Last Updated on April 13, 2021 by Serish | I Hated My Boss
Let’s cut to the chase: you’re here because you want to learn 12 stupid easy Dave Ramsey money-saving tips. Good news is, you’re at the right place.
If you suck at saving money, you’re not alone. Did you know nearly 70% of Americans have less than $1,000 in a savings account?
So why is it that a majority of Americans live beyond their means and struggle to save money?
Truth is, it’s not about simple math, but rather our mindset. And that requires discipline and hard work.
Fortunately, socking away extra cash can become a lot to easier to accomplish when you have the right mindset.
Read on to learn how you, too, can save money quickly and reach financial independence with Dave Ramsey’s money-saving tips below.
(This post containts affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. Thanks for your support!)
So, who is this Dave Ramsey guy?
Dave Ramsey is a money management expert and host of The Dave Ramsey Show– a radio program and podcast, as well as the author of his all-time bestselling book The Total Money Makeover.
In the 1980’s, he amassed millions from his real estate business at a young age– only to lose it all a few years later and declare bankruptcy.
This was the turning point for Dave; he was determined to making his way back to financial stability and committed himself to living a debt-free life.
What truly sets him apart from other financial experts is that he focuses on changing one’s mindset and attitude about money, as well as encouraging others to give generously to those in need.
To date, Dave Ramsey has helped millions of people not only get out of debt, but stay out of debt by cultivating change in their mentality with his tips on saving money.
In fact, Dave Ramsey’s simple, yet effective money-saving tips have helped me pay off $15,000 in credit card debt within 7 months!
12 Stupid Easy Dave Ramsey Tips When You Suck at Saving Money
Whether you’re living paycheck to paycheck, or looking for faster ways to pay off your debt, these Dave Ramsey tips on saving money will help you get out of debt fast and put your financial goals into action today.
Here are 12 of the best Dave Ramsey lessons that’ll help you spend less and save more!
1. Establish a budget
I know the word ‘budget’ sounds intimidating. But you don’t need to be a math wiz or an accountant to create one.
Dave Ramsey recommends zero-based budgeting. Basically, you account for every single dollar and justify all expenses. This is your monthly income minus any expenses, debt and savings.
This is also the same budgeting method I used to pay off my $15,000 credit card balance.
After reviewing my card transactions- it was appalling to say the least, but I was ready to kick my finances into high gear and work my way towards financial awesomeness.
And I haven’t touched a credit card since!
So, how exactly is the zero-based budget an effective method?
By accounting for every single dollar you spend, you know exactly where your money is going; rather than wondering where it went.
It’s like assigning a mission to your money and telling it where to go so you don’t spend more than what you have.
To write a zero-based budget, all you need to do is write down your take-home monthly pay (after taxes) at the top of the page. Then, list all of your monthly expenses in an itemized format.
If you have any funds left over, assign it to a specific category.
At the end, your total should equal to zero.
Here’s an example of what a zero-based budget looks like:
Now, this doesn’t mean you don’t have any money left, this just means you’ve allocated it towards a specific category.
For example, if you have $200 remaining at the end of the month, allocate those funds towards another category, such as an emergency fund or travel fund.
However, if you’re in the negative- let’s say $25 short at the end of the month, this means you’ll need to pull from another category to ensure your total equals zero (i.e. pull from your travel fund).
New to budgeting? Then you’ll want to first start itemizing all of your expenses on paper. I’ve made it easy for you with the free Monthly Spending Tracker printable.
You can download it here:
2. Cash envelope system
The cash envelope system, or envelope budgeting method, is nothing new. Dave is a huge advocate of this practice because it’s highly effective.
It’s an old-fashioned and easy approach to track how much money you spend in each budget category.
Basically, you’re splitting your expenses into categories and labeling each envelope (i.e. Rent, Food, Gas). Then, stuff each envelope with the assigned cash amount.
When it’s time to pay a bill, use the cash from the envelope for that specific category.
In a nutshell, the cash envelope system allows you to gain control of your finances and track your spending more efficiently. This way, you can see exactly how much you’re spending.
To get started, follow these 5 simple steps:
- Start with reviewing your budget
- Divide your expenses into categories
- Example: Rent, Food, Utilities, Clothing, Medical, Savings
- Write the name of the category on each envelope
- Fill each envelope with the amount you’ve assigned each category
- Example: If you have budgeted $300 for food, put $300 in your “Food” envelope
- Pay each bill using the cash from the designated envelope
- Repeat steps 1-5 every month
Tip: If you have money left over, pay down a debt or add it to your savings account.
3. Earn cash back on your purchases
If you’re not already using Ebates (now called Rakuten), you’re missing out on free money.
No, it’s not a scam.
And Dave is huge fan of taking advantage of such free programs since you have nothing to lose.
When you make online purchases through Rakuten’s website for things you’d normally buy anyway, you can earn up to 40% cash back.
The best part? It’s completely free, no fees and no points.
But you’re probably wondering: How does Rakuten make money?
In a nutshell, stores will pay Rakuten a commission for referring you to them. In return, Rakuten will share that commission with you in the form of cash back.
