According to an AI
Today I did a really interesting experiment. I asked an AI to generate 10 tips for saving money, and I was NOT disappointed! I’ll add my own reactions to these tips, but frankly, they’re a pretty good starting point. I think they mostly contain basic information that is widely shared all over the internet, so not ground breaking new advise, but non the less, if a computer can figure this out, I am sure we can use these tips in our own lives to see a bit of a difference.
- Make a budget: The first step in saving money is understanding where your money is going. Make a detailed budget of your income and expenses to identify areas where you can cut back.
- This really is the starting point, even if you’re using my Macro Budgeting Method. There are two things to look for right off the bat. Do you have more money coming in than going out? And are you spending more than you can afford in certain categories? Make a plan to fix that imbalance and you’ll be heading in the right direction.
- Take advantage of student discounts: Many businesses offer student discounts, so make sure to take advantage of them.
- Ok, so this one wont apply to everyone, but lets flesh it out a bit. If you have a post secondary education, many alumni associations offer deals and discounts you could benefit from. Or if you’re considering a part time job, maybe look at grocery or hardware stores instead of clothing or fast food so you can use your employee discount towards things you really need.
- Use public transportation: Cars are expensive to maintain, so consider using public transportation instead. Not only will it save you money on gas and maintenance, but it’s also better for the environment.
- This is great wisdom. If this option exists for you, it could be the biggest money saving opportunity. I once had a colleague tell me her car cost more each month than her rent, and complained non stop about being broke. Even if going without a car isn’t an option, a smaller or older car will likely get the job done just as well, so consider downgrading if you’re serious about reaching your financial goals.
- Shop around for the best deals: Before making a purchase, take the time to shop around and compare prices. You can use websites like Flipp and RetailMeNot to find the best deals and discounts.
- This is good stuff too. I use Flipp every time I plan a grocery shop. I’ll add that knowing what a “good” sale is on products you buy often will allow you to stock up at the best price. For example $5.49 is a typical sale price on butter lately, but if it ever goes to $3.99 again, I’ll buy and freeze a ton.
- Use cashback apps: There are several cashback apps available, such as Rakuten, that allow you to earn cashback on your purchases.
- This is my least favourite advice. Two reasons. Rakuten is mentioned in almost every personal finance blog post as an affiliate. The blogger gets a commission if you sign up. They promote it for this reason, and may or may not actually use it or value it. Second, the little poking around I’ve done tells me that I can save money by buying things I wouldn’t have bought otherwise, which isn’t a saving at all. If you love it, great, but it’s a pass for me.
- Cook at home: Eating out can be expensive, so try cooking at home instead. Not only will it save you money, but it’s also healthier.
- Well this is an obvious truth, in todays world it’s not always that easy. I need fast, easy, affordable recipes that are nutritious but my kids will still eat. Truthfully cooking is one of my biggest challenges right now. Drop your best recipes in the comments. One caveat – no canned soup!
- Avoid impulse buying: Impulse buying can add up quickly, so try to avoid it as much as possible. Make a list before you go shopping, and stick to it.
- I refer back to my money mantra to help fight the urge: Put your money where your dreams are! If this purchase doesn’t improve my life or get me closer to my financial goals, I’m not buying it. Now I cheat sometimes, like grabbing sweets from the 50% off rack at the grocery store. Or my recent purchase of a bed wedge to make my bed more comfortable. Because quality of life matters too. But future me really needs present me to make good choices now so I don’t spend my elder years in poverty.
- Take advantage of free entertainment: There are plenty of free entertainment options available, such as going for a hike or visiting a local park.
- Some of our favourite free activities are hiking, small town festivals, concerts in the park. The kids love splash pads or beach days, tobogganing, baking. In the summer we often take little day trips where gas and ice cream are our only expenses.
- Use a budgeting app: There are several budgeting apps available, such as Mint and PocketGuard, that can help you track your spending and savings.
- I have been hearing very good things about You Need A Budget lately, and I think soon I’ll bite the bullet and give a couple a try. But they are certainly not necessary. An excel sheet or even a note book can be great tools if you find what works for you.
- Save automatically: Set up automatic savings with your bank, so a portion of your income goes directly into your savings account each month. This way, you won’t have to think about it and it becomes a habit.
- I think this is the most important advice. Pay yourself first. If your employer offers RRSP or TSFA matching, do the max amount. Then make sure a certain minimum amount is going towards your goals every month (or pay period). If having automatic transfers set up makes it easier, that’s a wonderful plan. I’ve done this in the past, but with my current more aggressive investing, I’m taking a more hands on approach.
By following these tips for saving money, you’ll be able to save money and reach your financial goals faster. Remember, saving money takes time and effort, but it’s worth it in the long run. Start small, and work your way up to bigger savings.
Well there you have it. Tips for saving money from an AI! How do you think it did? Are you using any of these suggestions yourself? Do you have any tips for saving money that our robot friend left out? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you!
1 thought on “10 Tips for Saving Money”
Those tips are always great advice.