What motivates you to save? Is it the peace of mind of having an emergency fund? Maybe that dream getaway you’ve been fantasizing about? Or are you motivated by the thought of purchasing a home?
Whatever drives you to put money away or at least think about it, saving can still be a struggle. Instead of imagining a gigantic hurdle one must leap over, look at increasing savings as tiny leaps one can take to achieve smaller, more attainable goals.
Use encouragement gained from reaching those reasonable goals as a catalyst to keep pushing forward and stashing away cash. Before you know it, you’ll have thousands put aside for whatever your heart desires.
Here are some minor but effective lifestyle changes and tips that will help you quickly reach your money milestones on a regular basis.
1. Create A Budget
Your turning over a new leaf and are looking to create better money saving habits. In order to avoid mindless spending, it is essential to know where your money is going. Evaluate all of your bills along with your regular expenses such as food, gas etc. and break it down using a spreadsheet. Get a good grasp on your spending habits and the necessities vs. amenities. Maybe you’ll discover you’re spending a ton on food, consider eating out less and doing some more cooking of your own. Keep your budget updated and be sure to set monthly saving goals.
2. Negotiate Your Bills
So this tip can be tricky. Take a look at your monthly bills. Where do you have some wiggle room when it comes to negotiating? Some items are written in stone but others such as cable, phone service, and banks interest rates can often be improved upon. Make a few phone calls to see what your options are. Often times, companies will work with their customers in order to retain their business. It doesn’t hurt to ask! In terms of cable, you could even take this a step further and cut the cord. If your up for it, opt for a television streaming service and pay substantially less each month.
3. 24 Hour Rule
Ok, so this the exact opposite of ‘Impulse Buying’. If you are browsing through a store or shopping online and find an item you are dying to have – wait 24 hours before purchasing it. It can be difficult to resist great deals, especially when there’s a limited time frame. This rule will help you avoid making a purchase you’ll regret. Take a day to think about it and see if you still have an urge to buy the item you thought you simply could not live without. Maybe you’ll forget about it! A pause really allows you to consider your decision. You can even take this rule a step further. Once you purchase the item, leave the tags on and keep the receipt. If you don’t use the item within a week, consider returning it.
4. Nickname Savings Accounts
It doesn’t get much easier than this one. Using specific nicknames for different savings accounts can help you visualize what you are working towards. That way, each time you log into your bank account it will be right there staring you in the face. . . “European Vacation”, “First Home”, “New Car” whatever you choose. Labeling accounts with tangible items will help keep you inspired and make it easier for you to stash away your hard earned money.
With an entire world at our fingertips, it’s no longer always necessary to look to the professionals for help. Tutorials and DIY guides are prevalent and making use of them will do more than just fatten your wallet. Learn something new, take up a new hobby, expand your mind. Often times you can find experts jumping at the chance to show you how to take care of a problem step by step. From makeup tutorials to changing your oil, there are endless resources to take advantage of and save $$$!
6. Get Up Earlier
Convenience is costly, that’s a fact. Waking up last minute can cost you all sorts of unnecessary cash. You may be forced to grab coffee at the store or buy your lunch and send your kids to school with lunch money. Waking up earlier can save you lots! You’ll have time to make your own meals as well as get a jog or workout in – helping you save on a pricey gym membership. If possible, try biking or walking to work and save on gas! With time to plan your day, you can avoid last-minute purchases that add up and drain your funds.
7. Set Challenges
Every now and then it’s not a crime to treat yourself. Besides, seeing the rewards of your discipline can help motivate you to continue. If there is something that you just have to have, challenge yourself when saving up for the item. Try saving twice as much as it costs before making the purchase. Or try to fill up a large container with spare change prior to splurging on the item you’ve been eyeing. Strive for those ‘Zero Spend Days’ where you never have to whip out your wallet. Your hard work and discipline will pay off!
8. Make A List
I think we’re all guilty of wandering the aisles of a store and convincing ourselves we need certain unnecessary things to clutter our lives. Trying to justify the purchase of junk is a common phenomenon. When you arrive at the store prepared with a list, it is easier to avoid this struggle. Plus, you save time when you know what you need. When it comes to groceries, try to meal plan to avoid waste of food and money!
9. Stay Informed
Do your research! These days there are no excuses for not looking at product/service reviews from a variety of sources before making a decision. If you’re thinking about it, chances are someone else already has and it is documented on the internet. Research and knowledge come in especially handy when contemplating a big purchase such as a car or home. Do as much research as you can independently, so you know what to expect. Don’t be taken advantage of. Put the power in your hands by staying informed.