This is basically affiliate marketing, and Rakuten is sharing a piece of the pie with you.
It’s literally free money, yo!
Here’s a screenshot of my cash back from just the other day:
I earned $23 from making only 2 purchases (two of my favorite stores were giving 10% cash back).
They’re so confident you’ll love the program, they’ll even give you a $30 bonus for trying them out. On top of that, you can earn an additional $30 for every person you refer to Rakuten.
You better believe I sent it to all my fam and friends, and have made hundreds of dollars from referrals alone!
So, how do you get started?
Once you sign up (super quick), simply click the link for the store you want to visit through Rakuten’s website and make your purchase.
After your purchase is confirmed, your cash back will appear in your Rakuten account.
You can choose to receive your accumulated cash back via PayPal or a check.
It’s. that. simple.
4. Stop going out to eat
Did you know the average American dines out 5.9 times per week?
This hits close to home for me.
Remember that $15k I racked up in credit card debt? A whopping 53% of that went towards dining and entertainment (excuses aside- I was single at the time).
When it comes to dining out expidenture, Dave suggests limiting your restaurant eating habit to no more than once a week. But if that is a splurge for you, then limit eating out further (more power to you!).
However, if you’re broke or in debt, Dave is completely against eating out at restaurants.
He says that roughly 85% of what your meal costs at a restaurant, has nothing to do with the food cost, but more so the experience and the labor that goes into preparing your food.
I completely agree, for obvious reasons lol.
After learning the hard way, I can proudly say that I now dine out twice a month, which has allowed me to not only save money, but also live a healthier lifestyle.
5. Cancel gym memberships
I’ve been guilty of so many Dave Ramsey tips; including this one.
Every year after the clock strikes midnight on New Year’s day, millions of ambitious Americans sign up for a gym membership. A few weeks later, however, motivation wanes but gym fees continue to be debited on autopay.
According to a market analysis conducted by Static Brain, a whopping 63% of gym memberships go unused. On average, Americans dish out $58/month for something they don’t even use. That’s nearly $700 annually!
That said, Dave suggests the following seven alternatives to gym memberships that’ll help you reach your fitness goals, which cost little to nothing.
- Stream workouts at home
- Invest in used equipment
- Go for a run at your local park
- Move around at work
- Do yard work
- Rent workout DVDs from the library
- Search for discounts on Groupon
However, if you want to help keep yourself accountable, the Aaptiv fitness app is a great alternative to a gym membership and a lot cheaper at just $0.27/day.
Plus you’ll have unlimited access to thousands of workouts and expert trainers will work with you. Try it out free for 7 days to see how you like it.
6. Brew coffee at home
So, how many of you grab a cup of joe from your favorite coffee shop on the daily?
Even before I was introduced to Dave Ramsey and his money saving tips, I researched how much an average person spends on coffee per year and compared that figure to brewing at home.
The result? Eye-opening. I can see why Dave recommends brewing your own coffee at home and grabbing a travel mug.
And you don’t need to break the bank to get your daily coffee fix. You can literally buy cheap coffee makers for as little as $25.
Fancy a higher end coffee machine? Loop back to the zero-based budgeting method and create a category for your cup of joe maker.
If a gal like me– who made twice daily coffee runs for a coconut caramel iced latte, can transition into brewing at home, I have no doubt in my mind that you can too!
Check out these affordable options to help you become your own barista:
- Black & Decker Coffee Maker with Filter
- Mr. Coffee 12-cup Coffee Maker
- Espresso & Cappuccino Machine
- Contigo Leak Proof Steel Travel Mug
- Lavazza Whole Bean Coffee Blend
7. Use cash only. Stop swiping that plastic
If there’s one thing Dave preaches often, it’s this: cut up your credit cards and use cash only!
Using a credit card will only put you further into debt as it typically comes with a high ass interest rate.
I stopped using credit cards all together about 6 or some years ago. Best decision ever!
Conversely, though debit cards are interest-free, they too offer a major disadvantage– research shows you tend to spend more than you want and have less discipline.
However, when using cash to pay for purchases, you’re literally watching your hard earned money go into the hands of someone else.
And that hurts different.
So start snipping away!
8. Avoid bank fees
Dave doesn’t necessarily hate banks, he just thinks they’re greedy and unfair when it comes to charging customers dumb fees.
And I couldn’t agree more.
As some of you know, I used to manage at a reputable bank for several years, and I can tell you this: a major portion of a bank’s profit comes from fees (i.e. overdrafts, monthly service fees, ATM fees).
Just last year, banks made over $11 billion dollars from overdraft fees alone!
Furthermore, banks typically require you to maintain a mininum balance, or make an X amount of debit card purchases per month, in order to avoid a monthly service fee.
However, if you fail to meet these ridiculous requirements, you’ll be charged a fee- which on average is between $15-$25 per month.
Now, for some of us this requirement is doable. But for a lot of Americans who are living paycheck to paycheck, this would really hurt their monthly budget.
