and will take you for the small change.
As you can see, there are many ways to get where you want to go at a low cost.
So let’s look at another area with huge savings potential: food. When it comes to food and our consumption of it, we in the "western world" are pretty far behind both in terms of environmental awareness, responsibility for the planet and finances. We throw away far too much food. About 82kg per year per person (summary of a study by the University of Stuttgart, 2012). That is estimated 2-3 large shopping carts. Therefore my next tip:
Tip 4: Ignore the best-before date!
Really! No one needs this information. As long as you don’t suffer from significant sensory impairments (smell, sight, taste), you can safely identify spoiled food yourself.
Many foods (pasta, rice, other dry stuff) have an almost unlimited shelf life as long as they are stored dry. You can eat dairy products as long as they don’t smell funny, taste good and of course are free of mold.
Actually, the following always applies: Look at it (Is it moldy or does it look funny somehow?)?). If not: then smell it (Does it smell sour or abnormal?)?). If this also does not apply, then try a little bit. If it tastes normal, you can eat it without hesitation.
Attention: With meat and fish there is a Expiration date. You should not exceed this, because there is an enormous health risk.
Tip 4 helps not to throw everything away just because the best before date has been exceeded. The next tip will also reduce food waste and thus your costs.
Tip 5: Buy food only with a plan
Ideally, for each food item that ends up in your shopping cart, you know exactly when and in what dish you want to use it. If you decide only in the store, you tend to buy way too much and end up not being able to eat that much at all. Anyway, that’s how I feel.
Somehow you always forget that you still have the vegetable pan planned for Thursday, Friday is already eating with friends and Saturday is at a birthday party. On Sunday you realize frustrated that the fish you wanted to eat on Friday is no longer usable.
The next tip is actually totally logical, but since it is so important, I mention it here again.
Tip 6: Cook it yourself!
Delivery services are totally convenient and if I’m ever busy or just haven’t gotten around to shopping, I’m quickly tempted to order something too. And that is always really expensive.
For two people you never stay under 15 – 20€. If you cook yourself, you can easily get by with 4-5€ per meal and usually you have used even higher quality ingredients.
And it’s healthier and tastier too!
You can not boil? It can be learned. There are many step by step instructions on Youtube and Chefoch. And if you can deal with ETFs and shares and get financial education on your own, you will also be able to throw some vegetables into a pan. &
Tip: There are many very good cookbooks that can give you inspiration for quick, healthy and cheap meals.
Cooking yourself also has another advantage:
Tip 7: Take food with you
Whether you are going to work or traveling: It’s usually cheaper to take food with you rather than buying it on the go. Either you cook more the day before and take the leftovers with you or you only eat warm in the evening and make do with some raw vegetables at lunchtime.
This is how I do it. Half a cucumber, some bell bell pepper, some carrot, 1-2 eggs possibly. another apple and ready. Goes fast, makes full, is healthy and with 1,50€ – 2,00€ also a quite inexpensive lunch.
The subsidized canteen with 3-6€ per meal can’t really keep up. At ca. 20 working days per month you can save 20 – 90€ per month.
Tip: No one wants the food they bring to spill out in the bag. Therefore, with the right lunch box, it is twice as much fun and also protects the environment.
Tip 8: Tap water instead of soft drinks& Co.
Sorry to all Coca Cola shareholders, but this has to be said: The tap water in Germany is so good and cheap that you can drink it almost everywhere without hesitation.
On the one hand it is much healthier than soft drinks, on the other hand it is much cheaper. If you want a little more excitement, you can add your own sparkling water or give it a special touch with fruit or mint.
Tap water has another advantage: It is delivered to your house and you don’t have to carry boxes. Which brings us back to shopping without a car, and shopping is also the topic of my next tips.
Tip 9: Buy bulk packs
Just because you’re single doesn’t mean you can’t buy pasta and rice in 5-10kg packages. Large containers can often be ordered very inexpensively on the Internet and are then delivered directly to your door. And if you don’t feel like eating such a huge bag of rice, ask friends and family to share it out. We buy z.B. also good olive oil in 5l canisters / bottles and it keeps with proper storage easily two years.
