We all want to save money. Easier said than done, right? The trouble is often that we don’t know how to save money, or we cannot make the sacrifices in our lifestyle that are necessary in order to save.
I read a very simple piece of advice once that changed the way I thought about money. Before I read it I thought money could just appear, and that it just disappeared all by itself. Then I came to realize that if I wanted to save money, I just had to spend less than I earned. There had to be less coming in than there was going out. Seems too simple doesn’t it? But this is the key to saving money. All the rest of the advice to come will help you to put this advice into action.
Get a Piggybank
I know what you are thinking. You are not a child and you were looking for advice that had more density than “get a piggybank.” But it will actually help. There are very high-tech piggybanks available that offer the latest in ingenuity; for example one that cannot be opened without a tin opener, or one that counts your loose change as you put it in.
The adult version of a piggybank is a separate bank account that you use to save money. These accounts are usually restricted in access, making it more difficult to draw funds, and therefore easier to save money. It is possible to have a direct debit set up to move money across to the “piggybank” account when you get paid. With a bit of budgeting, and some mental arithmetic, it is possible to work out how much you can save whilst still living a comfortable life.
Direct Debits for Bills and Rent
It is very easy to have all rent, bills and mortgage payments, as well as debt repayments and any other predictable monthly outgoings, taken out via direct debit. This way they are paid out straight away and can be forgotten about. Another easy way to know how much can then be placed in the piggybank and how much is left for leisure.
Reduce Costs and Make Lifestyle Changes
Like I said at the beginning, the absolute key to saving money is to spend less than you earn. It is therefore necessary to reduce the cost of living. For many people this will inevitably involve sacrifices and changes to lifestyle. Work out what it is that is costing too much, and damaging your ability to save. Nobody is telling you to give up everything you enjoy in life, but to trim away anything that is “too much” so to speak, or anything that does not derive happiness, and is therefore unnecessary.
Some examples might include drinking, smoking, eating out at restaurants, or spending a lot of money shopping. Whatever it is it might be best to quit now. If not, remember it is a matter of balance. Going out for a meal always makes for an enjoyable evening, but done all of the time it may lose its magic, and more than anything damage your savings. Remember, spend less than you earn.
One lifestyle change that nearly everyone could benefit from making is in checking and changing eating habits. Buying food on a day-to-day basis, especially quick and easy processed food is not only unhealthy, but also much cheaper. Do a weekly shop, perhaps with a shopping list to keep you in check. Shop around, at markets, and small businesses to find good deals on fresh food. Planning, and cooking large meals over the course of the week, and eating fresh, is not only better for the body but is also good for the wallet.
Stop Buying Useless Stuff!
Many of us get our wages, indulge in a little spending, and wake up the next day wondering what happened, only to be greeted with Amazon packages for the next two weeks, whilst struggling with the cost of living. To save more money, an easy and obvious life change is to buy less stuff. Just buy what you need, and treat yourself every now and again, but be balanced and honest. If in doubt over a purchase, wait for a few days and see if it still tickles your fancy.
Buy Transport Tickets in Advance
Transport cost are one of those regular outgoings that somehow slips under the radar, and remains unaccounted for. I once got a train from London to Manchester on the day at a ripe old price of £120. The same journey, booked online in advance, costs only £25. This is an astronomical difference and one that seems to apply all over the world, for all types of transport. Book online, as far in advance as possible, and put that difference into the piggybank!
If you have worked at making reductions and lifestyle changes, and are still finding it difficult to save, increasing earnings may be the answer. It may be possible to get a part-time job, or work a little from home doing some writing, or offering a skill in a small business. Whatever it is, if you can handle taking on more, increasing earnings is a sure fire way to get the savings going. Think carefully about whether it is possible to earn extra income. If not, it is back to the drawing board to look at lifestyle change again.
DIY as much as possible. Make gifts and cards for birthdays and Christmas. The gesture is more meaningful anyway, and it will save a fortune. GO to the shop, buy a tin of white emulsion and a roller, and paint the bathroom yourself. Have a cleaner? (No me neither.) Clean the house yourself and save some money.
It is much easier to save if you have a goal in mind, a result of the culmination of all of the savings. Think about why you want to save, and keep that in mind. Holiday in Barbados at the end of the year? The thought of it might be enough o stop the urge to spend some money on some useless stuff again!
To save more money use a service like SwagBucks. You already spend money online so why not get rewarded for it? Here is a great guide on using Swagbucks.