You can’t have everything in life, or so they say. If you want to have one thing, then you’re probably going to have to give up something in another area of your life. Take your savings account. Who wouldn’t love to have a healthy dose of cash just sitting there, ready to fund retirement, travel adventures, or whatever else? Alas, for that to happen, you’re going to have to live a frugal existence, one devoid of life’s luxuries, right? Well, perhaps not. Though it requires a little bit of effort, it’s more than possible to get money into your savings account without damaging your lifestyle, or at least not to the extent that you’ll notice too much. Here’s how you do it.
Figure Out What You Need
People often think they’re using up all the cash they’re spending in the right way, but once you get down to it, most people’s money habits are pretty poor. That’s because people tend to spend money without really thinking. By putting in a little bit of thought, it’s easy to cut your overall spending by 15% or more. All you need to do is figure out what you need in your life to be fulfilled and happy, and what you don’t. You might be in the habit of having multiple after work beers on a Friday, but do you actually want them, or is just because it’s part of your weekly routine? Cutting that add would save a lot of money, and time, too.
Learn to Make Great Coffee
If you’re one of those people who can’t function without a coffee in the morning, and are in the habit of hitting the local coffee shop on the way to work, then we have some distressing news: you may be spending close to $1000 a year, just on coffee – and that’s if you’re just buying a regular cup; we’re not going to guess how much all those syrups and fancy ingredients are costing you. Now, we’re not going to tell you to give up coffee (that really might damage your lifestyle), but instead, suggest that you learn to make it for yourself. You don’t need Starbucks for your caffeine fix! Buy the tools you need to make a good coffee, good beans, and whatever syrups you like, and you’ll have Barista worthy roasts in no time. And all that extra cash? It’s going straight into the savings fund.
And A Great Lunch, Too
You might be hitting up the coffee shop in the morning, and the deli at lunchtime. If your annual intake of coffee is setting you back a pretty penny, then spare a thought what the damage your lunch is doing. You know your “go to” lunch of choice, so go ahead and calculate your daily spend. Then multiply it by five. And then take that number and multiply it by 50 (or however many weeks a year you work). That figure is how much you’re spending each year on lunch to go! Now, sure, lunch can be pretty tasty, but wouldn’t it be better to spend that money more wisely, like on making sure you have a comfortable retirement? An uninspiring sandwich that you made yourself probably won’t convince you to give up your daily treat, but what if you made an awesome lunch instead? Whip up a storm, take it to work in a container, and you’ll be able to walk straight past your previous lunch spot, knowing that you have something more delicious in your backpack.
Socializing With Friends
It is fun to spend a few hours at the local bar with friends. But, unfortunately, beer is not cheap, or even close to it. And even more damaging is the food people buy once they’re feeling a bit tipsy. So if you want to see a healthier bank balance and get money in your savings account, then it’s wise to stay out of the bars. But that doesn’t mean you have to wave goodbye to your friends, not at all! Instead, find new, more affordable way of spending time together. If you have a well put together yard, then you can host your friends on warm summer evenings. Perfect!
Hit the Store Daily
Be honest, be completely honest: how much food do you throw away each week? It must be a fair amount because the US as whole throws away somewhere in the region of $650 billion worth of food each year. And if we divided that amount by the number of people who live here, that would be a sizeable addition to your savings account. Instead of doing one big shop each week, consider buying as you go. If there’s a supermarket near to you, then there should be no problem just picking up what you need for the evening meal and the day ahead. You might not save a fortune, but it should be enough to make a small contribution to your savings account, and what will you have lost? Only some rotten food!
Change Your Transportation Habits
After our homes and food, the thing that we’re spending money on is transportation. We spend a pretty penny just getting from A to B! But is this really necessary? There’s nothing to say that driving is much better for us. If you have the option, then look at selling your motorcycle or car, and instead get around using public transport. If you live in a city, this will be more than achievable. In the process, you’ll get the money from selling your vehicle, plus save cash on gas and insurance. And when you’re not taking public transport, you’ll be walking, so you’ll be getting healthier, too. Nice!
Stop Paying Interest
If there’s one thing that does absolutely nothing for you, yet takes large amounts of your money each money, it’s interest. Most people have debt, but it’s not the debt itself that causes problems – it’s the interest they’re paying on the debt that’s the issue! If the time is right, look at getting a balance transfer to a 0% credit card. You’ll notice the positive effects on your bank balance straight away!
Get Creative With your Travels
Of all the luxuries that people really don’t want to give up, traveling has to be at the top. But here’s the thing: committing to saving money doesn’t mean you have to go without your travel experiences. But it might mean that you need to get a little bit creative about what you consider “traveling” to be. For instance, it does not have to mean four- or five-star hotels. It doesn’t have to mean taking taxis everywhere. Stay in hostels, or camp, and you’ll be able to continue seeing the world, without worrying about your bank balance.
Fix What Can Be Fixed
There’s a temptation to replace anything that is no longer in perfect condition, even when the issue is minor. This is especially the case with our tech and clothes. A t-shirt can get one small mark or scuff, and it’s in the bin, but why? With a little know-how, you could probably repair the t-shirt, and refashion it into something else that you’d use. It’s even worse with technology. If something has a noticeable problem, the first we do is look up the price of a replacement, but in reality, something like 75% of “broken” pieces of tech can be fixed. So bring them back to life, and put the money you were going to spend on a replacement into your savings account.
Rethink Your Date Night
Many of us are happy to live a relatively frugal existence, only for all our efforts to come undone when it comes to date night. Then, we splash out on eating a fancy restaurant, order the best bottle of wine, and so on. Suddenly, $100 has gone, and while it was enjoyable, things could have been cheaper. Next time, make an effort to have a cheap date night – there are plenty of options available. Then put the money you saved into a joint bank account; you won’t miss those fancy restaurants when you see how much money you’re saving.
Help with an App
If you don’t know where your money is going, use an app to keep track of things. You might discover you’re spending more on one area of your life than you realized, making it easier to pinpoint what to cut out.
Some of us are simply used to living a life of luxury. We buy expensive goods without even thinking about it! Next time you’re in a position where you might buy something that can be considered a luxury, ask yourself a simple question: “do I really want this?” Sometimes, taking a few seconds to think about is all it takes for you to come to your senses. You didn’t really want it in the first place, so you won’t miss it, and at the same time, you’ll be boosting the amount of cash you can put into your savings.