It’s a brand new year! After living through a pandemic and many people finding themselves without steady work, it highlighted the importance of having a nest egg. Saving money can be easier than you think. We get it—money is tight, so start with just one money-saving tip, and you just may find that you do have an extra $10 a week to stash away.
First, take a look at where you are already spending your money. Look at the past 90 days. Many times we spend money on things mindlessly. Did you really need that expensive coffee three times a week? Fancy drinks can add up quickly. $6 per drink at 3 x each week = $18. $18 x 4 weeks in a month = $72. $72 x 12 months = $864. Is fancy coffee really worth almost one-thousand dollars?
Next, do you have a budget or a worksheet? You can create a simple one for free using Google Sheets. If you want to save money, start with filling in your budget, then you know where your money is going.
Now, let’s get to the nitty-gritty. What are some tips to help you save money?
- Pack your lunch. Even if you are working from home, you may be ordering delivery. If you are working outside the home, bring your lunch. There are a number of gadgets available today to make life easier. This portable lunch warmer makes it easy to reheat leftovers. Dining at restaurants should be something you do once a month as a treat. Look for coupons, or nights when your local restaurants are running specials.
- Grocery shop with a list. Once you make a list, stick to it. Impulse-buys are an enemy of your wallet. All those extra splurge items you grab on the way to check out are like small leaks that can sink your financial ship. Try using a mobile app to keep your lists synchronized with other members of your household.
- Start using cloth napkins. An average roll of paper towel costs about $1.33 per roll for 117 sheets, making them about 1 cent per paper towel. That may not seem like a lot, but think about just how many your household may be using per day. Cloth napkins are a one-time upfront expense that reduces landfill waste and absorbs a lot more liquid than a napkin or paper towel.
- Be happy with what you have. We joke about needing retail therapy, but it can be an unhealthy habit that is covering up a deeper issue that needs to be addressed. Emotional spending can sabotage your budget quickly. Take a look at what triggers you to spend, and force yourself to think about the purchase for 48 hours before deciding if you really want or need it. If you are unable to control yourself, it may be time to seek out professional support.
- Enjoy no-spend weekends. With a little bit of creativity, you can cut back on entertainment costs without saying goodbye to your social life. Visit a farmer’s market, go on a picnic, visit the library, go camping, or go for a hike. Get outside and explore local destinations you may have been putting off. Your wallet will thank you!
- Cut the cable. Gasp! But really, how much do you watch television? There a number of streaming options available, and you may be surprised to find out that your local cable company has other options that can cut your cable bill in half. Here’s a side by side comparison of just a few streaming services that are offered today.
- Try the 365-Day Nickel Challenge. This money-saving idea started in 2014 proposing that if you follow this plan you could save over $3K in a year. Here are the details.
The best way to stay motivated throughout the year is to track your progress. Take control of your finances and build that savings account so you are prepared for the unexpected.
You can do it!
“Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship.”