And also detergent can be bought well and cheaply in bulk packs. Speaking of good&cheap:
Tip 10: Buy house brands instead of name brands
Often the house brands are simply much cheaper than the branded items right next to them. And quite often both products come from the same factory and were produced from the same ingredients.
So there is no reason at all to pay for the brand name. But watch out: Apparently, word has already spread and sometimes the opposite is the case and suddenly the NoName products cost more.
So always compare the prices. By the way, this also applies across stores. The great cheap discounters like Aldi and Lidl are by far not always as cheap as they make us believe. Many products are much cheaper at Edeka or Rewe.
Tip 11: Buy regionally and seasonally
Yes it is great that we can get everything always, everywhere and at any time. Strawberries in December and asparagus in autumn. But then the products are mostly far traveled, expensive and have a lousy quality.
Therefore, when it comes to vegetables and fruit, you should pay special attention to the season and the region. For this, by the way, the free app "iVeg*" is totally super. See immediately which vegetables and fruits are in season and which ones you should rather avoid.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to give up mangoes and bananas entirely. But where it goes, you can save already.
When it comes to strawberries and asparagus, one thing always stands out to me: When these products come into the trade and everywhere the stalls open, both products are extremely expensive at first and the very impatient are ripped off strongly. But if you can wait 2-3 weeks, the prices have already dropped a good bit.
Tip 12: Take advantage of special offers
Make your shopping and eating plan with the special offers brochure. This also fits in well with the seasonal idea. On the one hand there often the just current food is advertised and on the other hand you can fall back then preferentially on downgraded products.
But it’s important that you don’t blindly rely on the advertising. Because even they do not always have to offer the lowest price.
And another beverage tip
Tip 13: Avoid capsule and pad coffee
As a passionate coffee drinker, this tip is especially close to my heart. Coffee from capsules or pods is a no-go in every respect.
It not only tastes grotty but is also extremely expensive. In addition, vast amounts of waste are produced (especially in the case of capsules), which have an excessive impact on the environment. In addition, the energy requirement for the production of the capsules (aluminum production) is extremely high.
And while we are on the subject of garbage. Not only the capsules are garbage, but also the content. On the one hand, here is certainly not the highest quality coffee under the sun used. In addition, there are often many other ingredients that you actually do not want to have in the coffee at all. If you convert the price per capsule to the actual price for a kilo of coffee, you get about 70-90€ per kilo.
Wow. For that you can almost buy Kopi Luwak. Or 3-5kg of really good organic coffee from free-range coffee farmers.
But the machines are sooo cheap. Jaha but you can also buy a printer for 20€. But the cartridges will cost 50-60€. To buy such a thing I do not understand under financial education. Something to sell rather. &
Enough chatting about the topic, the message is clear: real coffee is much better!
From shopping to going out. Definitely an area that can turn your entire financial planning on its head. Going out with friends can quickly escalate to 50€ or more per head.
Tip 14: Celebrate at home
It doesn’t always have to be the nice but expensive cocktail bar or the hip pub in town. An evening with and at friends can also be very nice. Everyone brings something or one buys and the costs are shared.
Anyway: You can arrange it the way you want, have the drinks and food you like and don’t have to be annoyed by incompetent waiters.
Of course I also like to go out sometimes, but I can’t say that I liked the evenings at friends less. Rather the opposite.
Tip 15: Take advantage of lunch offers and coupons
If you want to go out for a meal, you can save a lot by taking advantage of lunch offers or vouchers. In some regions there are coupon books. These booklets cost about. 20-25€ and include vouchers à la "two for the price of one".
If you like to go out for dinner as a couple, this is ideal and is worthwhile from 2-3 evenings. In our region such a booklet is valid for about one year. So definitely a good deal.
Let’s move on to the budget. House, garden, apartment and everyday objects. They all have the potential to burn or bring in a lot of money. Depending on how you enter it.
Tip 16: Plant herbs, fruits and vegetables in the garden
If you have a garden, you should definitely use this potential.
Flowers are quite pretty but useless (my girlfriend will spank me for that…). I prefer crops though. On the one hand, they can also bloom quite nicely and on the other hand, they taste delicious or yield tasty fruits such as e.B. raspberries or strawberries. Just where these fruits cost a small fortune on the market, you can save here really what.
