Do you struggle to save money? At the end of each month, do you wonder where all your money went? Perhaps you spend beyond your means?
If so, then this guide is for you! Discover how saving money is as much a product of the mind as well as your financial habits. And speaking of habits, you’ll see how small positive changes, turned into habits, can automatically add up to big savings!
Consider these ideas:
1. Track your spending. Record every penny you spend for a month. Divide your spending reports into categories, such as restaurants, groceries, entertainment, clothing, house payment, utilities, and other categories. You might be surprised to learn where all your money went!
- At the end of a month, analyze your reports. Identify areas where you could cut down. Next month, cut down on those expenses and put the money you saved into your savings.
2. Clarify wants versus needs. There are certain things in life that you need to survive, such as food, water, clothing, and shelter. There are also the things that you want. Learn to differentiate between the two and you’ll automatically make some choices that will save you money.
3. Buy only what you can afford. You may think that you have to get every new gadget and gizmo available, but if you cannot afford it, the financial struggles they cause will outweigh the enjoyment that you receive from them.
- Consider using the cash envelope method of planning for your spending. Divide your expenses into categories and use a different envelope for each category. With each paycheck, divide out your money into the various envelopes.
- Spend only the money that you’ve planned for each category. Once the cash is gone, it’s gone until more money can be added to that envelope.
- You may want to save for a few weeks to get enough cash in your envelope for a desired purchase, at which time, you’ll know that you can afford it.
4. Do you need that expensive car? If you’re struggling each month to repay the high-interest loan that you had to take out to pay for your car, perhaps you’ll want to rethink whether you need such an expensive car.
- In some situations, you might need an expensive car. For example, if you’re a real estate agent and you take clients to look at high end houses for sale, an expensive, luxury car might help you make sales.
- On the other hand, in reflection, if you bought the car to impress the neighbors, you might feel that the additional expense and resulting financial struggles aren’t really worth it. If this is the case, a downgrade to an attractive, less expensive car may work better for you.
- Consider what a car is really for: to get you from one place to another, usually for short jaunts within your city. A less expensive car can get you there as well as a high-end car. Plus, you’ll have the extra money to do with as you please.
5. Consider downsizing. A smaller home can save tens of thousands of dollars on the purchase price and monthly payment, plus costs for maintenance and repairs are less. Even if you rent, a smaller place will likely cost less.
- Imagine the amount of money that you could save with a smaller house! All this money can then be used for other things that are important to you, like vacations or to add to your savings for retirement.
- Downsizing is an important decision that only you can make. Decide what’s more important to you – the larger house or the savings. For example, you might need extra room because you frequently have guests. An office space might be vital to the success of your business.
- Figure out if downsizing might work for you and, if so, go for it!
6. Figure out ways in which you can enjoy life while still saving money. Money does not dictate how much you enjoy life. Remember, it’s not the material things in your life that matter most, but rather your friends, family, and the cherished times you have with each other.
- Research shows that the experiences in our life bring greater happiness than material items.
- For example, instead of going out to dinner and a movie, invite your friends over for a potluck dinner and movie night at your house. You can still enjoy a rollicking good evening together while saving money. You might even enjoy it more than sitting in the restaurant and theater!
- There are many other ways to substitute something less expensive and still have fun, like game night, sports (playing volleyball, basketball, baseball, football, soccer, bowling), card games, going camping or to the beach, and more.
- Create your own list of activities that are fun for you without costing a lot of money. Invite your friends to do the same and then choose those activities whenever you want to get together. You’ll all have fun and save money too!
7. Adopt some small, financially savvy habits, such as:
- Save first. Automatically have a small amount of each paycheck deposited into your savings. You won’t miss what you never see!
- Let your money work for you. Invest regularly so that money will grow by itself into more money! Over the years, this can add up to many thousands, or tens of thousands, more than what you put in.
- Cook at home most of the time. Saving money by cutting down on fast food and coffee runs will add up.
- Buy when things are on sale. Try to avoid ever having to pay full price.
- Use free or streaming services for watching television. You can likely get the entertainment you want for a much smaller price and pocket some substantial savings.
Saving money doesn’t have to be a burden. Try these tips and you’ll find that you’ll actually have more money for the things you really want in life!