20 Simple Ways to Build Trading Capital Fast

It’s always nice to have some extra cash that you can put to work during market downturns. Saving money on a tight budget or when your income is low can be easier than you think.

  • Matt Hagemann
    Matt Hagemann
    Trend Following Instructor

What if I tell you that saving money on any budget can be done? It doesn’t matter in which stage of life you are in or how your current financial situation is like. It’s all about how little actions can contribute to huge savings! There are four areas in your life which you can work on.

  1. Mental tricks
  2. Eliminate money suckers
  3. Eat consciously
  4. Shop smartly

These are 20 actionable tips to start saving money now and to grow your wealth long term.

Use Mental Tricks

1. Set savings goals

It’s tough to work on something without a reason. That’s why we need to set a target. Think about a specific amount you want to work towards. If you are in debt, start with a goal to first get out of debt by reaching 0 net worth. For those who are not in debt but find it hard to save, start with a realistic savings amount achievable within a specific amount of time.

Let’s say you’ve committed to save $2,000 in one year. Break the amount down into smaller goals. Make it $500 per quarter. It’s not only highly motivating once you’ve achieved a small goal, but you will also stay committed to the main goal once your goals become measurable.

2. Save money automatically

Unexpected expenses and impulsive spending behavior is dangerous to our pockets. In most cases, savings are the remains after all expenses. The best way to save money is to pay yourself first. Determine how much money you can afford to stash away and move it to your savings as soon as your income reaches your bank account. The higher your savings rate the better, but stay realistic.

Make use of your bank’s functions to move money into your savings account automatically. That way, you won’t even realize that the money is being put aside and you will only spend what’s available.

3. Sum up small daily expenses

Small daily expenses go unnoticed because they are so small until you do the math for the whole year. Without realizing, your small habits lead you to big expenditures. That’s why it’s important to do a mental check before indulging in a cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop or buying that small chocolate bar after lunch.

Kevin O’Leary, an investor on Shark Tank, the famous business reality television series, made news when he refused to pay $2.50 for a cup of coffee daily because he thinks it’s a waste of money. While $2.50 may be just $2.50 on that day, the habit actually costs much more. It’s actually $2.50 multiplied by 20 (working days a month). That’s $600 a year.

Always think in months or years.

What about a harmless chocolate bar you regularly buy after lunch? It’s just $2 on that day, but that’s $40 a month or $480 a year.

4. Unsubscribe email newsletters

Companies (especially e-commerce brands) always ask you to subscribe to their email newsletters in exchange for a coupon code. It’s a trick to sell you something right now.

If you must make a purchase, subscribe to claim a coupon code and immediately unsubscribe from the newsletter.

Avoid getting lured into purchases of products that you don’t absolutely need. When you don’t see the bargains in the first place, it is impossible to get lured into buying when you know nothing about them.

Clean your inbox and make use of those unsubscribe links at the bottom of each email.

Eliminate Money-Suckers

5. Get out of bad debts

Bad debts are defined as debts that are not associated with any assets to generate income. These are, most of all, credit card debts for discretionary expenses or things that lose value.

Never take on debt to pay for a vacation or to buy new clothes. Debt comes with interest rates that you’re giving away to your bank and drags down your financial situation. High interest rates cut into your savings, so get rid of bad debts as soon as possible.

Pay off the smallest debts first and you’ll quickly notice improvements.

6. Quit the gym membership and work out online

Americans are spending $1.8 billion annually on unused gym membership. According to CNBC, the yearly membership cost amounts up to $800 per person. This money is flushed down the toilet after being rushed by the salesperson to register for a full year. Don’t make that mistake

You don’t need a space filled with other sweaty people to motivate you. Free apps like Nike Training, FitOn and Keep Yoga are great for home workouts. You can workout in the comfort of your home, at your own schedule. You can follow a program and track your progress within the app. That’s like having a personal trainer at home.

7. Cancel Netflix and other subscriptions

Netflix, Amazon Prime, YouTube Premium and other subscription services are engineered to make you addicted. The technology is made to study the content you have watched and to recommend similar movies or TV shows you would like. Netflix takes a step further in flipping thumbnails of the same show, designed to make you click. In fact, Netflix’s CEO called out on their competition — your sleeping hours.

All these subscription services want a slice of your time. That’s time you lose for more productive things. Break the chain by unsubscribing from all of these services. It’s totally fine to not watch the latest season of ‘You’ or ‘Stranger Things’ and not be able to gossip with colleagues and friends. Will you even remember the episodes 5 years from now? Stop the fear of missing out (FOMO).

8. Lower your cell phone bill

Just like subscription services, apps on your phone are also designed to be addictive. Take a look around in public to notice how everyone is constantly hooked to their phone. But here’s the real question, do we really need to check our phones the whole time, consuming more bandwidth than required? Is 10 GB data really needed?

Reduce the bandwidth of your mobile contract. In fact, mobile providers actually offer discounts when it is about time to renew your contract. Use this opportunity to reduce the bandwidth and negotiate a much cheaper monthly rate.

Meanwhile, stop binge-watching YouTube videos while commuting and read a book instead. Schedule a time to reply on WhatsApp instead of draining your battery for hours, sucking your bandwidth and your mental capacity.

9. Reduce energy costs

Consuming energy can be done without the need to constantly remind yourself to use less. If you haven’t changed your light bulbs to those energy saving types, quickly do so. The light bulbs don’t only consume 25-80% less energy, they also last 3-25 times longer.

