Featured Image: Wheretogetit
Article By: Melina Brum
In a corporate world that constantly tempts us to consume, it can be quite difficult to save your pennies. Corporations will catch you in your most vulnerable moments and brainwash you to believe you need to purchase something. Suffering from a broken heart? Buy this, this, and this to help you get back at your ex! Are you hungry? Perfect, here’s a commercial for that new delicious burger you can pick up in a quick drive-thru. Businesses will catch you anywhere, anytime… It’s up to you to be conscious of them. In order to successfully save money, you have to pay attention to what you actually need versus what you want. This can be difficult to decipher considering strong feelings of want can replicate need. Just like dieting, saving money requires some sort of strategic plan.
There’s no hiding that money can be a really stressful situation for a lot of people. If you’re reading this, you’re most likely trying to figure out how you can build that bank balance efficiently. To help you do so, follow the next 8 steps accordingly.
1. Make Lists of Things You Need
Like I said, desire can fool you into believing that what you want is what you need, which isn’t true in most cases. Although you should focus on what you need, I’m not saying you should cut out things you want! It’s okay to splurge every once in a while, but make sure you get what you’re planning on buying and stop there. Whether you’re off to the grocery store or designer mall, making a list of what you specifically need to buy can help you successfully save some money. Make sure you stick to the list or else it is useless. There are lots of apps that can help you keep track with quick, easy access to your reminders.
2. Make Gifts Instead of Buying Them
Usually, when someone’s birthday is around the corner you stress out and think about what you need to buy them. Gifts don’t always have to be materialistic and most of the time they mean more when they are handmade. Splurging on something that someone might hardly use is doing no one any favors. If you usually spend for your loved ones’ birthdays, try saving and making. Be creative! For example, handmade cards rather than overpriced Hallmark ones, or put together a gift basket instead of buying an expensive pre-made one. If you’d still rather buy your gifts, try buying them in advance and at prime times (for example, right after Christmas).
3. Have a Girl’s Night IN
I know it’s tempting to go out—which I definitely encourage—but sometimes you can benefit from staying in. Try changing your next girls’ night out to a girls’ night in and see how much fun you can have without spending too much on food and drinks. It’s refreshing to connect every once in a while, by just staying in, talking, laughing, and watching a good movie. All you need is good company and perhaps a bottle of wine.
4. Have a Budget
Maintaining a set budget is key when trying to save some dollars. If you tend to live beyond your means, nothing good will come out of that. It’s important to remain conscious of your bank account and set a weekly budget for yourself. It might help to create a savings account that you contribute to monthly if you don’t have one already. Transfer a set amount every month and leave the rest for you to spend appropriately throughout the month. It’s important to save for something rather than to just save on spending. Start somewhere, even saving 1% of your income is better than nothing.
5. Visit a Thrift Shop
As mentioned earlier, you can follow these tips and tricks accordingly. Maybe thrifting isn’t your style, and that’s okay. If you’ve never given it a chance, you should expand your horizons and give it a try. You can find super cool items at thrift stores, plus it’s very affordable. Sometimes you can even score vintage designer pieces for incredible deals. With a little time and dedication, you can save a lot of money by switching over to second-hand apparel—or even just incorporating it in your life.
6. Meal Prep
Meal prepping is one of the most efficient ways to save money on food consumption. If you prepare your meals at the beginning of the week, you are less likely to spend money on fast food. Make the effort to have a sustainable breakfast and pack your lunch every day. If you go out for dinner often, try to stay in and stick to those prepped homemade meals. Even with coffee, try to get in the habit of making it at home instead of grabbing it on the go. Not to mention this step is beneficial for your health as well! Just remember to stick to that grocery list (reference to tip #1).
Carpooling is one of my favorite ways to save some money, as long as it’s split fairly amongst your pals. Saving money by sharing fuel expenses can really add up over the course of a year. Also, the more you use your car, the more car repairs you might need. Parking fees can also play a huge factor in daily car usage. This is why the rotation of rides can be really favorable in terms of saving. In addition, carpooling is not only helpful for your wallet, but also for the environment… Saving money and the environment, now that’s ideal.
8. Record Your Purchases
Monitoring your spending by physically logging your purchases can make your spending seem more real. Meaning, if you can see how much you’re spending a day, the depletion of money can be visualized better. Remember to get a receipt for your purchases to help you stay on track. If you can clearly see where your money is going, this will help you budget and cut unnecessary purchases out.