The best way to save money?

111 Replies

Yet another chance to be featured in the next issue of BiggerPockets Wealth Magazine!

Calling all finance savants: What money-saving strategy do you swear by?

By responding here, you're allowing us to print your name and response, if chosen, in the next issue of the magazine. We're excited to hear what you have to say!

1. How to shop for a loan:

Speak with the lender on the phone. Have your IRS returns on the table, know your general FICO range, have your bank statements on the table to say how much you deposited in past three months, provide the truth in the past 3 years. 

2. How to fix your credit:

Pay on time, reduce balances to less than 69% of line, negotiate and dispute in writing.

First, I like to build value in my investment by seeing the property as what it can be by creating more space within the space, and then evaluating the most profitable exit strategy.  Then if it's a fix and flip or a buy and hold I create the bidding docs and prepare the project, so everything looks clean and simple.  Then I bid the project out with the intent of finding the best contractor for the project, one who needs the project the most (for whatever reason).  Then I buy out the contract (meaning having the contractors give me their best and final by adding some additional work to their scope because, if you don't, they will just say, "That is my best and final").  Finally, I put together a mutually agreed construction schedule, link it to their contract, hold their hand to the fire and Walla!  BIGGER PROFITS  

Give up on the new car and the car payment. Before we got out act together, we bought three Toyota RAV4s in six years. Every two years, new car, new bumper-to-bumper warranty. We told ourselves the most idiotic lies to justify it. Well, we live right next to the service center. Well, my wife's job requires for her to make critical house calls. We NEED an absolutely reliable car.

Seven years later, we're still on the last RAV4. Platinum-grade batteries with a three-year warranty, brake pads guaranteed for life, windshield wipers changed every year, Michelin tires changed every 2 years, oil changed every 5000 miles. Triple-A tow-100-miles membership for $100/year. We have a long-term understanding with a local mechanic, we do business with a local service garage. We live just outside the 66th largest city in America, with full access to Uber and Lyft. Give up on the new car and the car payment.

I heard a long time ago to make a "I don't care" list. This list includes items that I just do not care where I get them from. One example in my home is trash bags. For personal use, I simply do not care if I use Hefty or store brand. In fact, I anticipate that I saved well over a thousand dollars over the years by switching to dollar store trash bags for my home. Now, I know that some people cannot do this with children and brand loyalty, but it worked for me and it might work for others. 

Budgeting.  One of the simplest things you can do is to just keep track of your money.  I have always been somewhat of a financial savvy person, but was never a fan of restricting my spending.  Once I got on a budget, everything changed and I really started making headway towards my financial goals.  No I couldn't imagine my life without budgeting.  

The strategy is simple, Lots of discipline, I save 35% of my income and live off the rest of it, Not buying new clothes, walking where I can, Not eating out all the time (Hard for me to give up), simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference, out of the 35% that I keep stowed away I invest 10% from that each week into the market, Stocks, Real estate, Fundrise, that way my money doesn't die in a bank making nothing!

Originally posted by @Jeremy Nault :

Budgeting.  One of the simplest things you can do is to just keep track of your money.  I have always been somewhat of a financial savvy person, but was never a fan of restricting my spending.  Once I got on a budget, everything changed and I really started making headway towards my financial goals.  No I couldn't imagine my life without budgeting.  

 Any specific system you use or just advice you would give in terms of your budgeting? 

@Ivan Maldonado I have found that keeping it simple, and realistic makes it easier to keep up the habit of budgeting. I personally use Dave Ramsey's app Every dollar and it has been a game changer since I started using it.  I know his philosophies are largely debated in the BP community, and I don't agree with everything he say's.  However, spending less than you make, budgeting, and not getting into consumer debt is in my opinion the key to financial freedom.  

My wife and I have had great success with switching our everyday expenses to a cash envelope system. We set aside cash for each of our spending categories (food, fun, hair, gas, etc.) into a cash envelop wallet similar to this. We try to keep a little cash left over in each envelope each month to add to savings

Save at least 10% of every paycheck with automatic withdrawal. You won't miss it. Set up an account with a major investment firm. Use their online net worth calculator and set a goal to review and increase your net worth every month. Keep your car 10 years or longer. Only put your money in appreciating assets. 

Squirrel it away.  Literally, as often as you come across a nut, a buck, a silver bullion, or whatever it is, put it away in a location that is out of sight and out of mind (and ideally generating some returns while there) and then every few years you'll come across it and realize how much you've squirreled away!

Going along with @Will Fraser when I didn't feel I had the discipline to save in the beginning I set up a savings account with a direct deposit. It was out of the way enough, and out of sight enough that the money built up automatically. Eventually, I had enough to buy the motorcycle I was saving for at the time.

Learn or just be willing to do high dollar tasks yourself.   

As a landlord and buyer/seller I 'don't spend' $90k on avg /yr taking care of things myself and still barely 'work'.  

Bonus, money you don't pay licensees is not taxed.  I would have to earn about $120k for the same savings net.  

Or, buy cheaper trash bags😎

Echoing what has been said above about budgeting. I have a giant spreadsheet that captures all regular expenses. This includes monthly items, quarterly HOA dues, up to yearly costs like car registration and life insurance. That all gets broken down to what it costs me per paycheck. Add that up, that amount is direct deposited into an account we don't touch so bills are 100% covered at all times. Next we pay ourselves as much as possible with the remaining funds and that is auto deposited into Betterment. I like Betterment because it's investing without me getting caught in the latest stock crazy. Put it away, and let it build. Currently saving for our first investment property.

The money saving strategy that has made the biggest difference in my life has definitely been the house-hack.  Since I bought my first home in 2017, I've been saving an additional $1,100 and $2,000 per month by either having roommates (when I was single) or renting out a basement apartment (after I got married).  

By removing the mortgage or rent expense from my life, my wife and I have been able to live on no more than $2,000/month for years and have had a tremendous saving rate.  These savings have given us a huge head start in creating our investment portfolio.  

"Out of sight, out of mind."

Pay yourself first. Move the money to savings immediately so you don't accidentally spend it. Learn to live on what you make today, then any raises or bonuses can go directly to savings without impacting your quality of living.

Ever since I was a kid my dad always said no matter what you do when you make any money, always pay yourself first! Pay yourself at least 10% of whatever you make and you'll always have money in the bank. Ive followed that advice my entire life and it has worked out very nicely. I think the biggest key to saving for anyone is to make it automatic so you just set it and forget it. Whether it be in a 401k, 403b at your work or just a direct auto save from your checking to a savings once a week. Before you know it you'll have the recommended 6-12 month emergency fund in place in case of an emergency and then you can really build your wealth by saving more into your retirement accounts. The biggest take away from this is to make it automatic!! Most of us don't have the discipline or the time to be organized enough to remember to make that savings deposit every paycheck or every month. When you make it automatic you don't have to worry about doing it and your savings account will thank you!

Shawn White


Buy Toyotas. Bought a new Camry in 2011 for around $26,500 and with virtually no repairs sold it 10 years later for $13,500. Bought new knowing we could get in it and travel trouble free anywhere. Learned my lesson broke down on a California freeway with older Acura in our 60's. Just bought a 2017 Camry XLE V6 with 11,000 miles.

We eat at happy hour we know all the good spots especially for fish tacos. I buy coffee at McDonalds most days but buy high end as a treat couple times a week.

Don't budget but do track.

Will buy 1 way plane tickets cheap and wait for cheap return. Works when traveling alone.

One car is a Prius.

Go to beach in winter and desert in summer. Great rates.

Discount broker Charles Schwab, Fidelity and Vanguard.