Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

Everywhere you go online there seems to be advice about how to save money and manage a budget. Often, these tips are only useful if you already have some money stored away in savings or if you have a well-paying job. It’s just as important, if not more so that people struggling with a low income, debt, or any other factors affecting their ability to save money are able to make changes to their lives and finally see their bank accounts grow. It isn’t always about becoming rich overnight or adding to a pile of already successful investments; saving money makes life less stressful overall since it gives you the freedom to relax and enjoy yourself without worrying about emptying your pockets. If there truly was an effective get rich quick scheme, then the world would be a very different place. However, there are a few under-appreciated methods of saving money and feeding your bank account. Here are some of the most helpful and unconventional ways you can start saving money now.

Shop Strategically

Sometimes self-control can be all that stands between you and your goals. You know what you want, how to get it, but just can’t seem to put the cogs in motion. If you learn to treat saving money like a project rather than a far-fetched wish, you’ll soon start to notice patterns in your behavior that are unhelpful to the cause. When grocery shopping it is convenient to pull up as close to the store as possible, grab a large cart and visit every aisle to make sure you gather everything you might need for the week. While this is the most common way to bring in your food supply, it is also the best at wasting money. Supermarkets are designed cleverly and in such a way that the customer is guided along a strategic path that encourages them to buy as much as possible, bringing the store a higher profit. Shelves at eye level are filled with so-called bargains and deals that stand out from what could be many better-valued items. Become aware of these tricks and avoid falling for them. Park far away from the store as this will dissuade you from picking up as much as you can carry. It has the side benefit of getting you a little bit fitter every time you visit the store. Once inside, choose to carry a basket or only take a small shopping cart as this will stop you from feeling the need to fill it to the brim with unnecessary items. Instead of hurrying and only choosing what the store tells you is the best deal, take your time and look carefully at prices per weight. You’d be surprised how many special offers aren’t so special compared to overlooked alternatives.

Borrow Wisely

When people find themselves in financial trouble, their priorities change. Instead of living life they become panicked and make rash decisions to keep themselves temporarily afloat. It can be hard to stay rational when your family is relying on you to provide for them, and you are unsure how much you can afford. Think carefully before taking a loan and make sure you are borrowing from a trustworthy source. It is best to search carefully before deciding where to go for help as sometimes the most immediate options can cause trouble later on. Avoid rushing into making a decision and read more if you’re looking for ideas about where to borrow from.

Think in Chunks

It’s easier to save money if you rethink how you approach spending. Justifying expenditure is easy to do when you ignore the impact it will have the next day which makes it more difficult to save in the long run. Paying by card makes it easier to forget how much you spend, so try to use cash machines to withdraw physical money. It might sound simple, but you will be subconsciously more aware of how much you have given yourself to spend. Think of your available funds as a total and every time you spend paying attention to what percentage of your total will be gone. Knowing that a particular item of clothing or other unnecessary object is going to cost you ten percent of your monthly income might be what you need to help prevent overspending.

Online Shopping

With digital technology allowing businesses to be operated in-store and online, shopping has become a whole lot easier. There are upsides and downsides to this when it comes to saving money, so be wary. It is easier for an untrustworthy company to run online than it is in person since there is so little customer interaction. There are plenty of companies that advertise low-quality goods and charge exorbitant prices for them. Just as it is easier to part with money when you can’t see it on a credit card, when shopping online you can easily fill up your virtual shopping cart without noticing how much you’ve spent. If you pay attention, however, shopping online can also save you money. The cost of traveling to stores is nonexistent, you are not subject to the ambient subliminal messages of a store, and you can apply many types of discount codes and coupons without having them to hand. Delivery charges are usually added, but if you factor in how much you’ll save from not wasting money on public transport or gas, then it’s a great step towards saving.

Resist Sale Temptation

It’s difficult to tell between a real sale and a clever scam to encourage more shopping. Sometimes you’ll find a hidden gem in an unexpected place while other times you’ll end up spending far more than you intended to. It’s a well-known trick that stores mislabel items to make them appear as if they have been reduced when in fact they are still the original price. Avoid falling for this by asking yourself whether or not you would want to buy the product at its full price. Take your time to decide whether or not you truly want something before exchanging your money for it.

Have Patience

As mentioned above, a great way of saving money is by taking a pause before parting with your hard-earned cash. Sales and other store events are designed to make the customer feel as if there is a time pressure involved and that if you don’t buy soon, you’ll miss out. Occasionally this is true, but it’s good to be cautious and judge each scenario on a case by case basis. Sometimes you’ll find that after a week your desire for the product has faded and you’ll be relieved that you didn’t spend money on it. Other times you’ll wait a few days and decide that you want it more than ever, in which case you’ll be able to purchase it happy in the knowledge that you had the self-restraint to think it through and make a considered choice. By limiting yourself to only buying after careful decision-making, you’ll be able to save a lot of money that would otherwise have been wasted.

Review Your Belongings

If you find it too time-consuming to wait before each purchase, another good trick is to think about whether or not you are replacing something you currently own by buying something new. If so, try to remember when you first bought the original item and how it made you feel to own it. If you can learn to appreciate your own belongings anew, then it might stop you from spending money on something very similar. Every now and then it is good to take a look at what you own and what you no longer want. If these items are still in good condition, you could make a bit of money off them by selling them at yard sales or online.

Don’t Gamble

Gambling is a tricky subject for many people. It can easily become a terrible vice that destroys families and lives. Miracle stories would have you believe that one big windfall could change your life for the better, but in the meantime, you’ll be throwing money away at something that is, ultimately, unlikely to happen. Much like drug addiction and alcoholism, gambling is a terrible waste of money and rarely ever offers anything positive. Instead of paying a couple of dollars on that lottery ticket every week, save it and watch how your luck seems to improve.

Learn a Skill

There are so many people and businesses out there ready and waiting to provide others with a service they can’t supply for themselves. Chefs, plumbers, and builders are excellent at solving problems or offering products that deserve the money paid for them. However, just because these services are readily available does not mean you are expected to use them constantly. Instead of spending money several times a week on dining out, learn to cook different meals and treat yourself at home. Look up some basic do-it-yourself advice and improve your home without paying someone to do it for you. Not only will you become a more independent and capable person, but you’ll also be saving yourself plenty of money.