Saving money in a difficult economy is something that frustrates many people. Unfortunately, some of the most effective ways to save money involve cutting back on luxuries. However, many of the things we enjoy in life are not necessary, and psychology has shown that despite what you might think, money has little influence on personal happiness. As long as people have their basic needs met, their level of happiness remains somewhat stable. For example, someone who purchases a new car may be quite happy for awhile, but they will return to normal over time – the car doesn’t permanently improve their life, or it does so very little.
Essentially, cutting out daily luxuries seems difficult because it is. We are junkies when it comes to the thinks we are used to enjoying, as well as when it comes to making new purchases. Like with the car, you will return to your normal level of happiness after giving up your daily coffee, for instance. You just need time and self-discipline. Coffee isn’t the best example, of course, because it directly improve mood through caffeine consumption, and today’s sleep-deprived society is often reliant on caffeine. Nonetheless, there are a variety of ways you can save money, and you don’t have to choose all of them.
1. Reduce Food Expenses:
If you purchase expensive coffee, make it at home. If you are buying lunch on a regular basis, consider packing a lunch yourself. Furthermore, paying attention to deals at the grocery store can help you save money. If your regular shopping list consist of non-perishable food items, don’t be afraid to buy in bulk. In fact, non-perishable purchases can often be done online for far lower prices than you’ll find at most venues. Coupons can be helpful, but don’t use them as an excuse to buy more. In fact, look at your food in terms of nutritional value. Unhealthy snacks usually offer little nutritional benefit, and you can satisfy your hunger more easily with healthy items. This takes self-discipline. Our bodies naturally enjoy sugars, salts, and other substances found in junk food. This is because in nature, it allows us to effectively find food sources. We’re genetically food addicts, so to speak. We aren’t designed to eat the highly concentrated foods we see today, and it takes time to adjust to a more healthy lifestyle.
2. Stay Healthy and Fit:
While on the topic of health, you should realize that it impacts your budget. Illness is often related to an unhealthy diet, lifestyle, and a variety of other factors. Even when it comes to the cold and flu, you can be more vulnerable. Costly trips to the doctor, missed work, and other health-related issues can hurt your pocketbook. Furthermore, increased weight means more money spent at the grocery store, and in addition to boosts in self-esteem and energy, becoming physically fit can save you money.
3. Keep a Change Jar:
If you’re like me, you can suddenly feel like buying a drink, chocolate bar, or other item when you pass by a store. You might be headed home in about thirty minutes, and you can certainly wait that long. However, you give in because “it’s just change” you’re spending. If you take change away from yourself as fast as you receive it, you can reduce your expenses on unnecessary items. Furthermore, you can use that change on something later.
4. Avoid Debt and Pay Off Debt
Unfortunately, most of us don’t have the luxury of paying for homes, cars, and other large purchases in cash. However, it’s common for people to put money in a savings account while still in debt. Yes, you will make more money by using your savings account. However, it won’t be good for you in the long-run (generally). For example, your credit card might charge you 10% interest while your savings account provides 5%. If you have $20,000 in debt and $10,000 in savings, you lose $2000 dollars and gain $500. This is a net loss of $1500. If you put that $10,000 into debt and $0 into savings, you’re left with $10,000 in debt and a net loss of $1000. Unless you have a dastardly plan to empty your bank and avoid your creditors (illegal and only works in the movies), you are almost always better off paying your debt before you invest in savings. It saves you money in the long-run.
5. Be A Careful Shopper
A helpful rule when shopping is to see something you want to buy and leave. If you still want it a few weeks later, purchase it. Obviously, you can make exceptions for a ticket to the sequel of your favorite movie. However, I pass by the video game section in stores and almost always see something interesting. However, I rarely have the time to play and have a variety of other interesting games I’ve yet to finish. I’ve given into temptation and ended up with more games I rarely play, and the rest of the time I’ve saved myself $50. Your weakness might be different; clothes, music, movies, etc. Recognize when you are making impulse purchases and learn to control them.
6, Earn Additional Income
As you read this article, you may or may not be aware that Helium.com is a website where “you” can write articles on a variety of topics. You get paid for this, too, and the pay varies depending on your success. This is a hobby that translates into additional income, some of which is earned without even being at the computer. If you can establish even $20.00 from selling your knitted items once in awhile, that’s income you can save for something in the future. Turning your hobby into profit can be a fun way to save money. Like video games? Host a local tournament, start a blog on video games, or make up our own creative idea.
Of the various methods of saving, these are only some. You can look to a nearly endless supply of sources on how to save. However, you can also make money while you’re reading about saving. It’s up to you to establish a system that works for your given situation. There are people who cut coupons for hours only to buy things they didn’t need. All the while they are unaware that they may have made more working than the value of what they saved. It’s important to always weigh the cost of your time when evaluating a method of saving. Depending on individual circumstances, certain tactics will work better than others.