Money makes the world go round...except when you don’t have it. If you’re sick of articles giving you unrealistic tips such as never drinking a latte again in your life, saying goodbye to your favorite Netflix show or even putting away half of your paycheck when you’re a broke millennial, you’ve come to the right place.
There are small ways to save money realistically that don’t involve you starving to death.
Though, what most people won’t tell you is that you won’t save a fortune unless you have a rich upbringing or invest in the stock market. However, these tips are useful for everyone, from students to young professionals because they don’t require massive effort and you can try them today:
Ways to save money that anyone can stick to
1. Keep track of your dollars/euros/whatever currency you use
Knowing where your every penny is going is one of the most common money saving tips and the first step to establishing a budget and controlling it. Start by identifying the fixed spendings (rent, phone, internet etc.) as well as the variable ones, such as lunch, coffee and other leisure activities. The second category is key because there are steps to be taken there.
First, you have to determine your priorities – what you can give up on occasionally to find new ways to save money. Occasionally is the key word, you don’t have to give up on the things you love indefinitely. For example, if you can compromise on your caffeine, you can set an objective to enjoy a latte on no more than 2 days a week and for the rest of the time, get your daily fix from the free office coffee machine or brew your own cup of joe at home. Or, you can cut down on going out with friends sometimes by inviting them over and fixing a meal yourself.
2. Put away as little as you can each month
You can only put away 5 dollars? Doesn’t matter, just do that. Don’t try to hit the magic 10% of your income mark, or 20% or even 50% if that will put your monthly budget at risk. The first step to saving money is building a habit for it and no sum is too little.
3. Set up automatic payments and savings
It’s a great way to deal with your fixed expenses such as rent and taxes, as well as a way of saving without thinking about it. You can either set up a fixed amount yourself that automatically goes into your account on a given day such as your pay day, or talk to your employer to automatically deduct that sum and transfer it into a savings or retirement fund.
4. Pack your lunch...but not everyday
I’m sure you enjoy your latte and donut as much as the next person, so you don’t have to quit on buying lunch everyday if that makes you happy or you want to treat yourself once in a while. There are still ways to save money that don’t involve you depriving yourself completely.
Try to use a 50/50 rule – pack your lunch for the first half of the week, buy it for the rest or even a 75/25 rule if you want to save more. This way, you won’t feel like you miss out on small pleasures that maybe make you feel better after the boss chewed you out in a meeting and you’ll still give your savings a boost.
5. Walk or bike sometimes instead of using a personal car or public transportation
If possible, one of the best money saving tips is walking or biking on your way to work or when running other errands. Transport is one of the monthly expenses we can control with a bit of effort - you don’t have to give up on your car altogether, maybe park farther away to save some gas and walk a little or only bike on certain days of the week when it’s possible and the weather’s good. Make a habit out of switching things up.
6. Set up achievable financial goals
Think of it as the adult equivalent of having a piggybank – whether it’s a vacation or a new laptop, having a goal will help you stay focused and motivated to save even as little as 5 dollars a month. Saving money is never easy on a tight budget but it helps to have tangible goals you can visualize.
7. Look for the best deals on phone, internet and television
We all love our entertainment, nothing wrong with that. However, a good chunk of our budget probably goes there. So, if you want to save, a good way to do that is by looking for good internet, phone and television deals or even giving up on some and replacing them with other alternatives, depending on your priorities.
For example, if you’re a freelancer, you might want to hold on to a good internet package. However, if you’re mostly on the run, do you really need television or can you switch that up for a cheaper Netflix account? Do you text or phone more? Talk to your phone company and find the deal that works for you and even say no to some features if they’re useless.
8. Make lists when shopping and allow yourself a fixed number of cheat products
Let’s face it – even if I were to tell you to stick to your grocery list, chances are you wouldn’t. We love instant gratification and buying stuff we most likely don’t need, no judging from this author. I get it. However, to keep regret away or your account balance from dropping all the way down to zero, one of the best money saving tips you can try is setting some limits for yourself, such as allowing yourself to only take 1 or 2 products that are NOT on your grocery list. You really want chocolate? Fine, but you’re not getting the chips, too. This personal limitation will help you enjoy little cheat products while also stopping reckless spending.
9. Sell your old stuff
Selling your old bike, clothes or even laptop can bring you extra income and you don’t have to do much aside from put up an ad. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure and you never know who could use some of the things you don’t anymore.
These are just a few ways to save money realistically that you can try today without becoming a cheap person or depriving yourself of the small joys of life. What are other tricks you use to save some extra cash?
I'm excited to hear your thoughts - help this author's piggybank, too, while you're at it.
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