Saving money is a challenge to say the least. If you are not a highly disciplined person, it can be very trying to limit yourself on what you actually need and what you want. Most of the things that we spend our extra money on are just wants and not needs. Turning your mind to realize that you CAN live without a lot of the things you buy is hard, but here are a few tips that can help you save more each year.
Set New Priorities.
Budgets tend to revolve around three costs: food, housing, and transportation. Everything else is pretty much an option so it can be managed differently. For example, you don’t absolutely have to have every channel that your cable provider offers, especially if you only watch certain shows. You might be able to also cut down on the Internet shopping when you’re bored. There are several things that can be managed better and save you so much if you just make yourself aware of them.
Use The Online Tools.
On Mint.com you can upload your credit card account information and get immediate insight into where your money is going. You can then use that information to start saving more money. Your bank might offer a similar interface through its website.
Once you decide you need to buy a specific item, give yourself a deadline of when you need to have this purchased by. The deadline can give you time to save up for it and shop around for the best price. Timing yourself can also keep you from wasting time. If your item is important for work or something else along those lines, taking more time will only hurt you rather than help.
Budget By The Year
A lot of people try to budget by the month and this can end up just stressing you out. There will be months where you can’t save as much as others and maybe not even at all. That’s okay. There might be some months where you don’t spend much because you’re busy at work so you are able to put more toward your yearly goal. These months can make up for the ones where you fall short.
Set Money Aside For Fun Expenses.
A recent survey revealed that people get more joy out of experiences than material items. Mostly because the memories from the experiences last a lifetime and material things end up getting tossed to the back of the closet after you get the necessary use out of them. Cut out a few material purchases to allow yourself some fun time.
Consider Your High And Low Points.
Look back on the past few months and where you spent your money. Did you eat out more? Spend more on impulse buys? Which months did you do extremely well with money? Chart these out and create a habit of the good months where you managed your money great.
Keep A Spending Diary
Write down every single thing you spend your money on, even if it’s just a pack of gum at the gas station. Write notes in on purchases and tell how the purchase made you feel. Do this for two weeks and then analyze what you spent your money on. Did you carelessly spend it at restaurants eating out when you could have been eating the food you had at home? Or did you make a few purchases that ended up going to waste?
I know this is much easier said than done. This can be exceptionally hard for the impulse buyer because spending money makes you feel good. Keeping your mind busy will help you avoid the temptation to buy that new kitchen gadget that is being advertised everywhere. When you allow yourself to get bored, you allow for spending to occur. If you were doing your laundry that was piled up you might not have spent your extra cash on something you found while surfing the Internet.
Don’t just completely cut yourself off from the things you love. If you love finding trendy new things on Etsy, then allow yourself one purchase each month from a new shop you’ve found. Or if you enjoy fine dining, allow yourself one or two dinners out at a nice restaurant a month. When you limit yourself and allow for rewards every so often, you will enjoy those rewards much more than if you experienced them all the time.
Share Your Budget Goals
Sharing your budget goals will not only help others but it can open up a door for you to learn of other people’s budget goals and maybe pick up a few tips. You can also have an automatic support system when you and others are doing something together. The more support you have the more likely you are to fulfill your goal.