I’ve been on a quest to save money lately. This is mainly due to a realization I had awhile ago about how ridiculous my spending habits had become (you can read more about that here). While money is meant for spending, it’s also good to have a “safety net” for yourself and your family. When it’s time to make a big purchase, you’ll feel less stressed if it doesn’t empty out your checking account. Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, there are a few simple lifestyle changes you can implement that will keep your wallet very happy. Without further ado, here are 5 easy ways to save money:
Open a savings account.
This one’s a “duh,” but you may be surprised to find how many people don’t have any type of savings account! Even though I get a retirement plan through work, I like to keep a personal savings account for large purchases or emergencies. You never know if you or a family member will get into an accident that redults in steep medical costs, and a down payment on a house can be a decent chunk of money as well. Another perk of a savings account is that it keeps your money separated and safe. If you keep all your money in a checking account and it gets compromised, you won’t be in a very good situation! Of course these are all “what ifs,” but it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Set up automatic transfers.
This point goes along with opening a savings account: if you have the ability to set up automatic transfers, do it! You can usually set up automatic transfers through your bank, retirement plan, or work (if they do direct deposit). I have my transfers set up soon after my last paycheck of the month. The money gets taken out before I have a chance to miss it, so instead of spending it on frivolous things I don’t need, it goes into one of my savings accounts where it serves a better purpose. It doesn’t have to be a large amount – $5, $50, $100…whatever you can swing a month. You’ll see that it adds up over time!
Unsubscribe from marketing emails.
When I started unsubscribing from marketing emails, I noticed a major change in my spending. It’s tempting to visit your favorite online stores when they bombard you with emails promoting sales, coupons, and special offers. When you stop receiving daily emails, the stores don’t cross your mind. I now have to actively look if I need or want something, which doesn’t happen very often anymore. I also unfollowed a lot of brands on social media for this same reason. Seeing the products made me want to spend money, so I cut the source. It’s easy to find coupons for most stores on RetailMeNot when you’re in the mood to shop anyway!
Learn to love leftovers and home-cooked meals.
With the amazing invention of the slow cooker, there are many meals you can cook that will feed you for two nights (or more) in a row. One of my favorite slow cooker meals is this Chili Mac. Super inexpensive, tastes great, and it’s easy to make! Cooking at home is probably one of the hardest things for me and my husband because we love to go out, but going out costs so much more than a home cooked meal. If you have trouble cutting out restaurants completely like we do, aim to only go out once or twice on the weekend and cook the rest of your meals at home. Leftovers and home-cooked meals are major money savers.
Pay more attention to the angel on your shoulder.
Whether you believe in angels and devils or not, we can all agree there are two voices in our heads: one telling us to do something, and one telling us not to do something. When it comes to spending, we need to pay more attention to the voice saying: “Do I really need this right now?” Like a lot of things, spending requires a small amount of planning and strategy. If you’re anticipating purchasing a lot in a month—like around the holidays for example—it’s probably not the best time to be buying extra things. Asking yourself questions like “Do I need this?”, “Do I need it right this moment?”, “Do I have extra spending money this month?”, “Will I get a lot of use out of it?” will help you decide if the purchase is worth being made. The last thing you want to end up with is buyer’s remorse!
These are the 5 practices I make an effort to follow in order to save money. Obviously I’m not perfect and I do fall short sometimes, but I always get back on track when I’m utilizing these. They require a little discipline, but overall they are pretty easy ways to ensure you’re building your safety net. Hopefully you’ve found these tips helpful for your future financial endeavors!
What are some tips you have for saving money? Let me know in the comments!