All adults have financial goals they’d like to see realized at some point in their life. Saving money to go back to school — or for your kid’s education. Saving up to launch your own business. Buying/mortgaging a house. Perhaps just saving up for a car, boat, trip, computer, tablet, etc.
There are likely lots of things you want out of life and money, surprise, surprise, is one of the main factors holding you back from getting them.
Here are 3 everyday things you can start doing right away to start cutting down your budget and squirreling more nickels and dimes away for the future.
1. Plan all your meals for the week, including portion sizes.
If you start (or end) the week off by planning what you’re going to be eating for the next 5 – 7 days, the savings will be rolling in all week long. How so, you ask? Simple, you go to the grocery store, buy only what you’ll need for meals and snacks, and far less food will go to waste.
Then, when you make your meals, you’ll only make enough for everyone to get their bellies full and try to end up with zero leftovers if you can help it. Why again? Because, unless it’s Chinese takeout or pizza, most of you probably don’t eat all your leftovers, all or even most of the time.
I’m guilty of this too. I’ll make lots too much, save it, and many times will let that food go to waste. Not only is this morally wrong, it’s no different than flushing money down the toilet.
And no, takeout isn’t saving you anything either, even when you do eat everything on the plate/in the bag!
2. Stop telling yourself stories about why it’s okay to “treat yourself to this _____.”
Fill in the blank. I’m the very worst at this, especially with the pound or two of plastic that I carry with me at all times. There are a number of reasons one can come up with in order to justify a purchase. If it were once in a while, it wouldn’t be a big deal, but, there’s a big problem that comes along with this practice…
It becomes a never ending “reward” that actually keeps robbing you over and over. Those credit cards just keep steaming up week after week. Shopping and acquiring shiny new things is like a drug, literally. The euphoria one feels after purchasing something they want, versus need, offers the same chemical reaction in our brains that many prescription and illegal drugs do.
The trouble is, the fun from the new purchase will wear off pretty fast and you’ll still be left with less money and more stress about how you spent all that money in the first place. Then you’ll want to go out again to get that rush all over.
I’m really guilty of this myself. When I go Amazon-crazy, it can go on indefinitely if I don’t lock myself in a remote cabin with no Internet access! Ah, the thrill of filling that cart up — living with the anticipation for it to arrive 3 – 5 business days later — and then the pleasant conversation with my beautiful mail lady! Last, opening the package and realizing whatever I ordered is even cooler than I thought it would be; only for the feeling to wear off later in the day. All that angst is hard to resist.
3. Invest your savings instead of putting the money in the bank.
Or putting off starting to invest your money until you feel the time is right, etc. The truth is, your checking or savings account isn’t going to pay you very much interest. They’re rewards are structured so the bank can leverage your bank balance for their own betterment, not yours. The paltry interest rate, even those that offer higher interest if you maintain a set balance at all times, aren’t going to help you save a windfall of money anytime soon.
Use a financial calculator or financial app to figure out just how much money you’re throwing out the door by waiting until it feels like the right time to start putting it to work for you. If your company is willing to match your 401k or RRSP contributions, your literally bat-poop crazy not to be taking advantage!
What’s your best tip for saving money?
Leave a quick comment and let us know.
Main Image Credit: Tax Credits/Flickr