We all enjoy a good time every once in a while. There’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to a nice meal or buying that new outfit you’ve been eyeing. But when those little indulgences turn into habits, they can quickly become a problem. If you find yourself regularly overspending, it may be time to make a change. Don’t worry, you don’t have to suddenly become a complete tightwad. There are plenty of small tweaks you can make to the spending habits that will help you save money without making big changes to your lifestyle. Here are a few easy tips to get you started.
1. Rethink Your Commute
Whether you commute daily for your job, or just to run errands, transportation can be a huge expense. If you’re looking to save money, consider your alternatives. How you’ll do that heavily depends on the type of transportation you use. If you’re riding the train, the people from Split My Fare note that the easiest way to get cheap train tickets is by splitting your ticket. With the online platforms dedicated to helping you do just that, splitting tickets is a pretty easy solution. If, on the other hand, you predominantly drive, there are plenty of ways to save. Carpooling is a great way to save money on gas, and there are apps that make it easier than ever to find people to ride with. If you’re using other types of public transportation, like a bus, it’s more than likely that you can get monthly or weekly passes that will save you money in the long run. In other words – you don’t have to change the way you go about your commute, you just need to be smarter about it.
2. Use Online Shopping Hacks
Who here isn’t guilty of doing a little online shopping? It’s so easy to get lost in the world of internet retail therapy, but it can be a huge money waster if you’re not careful. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to hack your online shopping experience and save yourself some cash. For starters, always make sure you’re shopping on a site with a good return policy. If you’re not sure whether or not a site is reputable, do a quick Google search to see what other people have had to say about it. Also, be sure to take advantage of sale prices and coupon codes. There are tons of sites that offer up-to-date information on the latest sales and discounts, so there’s no need to waste your time checking multiple stores. And finally, never buy anything without first doing a price comparison. There are some great shopping apps out there that will help you find the best deal on whatever you’re looking for.
3. Meal Prep
A large part of your monthly income probably goes towards food. Of course, you have to eat, but when you buy groceries without a clear plan on how you’re going to use them, it can lead to a lot of excess food going to waste. In that sense, it’s no surprise that meal planning can be a great way to save money. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of the many online resources that offer tips and recipes for meal prepping on a budget. Meal prepping doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive – in fact, there are plenty of recipes that can be made for under $5. And if you’re short on time, there are plenty of quick and easy recipes that can be whipped up in no time.
4. Treat Yourself With Intent
As mentioned earlier – saving money doesn’t have to mean being really frugal. That said, while you should treat yourself from time to time, it’s important that you do it with intention. Instead of carelessly buying things you don’t need, take a step back and think about what would really make you happy. Maybe there’s a concert you’ve been dying to see or a new piece of art you’ve had your eye on. Whatever it is, treat yourself in a way that feels significant and satisfying. That way, you’ll be more likely to curb a shopping spree where you’d buy things that don’t really bring you happiness or offer any value.
5. Automate Your Savings
One of the best ways to save money is to automate your savings. That way, you’ll never even have the opportunity to spend it. There are plenty of ways to do this, but one of the simplest is to set up a direct deposit from your paycheck into a savings account. That way, you won’t even have to think about transferring money into your savings – it will happen automatically. Another option is to use a service that rounds up your credit or debit card purchases to the nearest dollar and transfers the difference into your savings account. For example, if you spend $3.50 on coffee, the service will transfer $0.50 into your savings account. Over time, these small amounts can really add up.
6. Be Mindful Of Your Spending Triggers
We all have our spending triggers – those moments when we’re more likely to make an impulse purchase. For some people, it’s when they’re feeling stressed, while for others it’s when they see a friend with something new. Whatever your triggers are, it’s important to be aware of them so that you can take steps to avoid them, or at least acknowledge them. When we recognize a trigger and accept that whatever it may be, it makes us want to spend money, we’re less likely to give in to the impulse. And if we do give in, we’re more likely to be mindful of our purchase and less likely to regret it later.
7. Divide Your Income
Besides automating your savings, it’s also a good idea to divide the rest of your income. Set separate budgets for your bills, rent, food, utilities, and finally – fun money. That way, you’ll always know exactly how much you have to spend in each category and you won’t have to worry about overspending. If you find that you’re consistently spending more than you have in your fun money budget, rethink your budget. Are you really spending more than you can reasonably afford, or are you just being too restrictive? If it’s the latter, adjust your budget accordingly. If it’s the former, try prioritizing the things you want to buy and do. There’s no reason to give up on something that brings you joy, but it may be more within your means to spread it out over a few months instead of trying to get everything all at once.
Saving money doesn’t have to be difficult – in fact, there are plenty of easy ways to do it. By fine-tuning your daily habits, automating your savings, being mindful of your spending triggers, and dividing your income into separate budgets, you can make saving a breeze. So what are you waiting for? Start saving today!