(TNS)—There are thousands of ways to save money and make more of it, but chasing after every single tip will likely just make you overwhelmed rather than rich. That’s why it’s helpful to find out what the experts say are the best ways to save and earn more. GOBankingRates put the following question to a group of experts: “In your opinion, what’s the easiest way to save money or to make money?”
Here’s what the experts had to say.
Trick Yourself into Saving
Stephen Dubner, who co-authored the New York Times best-selling book “Freakonomics” with economist Steven Levitt and is a co-host of the “Freakonomics Radio” podcast, says a lot of saving money comes down to how you mentally frame money management.
“I am a firm believer in tricking yourself into saving if need be, and taking advantage of what behavioral economists call mental accounting— .e., treating different piles of money with different intentions (as much as a classical economist might scoff at that),” Dubner says. “Also, discipline really helps. Since I’m self-employed, the first thing I do when receiving any paycheck is divert the appropriate percentage into a set-aside savings account for paying taxes.”
Dubner also advises skipping a commonly used bank product: “I’ve never owned a credit card—only a charge card. Too easy to spend money you don’t have, or don’t really need to spend.”
Follow Your Passion
“Tapping into your passion is the best way to make money,” says Emma Johnson, who is a journalist, business owner, and founder of the popular blog WealthySingleMommy.com, as well as her podcast, “Like a Mother with Emma Johnson.”
Johnson says passion and the drive that comes with it are what will separate you from the competition in your field. “The market is crowded with a lot of people doing similar things,” Johnson says. “Your spark, the thing you love to do most—that is the thing you can bring to the world that no one else can. Devise a business around that, and it’s solid gold.”
Start Saving Young and Saving Small
Clark Howard, consumer expert and host of “The Clark Howard Show,” had advice especially for young people for whom the challenges of money management are still new: “Start off living on half of your paycheck.”
Howard points out that avoiding lifestyle inflation and continuing to live frugally beyond college can be relatively easy, but yield significant savings. “If you’ve been used to being a student living on almost nothing, half of a paycheck from your first post-school job seems like a lot of money,” Howard says. “That other half saved will be a lot of money.” Those who are beyond that stage of life can still work toward building a savings habit by starting small, Howard says:
“If you are past that time in your life, start by saving a penny of each dollar that you make and step it up another penny every 6 months. In five years you will be saving 10 cents of every dollar you make, and in ten you will be saving 20 cents of every dollar you make.”
Automate Your Savings
Farnoosh Torabi, best-selling author, personal finance expert and host of the podcast “So Money with Farnoosh Torabi,” has a simple approach to saving: “Set it and forget it.”
Torabi points out that saving with automatic transfers takes willpower and effort out of the equation. “Commit to a monthly percentage of your take-home pay that will be automatically transferred into its own account,” Torabi says. “I recommend at least 10 percent. Do this before any other financial step. Set the transfer amount, a consistent transfer date and boom—done. In a year, you’ll be shocked how much you managed to save—and with little effort!”
Find a Need and Meet It
According to Pat Flynn, online businessman and host of “The Smart Passive Income Podcast,” your income comes down to how well you can provide solutions when they’re needed.
“The easiest way to make money is to provide value to others in need,” Flynn says. “Earnings are a byproduct of how well you serve your audience. That’s just really what it comes down to.” Flynn points to freelancing and entrepreneurship as good opportunities to do this.
“Freelancing, for example, is using your skills as a service to help others who need that kind of work done, and it can be a win-win situation for everyone involved,” he says. “Building a brand or a company that creates solutions, both digital and physical, can be a fantastic way to create supplemental income and passive income as well.”
Maximize Your Market Reach
Robert Kiyosaki has built a following through his “Rich Dad” brand, which started with the best-selling book “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” and includes the “Rich Dad Radio Show.” Kiyosaki’s take on how to earn more money is to focus on a broader market or audience. “For me, I make more money when I focus on serving more people,” Kiyosaki says. “For example, I write a book—rather than hold small meetings or talk with small groups—to serve more people. If I write a good book and it serves a lot of people, I make more money.”
Save Your Change
Ric Edelman, chairman and CEO of Edelman Financial Services and host of “The Truth About Money with Ric Edelman,” offers a neat trick on how to find extra savings even on a tight budget:
“Never spend change; spend only paper currency on daily expenses like coffee and lunch. By using dollar bills—two dollars for an item costing $1.02, even though you have pennies in your pocket or purse—and collecting the coins, you’ll amass $30 to $40 every month, literally without even trying. This also means you need to stop using credit and debit cards so much.”