But did you know- banks make money from lending your money to others at a much higher interest rate (i.e. home loans, student loans, auto loans)?
And when you’re charged said fees, they get a double payday!
Here’s what Dave recommends:
- Call your bank to review your fees
- Ask if they have other options or a free account
- Call other banks and compare accounts/fees
- Use cash to avoid overdraft and non-sufficient funds fees
- Consider credit unions
9. The 24-hour rule
Dave Ramsey is also an advocate of delayed gratification and advises on embracing the 24-hour rule when it comes to impulse buying.
In other words, when you’re tempted to buy that new smartphone that just launched, take a step back and give yourself 24 hours. This will allow you to think clearly and put off the “gotta have it now” feeling.
As a matter of fact, a very popular study published in 1972- The Marshmallow Experiment, which spanned over 40 years, revealed that those who put off an initial early reward for a greater reward later, are more likely to succeed in other areas of life (such as discipline, health, and stress management).
Likewise, if you exercise the 24-hour rule, you’ll be able to manage your money wisely and pay off your debt much faster.
If you can spare about 10 minutes, I highly recommend reading this interesting study.
10. Stop buying bottled water
I’m sure you recall from recent COVID-19 events when panicked shoppers flocked to grocery stores to stock up on water bottles, leaving the shelves empty.
To not only better prepare you for such events reoccuring in the future, but also to save you hundreds of dollars, Dave says to ban bottled water. Plus, you’ll be doing the environment a favor.
Dave has lived through similar “hysteria” moments (Y2K for example) and advises against buying bottled water because water is, well…basically free.
Here are some sustainable, money-saving alternatives to bottled water:
- Brita Tap Water Filter
- Brita Filtering Travel Water Bottle
- Filtered Water Pitcher
- High Capacity Walter Filtration System
11. Mindset matters
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “mind over money,” right?
As mentioned earlier, Dave Ramsey is well-known for not only his financial management tips, but his teachings on money mindset.
You can read all the Dave Ramsey tips here and learn the steps I took to pay off $15k in debt, but change won’t happen until you start thinking positively and start believing in yourself.
So many people delay on their financial matters because the end goal seems so far out of reach.
Truth is, by taking baby steps and chipping away debt here and there, the cumulative effect can equate to enormous savings.
In fact, as silly as it may sound, write down your financial goals and read it every morning to remind you why you started and what your end goal is.
When you write down your goals, you manifest your plan into action. So commit yourself to being debt free and staying debt free.
Remember– you can and you will achieve financial awesomeness!
12. Side hustles
If you’re strapped for cash, struggling to save for retirement, or your expenses are more than your monthly income, side hustles are an excellent way to earn extra money to reach your financial goals faster.
Dave highly advises on taking up a side job to increase your income flow in order to pay off your debt quicker.
When I quit my job as a bank manager, I moved back home with my mom (no shame in my game) and became an independent contractor notarizing loan docs.
Additionally, I explored several different side gigs. Some of these included participating in paid research studies, which earned me hundreds of dollars every month, sold products on eBay, and later launched an eCommerce business (and THIS very blog!).
Thanks to these side hustles, I was able to earn extra cash and pay off my credit card debt.
I’ve put together this list of lucrative online side hustles to help you start making money; some you can even start today!
- Start a Money-Making Blog – I started this blog to simply share business tips/strategies and help new entrepreneurs lauch their very first online biz. Little did I know- it would go on to become my career! You too can turn your passion into a career by blogging about it. What’s more, you don’t even need to be a professional writer to get started, and the earning potential is limitless. Many bloggers are earning six figures to even millions!
- Teach English Online – Are you a native English speaker and have good internet connection? You can earn up to $30/hour teaching English online.
- Become a Proofreader – Correct typos, grammar, and spelling errors while working from home. The average proofreaders makes $15/hour.
- Participate in Paid Studies – Focus groups are a legit way to earn extra money for simply giving your opinion on a specific topic or a new product/service. Better yet, many companies are now conducting these studies online or over the phone.
- Take Online Surveys – Get paid to take online surveys and earn extra cash in your spare time while watching TV or taking a bathroom break (oh come on, we’re all guilty of this at some point!).
- 33 Creative Side Hustles to Make Money Online
- The Ultimate Free Guide to Starting a Profitable Blog
- How to Make Money with Affiliate Marketing for Beginners
Looking for more money-saving hacks? Pin this infographic (or bookmark this page) and refer back to it from time to time!
Takeaways: 12 Stupid Easy Dave Ramsey Tips on Saving Money
There we have it, 12 easy Dave Ramsey tips when you suck at saving money.
The overall idea here may seem quite obvious: save money and spend wisely on things you need, not want.
Although some of these tips are common knowledge, it is really up to you to implement them. As Dave says, 20% is financial knowledge and 80% is behavior.
Change begins when you cultivate a positive mindset.
Have you used any of these Dave Ramsey’s tips on saving money? What’s worked for you? Let me know in the comments below!
If you found this article helpful, it would mean the world to me if you could share it.
You May Also Like:
- How To Save $1000 and Budget Your Money When Broke
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