Saving money is hard! And in this economy, we should be scraping for every penny we can to continue towards our financial goals. Here are a few tips to save money for those who need some help!
1. Make a budget. It’s impossible to save money unless you know how much you’re making and how much you’re spending. Otherwise you’re just spending money. Without a budget, you might overspend, forgetting about bills that don’t come until the end of the month. This has happened to me, and I’ve ended up needing to use my credit card. Focus on your budget to help overcome overspending!
2. Pay yourself first. I don’t have a lot of money, but I have two direct deposits set up for my check. Every pay period, $50 goes directly to my savings account. The rest goes to my checking account. That’s $100 every month that goes straight to my savings account. I rarely check that account, but it’s an emergency fund I know is available. And the best part is that I’ve gotten used to life without that $100, so it’s not like I’m missing anything. Paying yourself first is possibly the most important step to saving money.
3. Save your raises. Congratulations! You got a raise at work! What are you going to do with the extra money? If you’re serious about saving money, you’ll save it! You were used to your salary prior to the raise, so why not continue to live like that and save the rest? Or maybe you could partially reward yourself and allow yourself to have 50% of the raise. Maybe you get a raise of $1.00. Save $0.50 and spend the other $0.50. Perfect!
4. Shop smart, particularly at the grocery store. Shop quickly, because studies show that for every 10 unplanned minutes you spend in a grocery store, you’ll spend an additional $20. But if you’re going to shop quickly, you need to use a list! Otherwise you’ll compromise that time for buying things you didn’t really need. It’s also important to buy in bulk, buy generic brands, and buy things when they’re on sale to ensure that you’re saving as much money as possible at the grocery store.
5. Cook. I can buy a steak that will feed my entire family for the same price that the steak would cost at a restaurant that would only feed myself. Not only that, but tipping a server and the gas needed to drive to and from the restaurant adds up very quickly! Plan your meals, shop wisely, and cook at home. Not only can you make food for dinner, you can make extra to take to work the next day for lunch. That’s two meals in one!
6. Make your own coffee! I know several people that go to Starbuck’s every morning on the way to work. They spend three dollars per day, five days per week. That’s an average of $65 per month on coffee! You’ll save a lot of money by making your own every morning!
7. Get rid of your home phone. Most people have cell phones now, so why have a home phone as well? Some people spend as much as $50 per month on their home phone despite the infrequency of use. Save the $50 per month and you’ll have $600 extra by the end of the year!
These are the most cost-beneficial tips I’ve followed and it has paid off tremendously. A bit of organization and a lot of commitment will help you reach your savings goals! Good luck!