Even herbs are not cheap to buy, but can be easily and cheaply planted in the garden. So you always have fresh herbs at hand and you know that they have not been treated with any chemicals.
You do not have a garden? Too bad, but you can also save a lot of money in the household.
Tip 17: Eliminate power guzzlers
Older appliances in particular consume a lot of electricity. Old refrigerators and televisions are at the forefront of this trend. Also old light bulbs are no longer the illuminant of choice.
Therefore the tip: Throw the television on the garbage, runs anyway only scrap in the box. And replace the light bulbs with energy-saving LED bulbs. If they are of good quality and not too expensive, it will be worth it after a few years.
Tip 18: Repair instead of buying new
Since we can buy any product at any time and always cheaper, we have become a real throwaway society. If the sofa doesn’t look so nice anymore, it’s disposed of immediately. The sweater has a hole? Well you can buy a new one for 5€ at KIK.
This is not only bad for the environment, but also bad for your wallet. Many things can be used much longer than their manufacturers may have intended. Clothes can be mended, shoes can be repaired by a cobbler for very little money. Some old looking things can be cleaned and for everything else there is the basic equipment for engineers.
Tip 19: Borrow instead of buy
Many things you need often and it is really practical to own them. But this is not always true.
Do you have a garden? How often do you scarify your lawn?? Once a year? Even less? You can certainly borrow a scarifier like this from neighbors, friends or family for free. Or in the hardware store for a small fee. This not only saves you money, but you also don’t clog up your shed and don’t have to worry about repairs.
Even children’s toys can be borrowed by the way. And this is even quite advisable, where the preferences change monthly or even weekly. Meanwhile, there are also platforms where you can find the right toys inexpensively.
So rather borrow more and share than buy yourself. You do not have to own everything yourself. Often it is enough just to have access to it. Share Economy is the new German term. old english technical term for it.
Now let’s get away from the concrete sober tips and come to the nasty psychological tricks and the psychological warfare against your inner bastard.
Tip 20: Keep a budget book
Whether it’s on paper, in Excel, or in a budget app. Consistently tracking every expense will make you aware of where your money is going and force you to think about spending more.
afterwards you will see exactly for which bullshit you have wasted your money. In the long run, this will simply lead you to spend less. For me, this effect is enormous, as you can see in the development of my savings rate.
You will also think more about your purchases with the following sneaky hack.
Tip 21: The 30-day and 10-minute rule
With the 30-day rule, you should postpone major purchases at least 30 days into the future. D.h. if you want z.B. If you want to buy a new TV or a new headset, you don’t do it right away, but wait another month and think about it. Often you will find out that you don’t need this thing so urgently or that you can wait even longer until it becomes really cheap.
The 10-minute rule is more about avoiding occasional purchases. Whenever you see something in the store that you would like to have you have to visit (want to), but what is not on your list, you may buy it only after you have waited at least 10 minutes and thought about it. What do you really need this for? Do you have evtl. something similar? Does it really add value? With a bit of luck, sanity will return within those 10 minutes and they’ll leave the thing on the shelf.
Last but not least, the ultimate tip, to which I have already dedicated an entire article:
Tip 22: Convert money into time!
As Alex Fischer also emphasizes again and again, money is only an energy store. If you’re part of the majority of the population that has to work for a living, you’re in a sense conserving your work output for later. Of course, with some friction and inefficiencies, aka taxes and inflation.
But: you’re going up front now and investing lifetime to get money to spend later so you don’t have to pay with your lifetime then.
That’s why I find it very useful to always convert prices into time. Because this money voucher construct is far too abstract to do any meaningful math with it. After all, it’s not the absolute amount of money but the relative value for you that matters. And it mostly depends on how long you had to work for a certain amount of money.
In my post "Managing Money Successfully: Why You Should Calculate in Lifetime and Not Money" I go into detail about this way of looking at things. It has often helped me spend less money and certainly save several thousand euros.
There are just so many ways to save money. I try to apply as many of these as possible as often as possible and don’t feel in the least like I’m missing out on anything. Actually I am even doubly happy. First, because I enjoy my life and second, because it’s cheaper than it used to be and I can save more.
Of course there are many more money saving opportunities, but the article is long enough as it is and 22 is a nice number.
If you have any other tips, I’m always happy to hear your comments!