10 Practical Ways To Save Money
10 Practical Ways To Save Money
Wanting to save money and acting on it are two different things. Let’s face it – the latter really requires a lot of will, hard work, and determination for you to actually start stashing away some cash to use on a rainy day. Like many other good things in this world, without the “pain” there’ll absolutely be no gain.
What if money is just not enough that you hardly can even keep a dollar hidden in your piggy bank? Again saving may not be that easy (or comfy) but it is doable. And it doesn’t have to be big right away. Taking baby steps and making some little changes in your lifestyle can definitely make it happen. Soon you’ll see how your budget becomes healthier and your savings a bit fatter.
Let’s start off with 10 easy-to-follow steps to start your savings.
#1 Start a budget
The most effective and efficient way of controlling your finances is to make a budget. This is indeed a very easy tool that helps you keep track of your spending or the money coming in and going out of your home. A budget is a feasible way of knowing whether or not you’re living within or beyond your means. It allows you to make adjustments and spend money on the essentials and on what really matters. Ultimately you’ll stay ahead of your bills and start putting aside money for future use.
These days there are several tools that you can make use of to start budgeting your money. Online, there are many free budget planners or calculators that will help you to work out where you should spend your money on. You can do it on a weekly, fortnightly, monthly, or annual basis depending on what suits you best. Also with technology these days, budget apps are also available that you can easily download on to your smart phone so you can access it anytime, anywhere. Try looking for some resources online – there are loads of them free of charge.
#2 Make a record of all your expenditures
Whether you use the conventional way of listing down your expenses on an unused notebook or the modern, techie way of monitoring your household and personal expenses, the important thing is you do record them. This means jot down the items you spend on everyday and the amount that you spend for each – from coffee, snacks, magazines, clothes, medicines, movies, travel, and once you’ve come up with a list, try to categorize them and get the subtotal for each and he grand total for all of your expense. This will give you a better idea how much to budget every week or month for these items.
#3 Saving money at the grocery
There are times that you really would like to buy everything that you lay your eyes on, but think twice and again think of your budget. So to help you stay in track, here are a few tips to follow:
- Prepare a list of the grocery items that you need. Bring it with you to the supermarket and purchase what’s on the list only. This enables you to stick to your budget also.
- Set aside your “grocery money” inside an envelope or simply take with you the money budgeted for the groceries. Don’t bring “extra” cash or a credit card so you can only spend the money that you have.
- Try to buy in bulk. It is more economical and lets you save while buying. Schedule your shopping every fortnight only.
- Consume all food items in your kitchen first before shopping for more. This doesn’t just save you money, it lets you avoid wasting what you’ve already bought.
- Don’t go grocery shopping with a hungry stomach. It lets you save from spending on expensive snacking. It will be nice to eat first and perhaps treat yourself with a cheaper DIY sandwich later at home.
- Be mindful of your grocery spending, by evaluating your grocery list from time to time, and knowing which items can be cut out from the list on your next visit at the market and so on.
#4 Save on energy and water consumption
This step doesn’t only make your savings grow fat, it will also allow you to help a bit save the planet. Saving power means making sure that you only buy energy-saving appliances and light bulbs, turning the lights off when not in use, switching off your heater or air-cooler when not in use or perhaps find alternative ways to get warmed up rather than using your heater (unless absolutely necessary) such as wearing a jumper, keeping thick curtains drawn during the night to preserve the heat in your room etc. Also, make sure to turn off your computer or television when not you’re not using it. There are many ways to save energy it is only a matter of discipline. As for saving water, try avoiding very long showers or perhaps try to look for a water-efficient shower head if any.
#5 Gain more money-saving ideas from a friend
Sometimes having someone to share some ideas with can help. Talk to a trusted friend – a friend who you know is also making an effort to save. Perhaps it is best to stay more often with friends who are like-minded and who also value savings. You can be partners in looking for cheap shops to buy clothes from. You can even set up a “who-saves-more” competition amongst yourselves over a specified period. You’ll see this works like magic!
#6 Save on your wardrobe
Clothes and fashion trends, just like the season, are changing. Hence it is not cost-efficient to splurge on a lot of clothes in one stop. If you buy a top for example, make sure that it can go with other items in your closet. This way you can get a couple of outfits out of just one blouse or shirt etc. It is also nice to look for some really good bargain stores or an op-shop. There are times that you don’t need to buy a new dress just to attend a party once.
#7 Know your priorities
So why do you want to save? Is it for your retirement, for a vacation, for your child’s college, for a house purchase or renovation, and so on? All of us have different reasons for wanting to save a certain amount of money. It is best to know and decide which one of these is your priority. Also a part of this entire process is determining the period in which you save up a certain amount of money for a particular goal, including the amount to stash away per month for this.
#8 Consider automatic transfers
It may be easier to set automatic transfers to your savings account. You can check with your local bank how to set this up. There are several options available for you for sure. You can also decide the frequency of the transfers as well as the amount to transfer. Also try considering saving as your “regular expense”. This can be a great way to stay right on track with your savings goals.
#9 Choose a savings style that suits your specific needs
When choosing a savings style, consider your goals first. Is it a short-term goal (e.g. buy your longtime favorite bag, or a weekend vacation) or long-term one (e.g. retirement, house renovation, child’s college etc). If you trust yourself enough, you can go for the conventional methods or rather look for some more modern ways. Having a regular savings account can be the fastest route. Or you may consult your local bank to determine the best option for you and your family. Other non-savings account include investing in the stock market, but of course these options are coupled with certain risks or losses – so it requires expert assistance and know-how if you consider this as an option.
#10 Consider a couple of tweaks in your current lifestyle or habits
As mentioned above big things start from small beginnings. A few changes can significantly affect your bank account balance. It can be painful at the start but sooner or later you’ll get used to a new, and better habit. Such as cutting down on coffee or alcohol. Aside from saving money from buying coffee from your local café, you can gain some health benefits from it too. Ditching smoking is another change that can significantly help your finances. Plus smoking kills so it is best to just eliminate the habit altogether. Prepare your own meals rather than eat out. Well eating at restaurants is a nice treat from time to time but frequenting fast food chains is not only health-risky, it can take up a big chunk of your entire budget. If you go to the gym, then it is about time to resort to cost-efficient means of working out. You can walk to your office or use the stairs, walk your dog, jog in your neighborhood. There are countless ways to exercise in an inexpensive yet effective way.