Four Easy Money Saving Habits
If you’re like me, at the end of the week you look at your wallet and think “where did all my money go?”
Somehow it just manages to disappear… or at least it feels that way.You may have bought a bottle of water on Tuesday when you were going to yoga. You made a few trips to the grocery store last week and a few more to the ATM.
All these things add up. Before you know it, what you thought was going to be a relatively spend-free week actually ended up costing you quite a bit. Weeks like this happen again and again and you’ve just created that ugly endless cycle of overspending.
I’ve learned two things in the year that I spent renovating my money habits:
- It’s a daily effort
- You have to have a game plan
Remember the movie Groundhog Day where the actor finds himself reliving the same day over and over again? Some aspects of budgeting are like that and embracing routine does wonders to being success with saving money. Small changes, go a long way.
Every week, there are a few things I do over and over again and despite the fact that it could be a challenge sometimes, I’m motivated by the nice big savings at the end of that week. Here’s are four habits that have helped fatten up my savings account.
1) Make a grocery list
In my frivolous days, I’d walk aimlessly through the supermarket and try to remember what I need. I’d end up with way too much stuff, which I would eventually feed the garbage can. I was pretty much throwing away cash. These days, I make a list of what I’ll need for the week and stick to that list.
I’m not great with paper. I lose things all the time, so I just make a list on my smartphone. That way it’s with me at all times and when I remember something throughout the week, I add it to the list. These days, I’m so organized that I make it out of the grocery store in less than 20 minutes.
2) Take out cash for the entire week
I rarely use my debt card for every day purchases. When you don’t actually feel and see the money you’re spending, it’s hard to put it into perspective, which translates into over spending. Every Monday, I take out cash that will last me the entire week and once I’ve gone through that amount, I don’t allow myself to take out any more. In the beginning, I’d often run out by Thursday, but I’ve learned how to make it stretch these days. Not only am I saving more, but the amount of money I’ve saved in bank and ATM fees is amazing.
3) Take your lunch to work
I make sure to cook a lot at once for two reasons – first, I hate cooking so if I can get it over with once, I’m happy with that. Secondly, I’ll have enough left overs to take lunch to work. It amazed me to see how much money I was saving just my bagging lunch. I could easily save$200 a month.
4) Have one day a week where you spend nothing
I’ve heard of people doing creative things to have a ‘no spending day’. Mine was wrapping a good old-fashioned rubber band around my wallet. Not cute, but every time I reached for my wallet and saw that rubber band, I was a reminder that I couldn’t spend anything that day. It totally works.
It was hard to change my spending habits and my attitude towards money. Now that my frivolous days are behind me, I realized that the small changes I made with my personal finance habits were incredibly helpful. I knew that I had to make changes that were realistic and sustainable and these habits are definitely things I’ve been able to maintain.