We don't need to compile an extensive list of all the expenses we worry about on a regular basis. For the time being, let's also put those little (or huge) surprise expenses in the back of our mind so we can relax for a moment. While it's hard not to worry about finances, it doesn't need to be hard saving money. There are lots of money saving tips that can help you make the most out of your paychecks and we're here to outline the easiest methods. These simple ideas will no doubt help you to save some bucks in between paychecks and stop your hair from graying.
To quote financial writer and TV personality, Gail Vaz-Oxlade, a cash diet is something that can seriously help you with saving money. As opposed to constantly shopping with a credit or debit card, withdraw some money at the start of the week and let those funds be your allowance. People are far less likely to spend physical cash than merely putting expenses on their cards. Why? Simple. You will see your money deplete from your wallet with cash on hand and you'll be much more mindful of what you're spending money on and will make better decisions with impulsive purchases.
It can be difficult not to go out to lunch with friends or for dinner on a Friday night. While it's fine to do these things every once in a while, it's damaging to your funds and savings when you do this on a regular basis. When you bring your own lunch to work you save a significant amount of money during the week. It's the same with dinner. As opposed to going out more often than you need to, make something at home.
It can also be tempting to simply have something delivered when you don't feel like making anything, but avoid this by making easy meals ahead of time. It's not that tough or time-consuming to make food for the week, especially when there are simple recipes to use.
Something else to note is coffee. Why spend money on coffee every morning or throughout the day when you can just make it at home? I guarantee you that many of your favorite coffee shops sell their beans in stores, which means you have no reason not to make yourself a cup in the morning for free.
When you want to buy something that you don't really need or you're thinking about grabbing something a little on the expensive side, wait it out. Give yourself at least 48 hours before buying something pricey, especially if it's not a necessity. Let things sit in your online cart or give some serious thought to things in stores. Chances are what you want will still be there and this two-day window will give you the chance to reflect and potentially escape an impulsive buy.
Yes, it can be tempting to want fashionable clothing that's "in" this season. However, that doesn't always mean that nice coat or killer pair of boots are in the budget and buying those things for yourself only hurts in the long run.
Thrift stores are often given a bad rap and there's a stigma surrounding second-hand stores, but there shouldn't be. You can find amazing deals in these stores and sometimes there are designer items for a fraction of the cost. There's no shame in grabbing something for yourself at a cheaper price that will serve the same function as the designer brand.
A big mistake people make when burning through money is spending outside of their budget. This is why it's a good idea to sit down one day and go through your expenses and budget. Find out how much you make, what you spend every two weeks, and how you can cut costs in your spending.
Make realistic plans for yourself. If you see that you're spending more in one area than you ought to be, start making cuts. Give yourself a cash allowance that will keep you afloat but also discourage impulsive and nonsensical spending. You'd be surprised to see where your money goes once you sit down and see everything on paper.
I know it's daunting to think about another account you need to contribute to but think of these bi-weekly donations as an investment in your future. As opposed to thinking negatively of a bi-weekly contribution to an RRSP or savings account, see it for what it is: money in your pocket. When you retire or when you need to dip into your savings, it's always a good idea to build a rainy day fund.
Speak with the experts at your local bank about a savings account or an RRSP. They will introduce you to the accounts and give you additional money-saving tips. The Bank of America, for example, has an online tool to help you set up your future savings. Their tool shows you how much you need to save depending on which goal you're like to attain.
Whether it be a personal finance book or booking an appointment with a financial advisor, understanding your money will only serve to help you. If you're not really sure how credit card interest works, what the limitations of certain investments are, or how to save for your future then you should consult with the professionals. Depending on your schedule, it might behoove you to book an appointment with a professional to save on time and avoid running into financial jargon a book might have.
You should also consider sitting down with accountants during tax season if you have any questions regarding tax returns or where your money is going. It's also worth finding out what is taxable throughout the year to better help you save money.
A good way to stay on track is to keep your goals in front of you. Are you saving for a house? Trying to buy a new car? Working towards a vacation? Mark down how much you will need for these items and keep track of how much you've been putting towards your goal. If you see that you're slipping back into old habits and spending where you shouldn't be, reflect and tell yourself that the money you spent on a new shirt or a $50 meal could have been added to your goals instead.
If you're planning to see a movie with friends, pack your own candy. You don't need to spend $15 on popcorn and a soda when you can bring something to munch on from your house. If you think you're going to get hungry during, then eat something before you head out. You can also always catch up on your ever-growing Netflix list and have a night in.
Hit up free events around your area. There are so many things to do in your city and neighborhood that you probably didn't even know about. Check out community billboards or go online to see what's free in your area.
You can also host dinners at home. Not only will you be saving money by making your own food, but ask your friends to bring something. Potlucks are terrific ways to save money and include everyone in the meal. Plus, even if they can't bring something, chances are someone will bring wine and everyone can indulge.
Our final money saving tip for you is to designate a no-spending day for yourself. It can be tough not to grab yourself a coffee or a quick snack at a convenience store but organize a day in the week where you spend nothing. Costs really do add up, even with the little things, and you might be surprised at how much you save in the span of a month. Plus, it might also serve as the catalyst for future spending habits by encouraging you to leave that lottery ticket or chocolate bar behind.
These money saving tips will no doubt get you on the path to better spending. It's important to think about your future and to budget for the days ahead. Remember that you don't need to try everything at once. Incorporating just a few of these suggestions into your life will help you substantially with money, savings, and better educate yourself. It's always nice to have money in the bank and these tips make it easier to reach that goal.