Saving money. This is a big one I encounter with many clients. The good thing and bad thing about money is that it makes people emotional. Not having money, not being able to save money, or too many bills can often trigger negative emotions for people. On the other hand, the good news is when it comes to saving money, it becomes easier to do once you make it an emotional priority. Basically, changing your mindset on money! Want some more good news? Proper money habits and saving money is 80% habit and routine, and only 20% technical expertise! So let’s dig in on what you can actually do TODAY to get you on track for saving money.
1.) Zero Spend Days
I find many times people are literally unaware of what they spend on a daily basis. Those little purchases add up. For example, someone may spend small amounts throughout the day on things like a $5 latte on the way to work, $8 on lipgloss and another $10 on food on lunch break, and maybe $40 on going to a movie that night with their spouse. At the end of the day, that comes to a grand total of $53. If they spent that 5 days a week, that would be $265 per week, and $1,060 per month!
Let’s look at one more example; sticking with the purchases above, but saying you only go out one night per week, but spend the $23 per day on miscellaneous expenses seven days a week. That would come to $201 per week, or $804 per month! Imagine if you were even putting half of that away per month into a savings account. How would that change your life? Even if you only put $400 of that away per month, that would give you an additional savings of $4,800 per year!
So getting back to the title of this section: Zero Spend Days. This is a fantastic exercise to do so you can see immediate savings. Pick two days per week where you spend absolutely nothing. Zilch. If you were spending $23 on both those days, you would instantly have an extra $46 that week. After a month, you would have saved $184. Once you get into this habit it becomes easier to keep doing it.
2.) Check Account Status
Make it a daily habit to login to your checking account and see what your expenditures look like from the previous day. What did you perhaps spend frivolously on the day before? Do you need to spend less today than you planned? After looking at what you have spent, and what needs to stay in your account for bills, savings, etc.? Being aware of your spending makes it easier to stay in control of your finances, and therefore, easier to save money. As part of being aware of what you’re spending, I would also encourage you to track EVERY dollar you spend for 30 days. This is usually an eye opener for people!
3.) Coffee break
Okay, so this one may seem weird after we just discussed how quickly those $5 lattes add up. What I am referring to here is when you do have to go shopping for something like clothes. While this is hopefully not a daily occurrence for you, this trick can save you a ton of money. So it’s worth bringing up here today.
Sometimes when we go shopping, time can fly by and we don’t realize exactly how much we have already spent; particularly if we’re out shopping with a friend, and only half paying attention to what the register rang up to at the last store we hit. Give yourself a little over an hour to shop. Then go grab that $5 latte. While drinking the latte, check to see if you’ve overspent and need to go home 🙂 Or if you can do a little more shopping.
Spending the $5 on the latte will allow you to look at your receipts and see what you have already spent; opposed to looking at them in the car, and saying, “Oh my word, I didn’t realize I spent that much!” How many of you have had that happen?!
I hope you put these tricks to use. Seeing how easy it is to save once you make some minor changes in habits and routines is tremendously exciting once you do it! While you’re implementing these changes, think of things you’d like to have money for. Things you want to save for. The goal to save has to outweigh the urge for eating out, new clothing, or going to the movies.
A financial coach can help you with more ways to save as well. A coach is definitely something to consider if you have underlying issues with making and saving money. Maybe you’ve always had a hard time “making enough” money, or a problem with spending. Possibly, money is just something you find overwhelming, and can’t begin to confront. If you need more strategies on saving money, feel free to contact me for a consultation!