I personally believe that it’s not about how much you make, but what you do with it that counts. Yes, it can be difficult to save at times, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a priority. I’ve compiled a list of the top saving habits of some of my friends (myself included), and I hope they can be beneficial to you.
Prioritize your money! Save before, and not after spending. A good way to do this is through salary deductions or automatic transfers on scheduled dates. We can find endless excuses for why we cannot save. So, take out your savings first, pay your bills, and make do with what’s left.
Track your spending habits! A lot of my friends found that tracking their money habits makes their lives a lot easier and more manageable. I personally use an excel spreadsheet to track my habits. You can create your own spreadsheet or download a free budgeting app to track your money habits. Create targets for yourself whether weekly, monthly, or yearly, and track your progress.
Cut down on expenses! Find ways to cut down on your expenses; and here are some tips to do just that:
You can opt to take lunch to work at least 3 times per week. The average person spends 200+ days at work in a year. If you buy lunch at an average cost of $10 per day, that’s $2,000+ in one year. You can cut that down by taking lunch from home. Meal prep might take some time, but it’s worth it in the end.
A good practice is to manage your entertainment expenses within a reasonable budget. When you budget, make sure entertainment is allocated for and try not to exceed that amount.
Cut down on unnecessary spending! Use a 3-day rule to cut down on impulse spending. This is one habit I use because I am the queen of impulse buying. If I see something that I want, I wait 3 days before buying. If after the 3 days I still want the product, then I purchase it. I found that most times I completely forgot about the item, so I probably didn’t really need it.
Put your savings out of reach!
Put your savings in an account that is difficult to withdraw from. Try not to use one account for both savings and daily transactions. Open an account that doesn’t have an ATM card or that has penalties for frequent withdrawals. Doing this can discourage you from tapping into your savings.
Use available saving avenues at work!
If your job offers a pension plan, try contributing the maximum amount that they are willing to match. For some companies, the maximum is 10% of your salary. This is pretty much free money once you meet the vesting requirements of the plan, and it can go a long way for retirement savings.
Use debt to your advantage!
If you take out a loan, look for one with a saving mechanism attached. Some banks offer loans that have saving plans included with attractive interest rates. At the end of the life of the loan, you receive the savings that would have accumulated.
Use a piggy bank!
Save loose change in a piggy bank. This is something you probably did as a child, but it can still be beneficial in adulthood. Pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters add up. I’ve never been able to keep up with this habit, but some of my friends have. At the end of each year, they are able to save roughly $200 in coins alone.
Make it a fun group activity! Create saving challenges with friends, with an incentive at the end. This can be a fun way to hit your saving targets. There are many saving challenges online that you and your friends can use.
Shop using discounts, coupons, and sales! Plan your online shopping around holidays for the best sales, and if shopping online, find coupons and deals to help you save a few extra dollars. The website that I search for the latest coupons is retailmenot.com.
Make a grocery list! If you go grocery shopping, make a list before you head to the store. Whenever I shop without a list, I always spend more than I need to because I suddenly find things that I want. Unfortunately, most times these things end up in the trash. Making a grocery list has helped me cut down on both money and food wastage.
Surround yourself with like-minded people! This last tip is of utmost importance. To an extent, who you choose to surround yourself with can affect the way you spend your money. Affiliate yourself with friends/colleagues who have similar saving habits and goals. If you need to fine-tune your saving habits, maybe a few of these tips can help.