Indeed, multiple “money saving guides” are available online. The only problem is that such guides do not cover the root issue for not saving, which suggests that even with the right strategies, you may not save money after all. In that case, having the right mindset and suitable systems are critical if you want to cultivate a personal savings culture.
Why Your Plan to Save Keeps Failing
First and foremost, you need to appreciate that saving is not sexy. Otherwise, everyone will prioritize the same. If you are a natural saver, realizing financial stability and freedom will not be a problem. However, if you are an impulse spender, you need to start by embracing what you are instead of denying it if you want this habit to change.
You also need to note that saving money is a marathon and not a sprint. So, if you are having challenges saving, you need to consider spending cash on nice stuff. Although this may appear counterintuitive, hear this out. Doesn’t it make more sense to save $200 every month for a year instead of $500 for three months?
The implication, in this case, is that you can create a budget that sets you up for failure. Spending money on nice things does not suggest that you will save less. As such, some of the rules worth embracing here include:
- Automating savings through automatic bank transfers.
- Saving more than half of your finances after expenses.
- Opting to buy nice things only after saving and then using cash.
That way, you can save a lot while buying the latest outfit in town. Note that you can afford anything (but not everything) and that your focus should only be on the items you value.
How to Track Your Spending to Realize Savings
Manual tracking of your spending habits is not a solution if you are serious about starting a savings culture. Money management apps and Personal Capital are some of the powerful analytic tools worth leveraging in this case. Your Personal Capital dashboard bears details of your net worth, and you can also view the amount you are saving, expenses, and your spending patterns using this tool.
Your net worth should act as the North Star that encourages you to save more. Also, how far you have come should become your driving force whenever you encounter financial setbacks. The reason is that saving is half the battle and consistency is the other half.
Ways to Save Money
It is not a surprise to discover that people love talking about reducing spending, budgeting, and investing. Unfortunately, talk is cheap and poor money management strategies are expensive. Talking about the best way to save money is easy but practicing the same is a different thing altogether.
Insight into the practical and efficient ways one can use to save quickly and accomplish their goals is what matters. After all, you cannot learn such stuff in school. A little saving here and there can make you richer than you imagine. Saving is not easy, but with hard work, you can achieve this goal even if you are an impulse buyer.
Here are some of the best and unexpected ways to save money — number 5 will surprise you.
1. Consider Saving Your Spare Change
A handful of apps for automatically taking small increments of money and depositing them in a savings or investment account are now available. So, if you have a problem accounting for specific funds, these services will prove ideal because they redirect such finances. That applies to the rule “Save small, but save a lot.”
Some of these apps direct a percentage of your paycheck to savings, and some will even help you identify the subscriptions that seem to slip your mind. In turn, you can cancel such subscriptions and allow the app you use to allocate such funds to savings.
2. Opt for Cash Instead of Plastic Payments
The convenience that debit and credit cards offer allows most people to avoid the risk of carrying cash nowadays. As much as that is the case, withdrawing money from your bank account helps you to associate a sense of realness to your money. That is possible because each piece of paper money becomes a physical representation of your hard-earned cash.
That means that when you pay using cash, your money acts as a symbol of your time and work and not just some number in your bank account. On the contrary, a debit card removes the sense of loss when you spend money. A credit card, on the other hand, gives you a false sense of wealth since you do not have to pay immediately.
Carrying no more than $20 in your wallet is advisable. By doing so, you will have a better chance to reconsider your purchase when you cannot buy what you want using cash.
3. Keep Receipts
When you buy groceries, consider keeping your receipts because that can help you save a considerable amount of money. Also, if the store where you buy your groceries separates food into different categories, it will make your receipt a handy list of your perishables. You can go ahead and stick such a receipt on your fridge and highlight the items on it to avoid forgetting that they are in your fridge.
Once you exhaust something, cross it off your list to ensure that you do not waste anything, which will allow you to realize value for your money. Double-checking your spending with your bank transactions online is also possible when you keep your receipts. That will help you identify unauthorized transactions on your account.
4. Prioritize The Use of Essential Oils
It is a fact that perfumes are quite expensive, and some of the ingredients in them can trigger migraines and allergies. Purchasing your favorite essential oil at your local health store when discounts are available and mixing a few drops into a body mist is an ideal replacement for your artificial scent.
When you dilute a few drops of essential oils in water, a single tiny bottle of oil can last several months. If you want to make an air freshener, drip a few drops of your essential oil into a spray bottle and fill the rest with water. The result is an environment-friendly and pocket-friendly homemade air freshener.
5. Unsubscribe from Emails
A 24-hour sale or exclusive coupon and flashy GIFs are simply irresistible, and that is what email marketers capitalize on. Clicking the unsubscribe link at the bottom of an email is a wise idea if you cannot resist shopping whenever you come across a special offer. As a result, you will avoid the temptation to spend, and you will also reduce the clutter in your inbox.
Saving may not be a subject that is hard to understand, but discipline is paramount if you want to make this culture a reality. It is also worth mentioning that saving is an art. If you save too little, you will pay for the consequences in the future, and if you save too much, you will quit at some point.
It takes effort and having the right systems in place to save money. So, take time to brainstorm the goals you can achieve when you have extra money every month. Your objectives will motivate you to stay on track so you can save more. Without further ado, go and start saving money–the sky is the limit.
If you’re unable to save due to your debt, your first step is dealing with the debt. Reach out to DebtBlue if you need help with credit card debt and to discover if a debt resolution program is the answer for getting to the point where you can start saving.