Have you ever looked at your dwindling savings account and wondered what you could do differently? When people tell you to “stop spending” but it’s not that easy? Everyone has been here at some point. Perhaps you’re happy with your savings account, but want to feel inspired by fresh saving tactics. Whatever the situation, we are happy to offer you five tips on how to save money:
Analyze where your money is going every month and not only in your head! Keeping track of your budget on paper or through an app will help you set realistic goals for saving. Besides, it will provide an answer to that “where did my money go?!” question.
To begin, start tracking your spending, analyze where your money goes, and how much. How much do you spend on gas each month? Groceries? Have a standard budget but allow yourself some flexibility. If you are hosting a family holiday or going to visit an out-of-state relative, your food and gas budget is going to be different than the previous month. Remember that balance is key.
Kick Instant Gratification
The mentality that you have to have everything right NOW is one of the things that cost you the most money – there’s a lot of psychology behind why people follow this pattern. Ultimately, it boils down to the fact that the more you cave into instant gratification, the worse it gets. Every time you give in to that habit, a short burst of dopamine is released in your brain. It doesn’t last long and leaves you craving another.
Try implementing a rule where you wait a certain number of days to make a purchase. Whether it be 7 days, 10 days, 3 weeks, or a solid month. The desire to buy an unnecessary item disappears with time. Be mindful and spend out of functionality and not emotion.
Create a Visual Reminder of Your Debt.
While you might think this sounds discouraging, it’s quite helpful because you can see your progress as you work toward achieving your goals. Creating a color-as-you-go or interactive chart may motivate you to spend less money!
Avoiding Fast Food
Easier said than done, for sure. When you pass that certain fast food place and all of sudden you crave a burger, fries, and shake. Perhaps it’s a coffee place. Did you know the average American woman spends $2,327 on coffee per year? And the average American male spends $1,934.
How to help: make a meal plan! A lot of times, eating out is a quick fix – you’re not sure what to make for dinner, and stopping to grab food is an instant fix with no mess. Having meals planned helps eliminate this issue. If you’re feeling ambitious, take a shot at prepping those meals ahead of time! Try planning your meals around the grocery coupons you receive in the mail or online.
As for the coffee, making your gourmet coffee at home will save you money. Invest in a coffee maker, your choice of coffee, and syrups if you like flavor. Get a couple of travel mugs for when you’re on-the-go. In the long run, this is less expensive and you get to make your coffee just how you like it!
Use Community Resources
While COVID makes this challenging, use whatever community resources you feel comfortable with. Keep track of community events- a lot of communities are hosting virtual ones right now. Check with your library, city hall, or community website! Using these resources cuts down on boredom and helps alleviate spending. Instead of buying, get a book or movie from the library. If you prefer e-books, check with your library – most are partnered with an app that allows you to borrow e-books for free!
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