I’m sure you’ve heard it countless of times and if not here it goes: “It’s not hard to make money. It’s hard to save money.” You notice the trend in the world that we live in? The more we make, the more we’ll want to spend? It’s like a never ending cycle and all it does to us is mess with our minds. Take a step back and analyze how much you make. In all honesty, you don’t need much to get by in life but yet we’re in-tuned with the “materialism” world especially with what we see through the news, media, and the internet. If you want to detach yourself from everyone else in the world that spends all their money constantly, then continue reading.. If not, then I suggest you go on your favorite shopping site and spend your money effortlessly.
There are 7 Ways to Save Money.. Believe it or not, it’s simple but it’s very challenging to do..
1. Track your Spending Habits
If you bank online or use credit cards, you can download a list of your expenditures over the past month, quarter, or even over the past year. You can use Microsoft Excel or another spreadsheet program where you can divide your spending by category. You might have even done this for your taxes. The idea is to get a handle on how much money you spend each month in each category (food, gas, clothing, utilities, etc.). Are there categories that you should be spending less money in? Are there things that you get on a regular basis that are eating up your money? Once you understand your spending habits, it will be easier for you to decide where and when to spend your money.
If you’re not that proficient with excel then you should sign up for mint.com. It’s free and it’s easy to use. All you do is plug in your bank accounts and credit cards (trust me it’s 100% safe), your goals as far as spending and from there mint will do the rest. I like this program a lot because it will notify you through e-mail or text if you’ve gone over budget. And it also tells you exactly how much you were charged on interest for each credit card. Sometimes, it’s good to know the exact number rather than looking at percent of interest.
2. Have a Budget
It’s a good idea to have a budget so that your spending doesn’t get out of control. Once you understand your spending habits, you can create a budget that allows you to spend money in the categories that are important for you and spend less in areas that aren’t as important to you. It takes discipline to keep a budget and it takes discipline to save money. With a budget you will have an idea of how much money you have to spend on the necessities and also on the niceties.
3. Don’t ALWAYS use Your Credit Cards
If you don’t have the money in your bank account, don’t use credit cards to get by. If you don’t have the money now, what makes you think you’ll have the money in the future to pay off your credit cards? Credit cards charge interest which works for the credit card company, not for you. If you don’t have the money now, don’t make the purchase. Of course, if you have a credit card for emergencies, and an emergency comes up, like your car breaks down or something, go ahead and use it. But going out to dinner with your family when you don’t have the money to pay for it is not an emergency.
4. Make Your Own Food
If you make your own lunch and take it to work you can save quite a bit of money over a year. For example, it cost on average about $10 a day just for lunch! And the sad thing is that junk food restaurants like McDonalds have their prices going up as well! So you’re not only spending more money, but you’re wasting it on unhealthy food. You can simply prepare your meals every day and you can save more than half of your weekly expenses. The same thing goes for coffee. If you take your own coffee, which you can make for pennies at home, instead of dropping by Starbucks on the way to work, you can save quite a bit of money If you go on YouTube you’ll see all kinds of guidelines on how to make delicious food. Nevertheless, it’s nice to eat out but don’t do it all the time, especially if you’re trying to save money.
5. Have a List When You go Shopping
When you go shopping, have a list. That goes for food shopping as well as other shopping. Have an idea of what you need to buy before you go shopping. Stores are set up in a specific way to get you to spend money. Millions of dollars of research is done every year in order to help stores sell more stuff to you. If you try and fight retailers, it will be a losing battle. The best thing for you to do is to have a list of the things you need before you go shopping. By doing this, your list should help you have the discipline to only get the things that are on your list. This will save you money. I can’t tell you how many times I went to Target without a list, and I leave the store with a deep hole in my pocket. I would tell myself that I’d only buy paper towels, and instead I’d come back with a videogame, and a bunch of junk food. I just lost over $50 right there since I didn’t discipline myself by creating a list. A list goes in conjunction with tracking your spending. You create a list once you know your weekly budget.
6. Look for Discounts and Coupons
Many employers provide discounts to their employees. You can find out about these programs through your human resources department. Also, don’t be above clipping coupons out of the newspaper. If there are coupons for things that you buy all the time and you can save a dollar here and there, that can really add up. It takes a lot of organization to clip coupons, but if you’re an organized person and willing to save money through coupons, this might be a method you can use.
7. Pay your Bills on Time and Avoid Fees
You can avoid paying a lot of extra money by paying your bills on time and avoiding late fees and overdraft fees. Pay your bills on time so that you don’t have additional finance charges. Pay your credit cards on time so that you don’t have additional late fee charges and your interest rate won’t be bumped up to 30%! Don’t spend more money than you have in your bank account because you don’t want to pay insufficient fund fees. By managing your money, even if you only have a little bit, can save quite a bit not paying exorbitant fines and fees.
Regardless how much you make, you can save a lot of money just by making small changes with your spending habit. It’s all about organizing everything, and creating a weekly – monthly budget. Make sure to pay off any unnecessary bills because the interest charges pile up!