Saving money is tough, at least in the beginning. It seems like many of us always seem to kick ourselves looking back, thinking “I should have saved more” or “I didn’t really need to buy that”. It happens to all of us and that’s okay. But, if you’re able to overcome the challenge of getting started saving money, the rest is a breeze. Find what works for you and learn how to become obsessed with saving money.
Here’s a quote from one of our users who tried our budget plan spreadsheet to reduce his spending, save more money, and track his goals:
“Wow, I never knew how fast I could accomplish these [savings] goals! Saving money is kind of addicting.”
How to Save Money: Tips on Getting Started
Face it, we live in a material world and spending money is fun. Some of us more than others, but getting that new game, new clothes, a good meal – it’s always nice and it makes you feel good. Many of us have no idea how much money we actually spend, until it comes to a big purchase like financing a car. Just think about the things that you like to spend money on, the little purchases. Let’s take a coffee as an example. You get one in the morning on your way to work or school – $3.00 per day (which is low compared to some coffee shops depending on your order). If you go to work or school five days a week, here’s how that would break down.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have an extra 800 bucks at the end of the year? Now, on the other hand, you deserve to treat yourself. You’ve earned a morning coffee. But considering a cheaper alternative like making the coffee at home and bringing a travel mug could end up saving you thousands. Like we said, the beginning of saving is the hard part. Some tips to help you conquer that challenge:
- Monitor your spending habits and discover your weak points (like the coffee)
- Experiment with different saving and budgeting techniques to determine what works best for you
- Set goals. In your career, in your saving, in everything. It will motivate you and push you to be the best you can be.
- Don’t give up. If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again. We never said this was easy. But it’ll pay off in the end… literally.
Find a Money Saving Method That Works For You
To obsess over something you have to like it, you have to want it. So it only makes sense that the way you save money has to be personal to you. There are tons of different savings methods, techniques, tips, and tricks out there. People have come up with some creative ways to save money, so don’t tie yourself to just one. Try at least a few and see what works best.
What personality best describes you?
Strict and Scheduled
- Save a certain percentage of your earnings. This works especially well for someone with varying income like servers or bartenders. This way you’re not cutting yourself too short on a bad week, or missing out on savings opportunities on your best weeks. Your save amount fluctuates with your income.
- Save a certain dollar amount. If you have your mind set on saving at least a certain dollar amount each month or paycheck, there’s nothing wrong with keeping it basic.
- Give yourself a spend allowance and save the rest. Subtract your spending money and your bills from your earnings. The rest goes straight to the bank.
- Direct Deposit. If your employer offers this, you should definitely take advantage of it. Configuring direct deposit into multiple accounts makes it like you never had the money in the first place. That is, until you need it! Out of sight, out of mind.
- Buy in bulk. For the items you can buy bulk like toiletries and some groceries, you should. Having a supply at home will prevent you from buying things just because you see them, or replacing them with a fancier (and more expensive) alternative.
- Track and monitor your savings. Show yourself the progress you are making with the help of easy to use tools and savings spreadsheets, like the user we mentioned above.
- Change in the pickle jar. The oldest savings trick in the book, but it works. You can physically see your money pile up. It’s a rewarding feeling. And when you can, throw some bills in there as well.
- Self competition. There are many savings challenges that people have created to motivate themselves to save. Find one like the 52 week money saving challenge, or come up with one on your own!
- Competition with friends. Sometimes you need someone else to give you that little push to accomplish your goals. Consider planning a trip and require that each of you save enough for the trip and put double in your savings. Or a race to a certain date and see who has saved the most.
Challenge Yourself to Save and Have Fun Doing It
There are many different ways to save money and no single one of them is the best way or the right way. Take some time to figure out what you like, but don’t stop. You should always be saving and coming up with better ways to make the most of your money.