I was tired of calculating my spending at the end of the month and would go nuts when I couldn’t find where the money had gone! Let’s keep it real; nobody can list all the things they’ve spent on. You might have seen or read many money-saving hacks, but the ones I’m going to talk about here, are the money hacks that genuinely have worked for me.
This may sound very cliché, but this is the most straightforward money hack ever. You should always spend less than you earn. Most people don’t stick to this rule, but it’s very simple. For instance, you earn $1000 per week, and if you spend $1200, you won’t be able to save for your future, or maybe pay your bills, get complete grocery, or anything at all. It’s a bad way to live. But sadly, life is not as simple as defined. It’s very effortless to slip in a hole without knowing it. Sometimes an unexpected car bill can make you spend extra, or sometimes you can have an unexpected friend come stay with you!
However, you can always at least plan on saving and investing, and maybe in the more extended period of time, you can ask for a pay raise, or even pursue towards a higher paying job! Spending less is all about your mindset. Reducing your expenses is one of the few methods of saving more.
For people who have difficulties with credit card and online purchases expenses, the cash-only-approach has been a great help. With this approach, you can pay for everything with cash, which actually makes you think you’ve spent a lot more, and is also a more natural way to keep a track of your spendings.
When you have cash bills in your hand, you’ll be able to divide how much you need to spend on what. For instance, you can make a budget that says you’ll be spending $200 on groceries, $100 on outings, $50 for extra/miscellaneous expenses, etc. Keep the money decided for each category in different envelopes and spent the determined amount only!
Make sure to save from each envelope every month. Make a plan to spend 80% and save 20%.
Change Your Activities
Some people might disagree on this one, but to be honest, I’ve found this very helpful! I used to pay around $45 every month for my gym fee. But then my husband came out with the idea of doing exercise at home! We run around in the neighborhood, got a few weights (super cheap at Amazon, Walmart, and Target), and do a lot of squats, planks, lunges, pull-ups, crunches, etc.
We’ve started yoga twice a week, with simple YouTube routines.
Another thing that can be done is, you can buy multi-purpose machines. Okay, I know these don’t come cheap but trust me, they’re cheaper than every month’s gym fee (which we don’t even attend all 30 days). You can buy cardio machines, an exercise ball, or even multi-station home gym! These not only help you save money but also help you work out according to your flexibility.
Also, who knows you might even end up using your place as a mini gym for your neighborhood, leading to more savings!
Cook At Home
According to a survey, you can save up to $2000 a year on average. But only genuinely dedicated people manage home cook meals three times a day. It not only helps with saving money but also helps promote healthy living!
A simple technique that can be adopted is “Cook once, Eat Twice” you don’t have to cook many times a week, and you can always cook in abundance and serve the same thing more than once a month. You can always use freezer bags and store in the freezer.
Making a meal plan is also quite helpful. Planning your meal can help you save a ton! It also helps in not buying extra food that you don’t really need and helps you plan for making affordable meals.
Apart from the food, you can also save by removing the un-necessary drinks. Instead of buying crates of soda and bottles of juices, stick to drinking water! Again, it won’t only help in saving money, but also add to your healthy lifestyle.
Stick to Your Budget
If you do, or if you don’t have any debts, you need a budget anyway. Making a budget is more convenient than actually sticking to your budget. Many simple things that can help us keep on track. A few are:
- To keep your receipts and write them down at the end of each day. It gets easier to track and calculate.
- Whenever you have the urge to buy something, ask yourself, “Do I really need this?” This will help avoid compulsive buying.
- Stop shopping at pricey stores. If you want a t-shirt, go to the store that offers it for $10, instead of $40.
- Review your budget plans regularly! Keep your financial status in your mind always! It helps you remember your goals and cuts down the desires to spend.
- Use every last bit of everything you use. Make sure to finish every last bit on your plate and not throw it away.
- Do a good amount of research before you go and buy anything important or expensive.
- Always save. Take out 20% off of your salary before you make your budget and pay your bills.
Give-up Expensive Habits
Some of us do have some strong, yet expensive habits, which we don’t realize are consuming up more money that we can imagine. We all know cigarettes don’t come cheap, and they are a terrible habit to get rid of. According to a research, a smoker spends about $2,100 on cigarettes alone (considering a pack of cigarette is $5 each).
Drinking is also an inevitable habit. But if you make it a frequent practice, it will consume you and your liver quicker than you can imagine! An option is to stick to drinking only on weekends, and another thing that can be done is avoid going to the bar and buying and making your drinks at home!
These are a few things that sound easy but can make significant changes and help you save! Happy saving!
This is a guest post by Sarah Smith.
Sarah Smith has been a personal finance author for the last five years. She is also, an independent and very passionate finance and investment advisor. She regularly posts at PersonalIncome.org.”