In the past year alone, I have been working to gradually improve my spending habits and finances for the better for many reasons. When I was younger, I did not make the best choices in terms of spending. As I got older and began to consume more content about the subject, it dawned on me that I needed to make better choices not only for the sake of the present day me, but for the future me as well.
Unlike many financial experts out there, I am not preaching that you can’t use money for fun or never buying things for the sake of not buying anything. I am saying that there are steps that you can take to be a better consumer and just better with your money in general.
These are the steps that I’ve been taking to help boost up my savings.
- Wait 24 Hours before making a purchase — at least. One of the biggest problems that I noticed with myself is the fact that I would “treat” myself impulsively. Sometimes, it would be because I had a stressful week. Other times, it would just be because I fell in love with an item and knew that I couldn’t live without it. Most of the time, my impulse purchases have worked out for me. I don’t ever want to discount that. However, by waiting 24 hours before purchasing an item has helped. 9 times out of 10, I often forget about the item, which means that I really didn’t want it that much anyways.
- Go shopping with a plan. This one is pretty simple. Whenever I go to the mall, Target, or even TJ Maxx, the one thing I do is create a list in my head of things that I want to buy before I go. For instance, if I need pants, I will go into a shopping trip with that in mind. Now, if I find something else, I will weigh the options and think about it, but my number one concern is to get the item that I was initially there to get.
- Gradually increase how much I save each paycheck. I save at least ten percent of my paycheck every week in my savings account, and then a small percentage in another savings account. Over the past few months, I’ve gradually increased how much I’ve been putting in. By making that small budget change, I have seen a huge increase with how much is in the bank.
- Sell everything that I no longer use/want. One of the ways that I’ve been increasing my savings and income is by selling clothes, jewelry and purses that I no longer use on Poshmark. This is a tricky thing to do, but I highly recommend it as a way to make a few extra dollars to put into your account either for savings or for pleasure.
- Have no spend days. This one is the hardest one yet it is the most effective. I try to have at least one no spend day per week. What this means is that I try to not spend any money on that day. Sometimes, I have one day per week. Others, I have more than one day. I think that this helps me try to save money, but also forces me to think about the things that I need or want in a more practical lens. Online shopping has become easier than ever before to shop whenever you want. By planning days where I don’t spend any money, it helps me put some thought before I click “add to cart.”
- Eating at home as much as possible. This goes for coffee too. One of the biggest sucks of my money in the past was takeout food. While this was something that I did because I am a cooking novice. To combat this, I’ve been learning to cook, my boyfriend does a lot more cooking, and I have frozen foods as well. The same thing goes for coffee. I purchased a Nespresso last year, and since then, my Starbucks trips were eliminated as well. Nespresso lattes are $1.10 versus the $5 ones from Starbucks. That is about $4 of savings a day.
- Budget.This is one thing that I am still learning to do, and am getting better at it with each passing day. I’ve been tracking my spending, and budgeting. For a while, I was scared of the word because I didn’t want to be limited and deprived. However, by having a budget helps me be in better control of my money.
- Get a change jar. This is something that I’ve been doing for many years, and something that has helped me so much in my savings goals. What I do is put my spare change is cash it in and use it for a big purchase. Sure, that may be tedious to save everything. But, for big purchases, any little bit helps.
- Listen to a bunch of different experts. I listen to Dave Ramsey and Gentler. I also watch the Financial Diet. I don’t think that it’s a good idea for someone to listen to just one source for these tips. That way, you can do things based on what is best for you, not for the person who is behind the microphone. Personally, I find Dave Ramsey a little too intense, but I do enjoy his tips.
What have you been doing to save money? Let me know in the comments below.