Everyone knows the recipe for financial success: Save more, spend less. So why aren’t we doing it?
The topic of saving money makes you feel a little guilty, doesn’t it? You have good intentions when it comes to saving money, but something always comes up. The car needs new tires, the teenager needs braces, the house needs a new roof – and just like that, saving money takes a back seat to life stuff. So you put it off.
If you want to be financially successful in life you have to master the art of saving money. Well, by saving we don’t mean holding on to every dollar you have. Let’s just call it the art of spending nothing more than you actually need.
20 SIMPLE TIPS TO SAVE MONEY
Making simple changes to your spending can be an easy way to help you start saving. Learn how to save money on everyday expenses like groceries, transportation and entertainment.
Use these money-saving tips to generate ideas about the best ways to save money in your day-to-day life.
1. Get rid of your debt
If you’re trying to save money through budgeting but still carrying a large debt burden, start with the debt. Not convinced? Add up how much you spend servicing your debt each month, and you’ll quickly see.
Monthly debt payments are the biggest money suck when it comes to saving. Debt robs you of your income!
Once you’re free from paying interest on your debt, that money can easily be put into savings. A personal line of credit is just one option for consolidating debt so you can better pay it off.
2. Set savings goals
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for – perhaps you’re getting married, planning a vacation or saving for retirement. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
Set a small, achievable short-term goal for something fun and big enough that you aren’t likely to have the cash on hand to pay for it, such as a new smartphone or holiday gifts. Reaching smaller goals – and enjoying the fun reward you’ve saved for – can give you a psychological boost that makes the payoff of saving more immediate and reinforces the habit.
3. Use the 24-Hour Rule
Avoid purchasing expensive or unnecessary items on impulse with a self-imposed 24-hour rule. For any non-essential item, wait 24 hours before purchasing. It’s perfect for online shopping where your items can simply be added to your cart to purchase later.
4. Separate your savings
If you leave the money in your purse or bank account, it is much more likely to get spent. It helps to keep your savings separate.
5. Make saving automatic
Almost all banks offer automated transfers between your checking and savings accounts. You can choose when, how much and where to transfer money or even split your direct deposit so a portion of every paycheck goes directly into your savings account.
Splitting your direct deposit and setting up automated transfers are simple ways to save money since you don’t have to think about it, and it generally reduces the temptation to spend the money instead.
6. Use a budget
Money is a resource which needs to be managed. One of the tools to do this is a budget. This is a plan that shows how much you have at hand for spending and the ways in which you spend it. A budget can show you how your expenses relate to your income.
In doing so, it helps you to limit overspending and put something aside for the savings account. You can create a daily, weekly or monthly budget. This can be done manually or with the assistance of dedicated applications.
7. Pick 2 areas to spend less on
For the next month, pick two areas where you think you can cut back your spending. Maybe you decide to eat out less, to skip your normal coffee runs, or to refrain from buying new clothes. The goal is to cut back for just one month on those areas as much as you can.
Having the goal to just be a month makes it not feel impossible, but it’s also long enough that at the end of the month, you’ve made some new habits that you can hopefully keep!
8. Try a spending freeze.
Don’t buy any nonessential items for a week – or even a month! Think about it as a contentment challenge. While you’re at it, take inventory of what you’re grateful for each day. This should help kick your “want-itis” in the pants.
Make your spending freeze work by prepping meals with the food you already have, avoiding stores where you tend to impulse buy (did someone say Target dollar spot?), and saying no to anything that isn’t a basic necessity.
9. Pack your lunch
Buying lunch a few times a week may seem harmless in the moment (especially when your favorite restaurant is walking distance from your office), but you can save quite a bit of money just by packing a lunch!
Not only that, a lot of times you can buy a solid week’s worth of groceries for the same price as two dinner meals out. Instead, prepare your food at home and watch your savings pile up, month after month.
10. Limit overspending
If you have trouble with overspending, try the envelope budget system where you use a set amount of cash for most spending. And once the cash is gone, it’s gone.
11. ‘Start Small. Think Big’
The truth is, people save more successfully when they set a short-term goal. For instance, committing to saving $20 a week or a month for 6 months is much more attainable that setting a goal to save $500 a month for a year. Once you reach the short-term goal, you’ll have created a habit of saving you can be proud of! You’ll be able to keep going strong with a new goal.
12. Save your coins – literally
Putting aside just 50¢ a day over a year will get you almost halfway to an emergency fund. Check with your bank or credit union, and research apps that offer programs that round your purchases up to the nearest dollar and put the difference into a separate savings account.
This also applies to coins in your pockets and in your home. Collect them in a piggy bank, and over time you will have a considerable amount.
13. Save any surplus money that you get
You could come upon some surplus money that you had not foreseen. In case this happens, make sure that you bank some of it as soon as you can.
Examples of surplus cash sources can be birthday gifts, bonuses or windfalls. When you get this amount of money, bank it right away so that you do not even face the temptation to spend it.
14. Plan gift-giving well in advance
To go alongside spending limits, give yourself time! You’ll ensure that you’re giving the most thoughtful gifts, which usually end up being not as expensive. Besides, it will also give you the opportunity to look for sales.
15. Buy generic
Hands down, one of the easiest ways to save money is to give name brands the boot. In most cases, the only thing that’s better about brand-name products is the marketing.
Look at that box! The logo is so fancy! And that’s about where it ends. Generic brands of medicine, staple food items (like rice and beans), cleaning supplies and paper products cost far less than their brand-name, marked-up friends – and they work just as well too.
16. Treat yourself and save more
Match the cost of your nonessential indulgences in savings. So, for example, if you splurge on a smoothie while out running errands, put the same amount into your savings account.
Avoid temptation by unsubscribing from marketing emails and texts from the stores where you spend the most money. By law, each marketing email is required to have an unsubscribe link, usually at the bottom of the email or you can reply to any text with STOP, and that should opt you out of their list.
18. Stick to a list while grocery shopping
People who do food shopping with a list, and buy little else, spend much less money than those who decide what to buy when they get to the food market. The annual savings could easily be hundreds of dollars.
19. Don’t buy cheap clothes for cheap’s sake
There are times where it makes most sense to prioritize quality over price when purchasing clothes for the family. An inexpensive shirt or coat is a poor bargain for older family members if it wears out in less than a year, but could make sense for quickly growing children.
20. Don’t travel on borrowed money
The golden rule for saving money is to never travel on borrowed money.
Coming home to a mound of debt after a life-changing travel experience is not what you want to face. Debt is stressful and if you can avoid it, you’ll live a happier life.
Never left home until you are sure that your monthly bills, investment contribution, and expenses can be covered for the months you are away.
The Important Take Away
Saving money is a good financial habit. It can help you to put aside money for anything you desire. It is advised that you begin saving early in your life so as to enjoy the benefits in full. The tips above can help you to save without feeling broke. They are sure methods to develop the discipline of saving and improve your financial situation over time.