When it comes to water consumption, attach an aerator to every faucet. Aerators help to reduce water consumption by having a layer of sieve to introduce air between the tiny water streams. You could be saving at least $110 a year with these water aerators. A highly rated aerator costs no more than $6.

10. Go on a “staycation”

Need a break? You don’t need to break the bank. Vacations can be made within your own country or even city. The idea may seem absurd to some but there is even a term for it: staycation. Staycations can be fun as you explore your city from a tourist’s perspective.

Many hotels offer a cheap rate for locals. Check your local tourism center or city’s website for more information. If you just need a quick change of environment, choose a hotel with a pool and spa day access.

Eat Consciously

11. Cut down on groceries

Supermarkets have perfected the art of upselling. Did you realize that you always exit the supermarket with double the groceries that you originally intended to get? The arrangement of products are placed strategically for more sales. Some supermarkets are using background music to create a comfortable environment for shoppers to attract more sales.

Always prepare a shopping list and remember that you only need what you need. Opt for quality groceries, quality produce for quality nutrition. This has long-term health benefits. You’ve also got to be more strict with what you put into your basket. Understand that most new products are designed and packaged to sell. If you take a look at the ingredients, they are all very similar. Buy wisely.

12. Eat home-cooked food

Cooking at home sounds daunting for many, especially when ordering food or take-aways make it so easy without cooking. After a long day at work, you’d rather sink into the sofa and not lift a finger. Cooking can be made easy if you plan and buy in advance.

For easy meals, stick to one pot meals, simple stir-fry recipes or stews which can be prepared in bulk and then frozen. They are all great for a weeknight dinner.

13. Pack lunch from home

We all know that eating at home can help you to save a lot. You get to save even more if you pack lunch to work. If you do this for only once a week, you could already save about $10 a week or $520 a year. Just think about the amount saved if you were to do this twice a week.

Bringing food from home can be done with ease. Start with cooking more for dinner and pack a portion for lunch the next day. Simple recipes which can be whipped up in 10 minutes such as wraps, salads or sandwiches are great to start with. If you don’t have a microwave at work to reheat food, invest in an electric lunch box and you’ll be able to reheat your lunch at your cubicle or any power socket. That way, home-cooked meals will always taste fresh.

14. Brew your own coffee and tea

A cup of caffeine pick-me-up is something many of us depend on to get through the morning. Instead of grabbing them from cafés, why not start the morning with a cup of home-brewed tea or coffee. If you remember point 3, small sums do add up.

The average Starbucks coffee or tea costs about $2.75 (or $660 a year). On the other hand, a pack of coffee beans (20 oz.) which costs $11.45 can make at least 60 cups of coffee. That’s $0.19 per cup (or $45.60 a year). You’ll be saving about $614.40 by the end of the year if you were to tweak your daily ritual.

Shop Smartly

15. Don’t get lured into sales

We often get attracted into a shop with psychological tricks. Whether it be time pressure, buy one get one free (BOGOF), or comparative pricing to show how you’ll save 30% of the full price, they are all intended to get you into their store to make you spend.

However, a 20% discount is still an 80% expense that you would not incur if you had not been attracted by an offer in the first place. This is something you need to know and remember before stepping into the store.

16. Borrow or rent, instead of buy

There are times when we buy items we only use once. Because we either need it only once or or bought impulsively. It could be a drilling machine you needed when moving or a camera when you invested in a new hobby.

Why not borrow that gadget from a friend if you’re going to only use it once? Companies like Home Depot actually offer tools rental services. There are other rental companies providing all sorts of tools and gadgets for your next project without the need to buy them.

17. Ask about discounts (pay cash)

While it may be common to negotiate at a street market, requesting a discount for something you already plan on buying is more common than you think especially when it comes to furniture or electronics. That ergonomic chair or the perfect wardrobe. No harm trying your luck to ask for a discount. Sleep over it if no discount is offered.

While Ikea may not offer this, salespeople at local furniture stores do have a margin to negotiate with the customer. And if you find a similar product cheaper online, the salesperson will usually match the price to make a sale.

18. Make use of return policies

It’s always best to buy things you will really love. But sometimes you may change your mind after a purchase. When that happens, don’t keep purchases that you don’t absolutely love. Merchants generally have a return policy and you shouldn’t feel guilty making use of it. Approximately 10% of items are returned and that’s just the nature of doing business.

Return items immediately if they don’t convince you as that’s the only window of opportunity where you can get 100% of your money back without any questions asked.

19. Use public libraries

Don’t bother hunting on Amazon for books. Public libraries are equipped with a lot of books, even contemporary books. Most public libraries have also gone digital.

Using the OverDrive app, you will be able to borrow ebooks or audiobooks for free or a minimum yearly fee between $20 to $50. That’s a great saving if you’re an avid reader.

20. Declutter your home

In most cases, we usually own more than we need. It may not be easy to get rid of things in your home as you attach sentimental value to them. However, a messy home often clutters one’s mind. The tidiness of your home is a reflection of your inner self.

To keep your home tidy and organized, start by getting rid of stuff that only takes up space and clutters your home. If you haven’t used something in the past 6 months, you most likely do not need it.

Marie Kondo asks you, “Does it spark joy?”. If an item doesn’t bring joy, then it’s time to either give it away or sell it off in exchange for cash.

Conclusion

While saving money has a lot to do with elimination, it also has a lot to do with shifting priorities. The shift should be towards a quality way of life, better nutrition, stronger awareness of mental tricks, more control over your time by radically eliminating crap from your life.

I hope these 20 tips helped you to get on the right path and to start your journey towards a richer life.

Last updated April 15th 2020

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