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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” —Aristotle
Let’s face it – we all want more money.
But all too often, we simply do not have a sensible grasp on how to hold on to the money we already have. In fact, we all too easily sabotage our own efforts to put money in our bank account.
This creates an incessant loop of money coming in and seemingly slipping between our fingers all too quickly.
We work hard for our cash. We have dreams and aspirations, and we know that our money will pave the way to more easily and readily acquire and achieve our goals.
This is why it is a noble no-brainer for anyone to want to save more of their money. By saving more money, you get to choose how to reallocate your saved money, instead of your money choosing for you.
By implementing a few conscious decisions and changes to our everyday habits, we can reverse this cycle of incessant spending and lack of consistent saving.
There are 10 indisputable methods that can transform one’s spending habits that will put them on the path to saving more of their hard-earned cash today.
1. First, Understand Your Habits
Saving money is a lot like getting healthier and losing weight. With clarity, commitment, and implementing a few indisputable practices, we are on a sure-fire way to become a leaner, healthier version of ourselves.
The same holds true for the state of our financial wealth.
With changing any habit, we must first truthfully know and understand our current habits.
From this place, we can clearly identify which ones serve us and which do not. In the book, The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business, Charles Duhigg walks us through the simple process of how habits are formed, so we may recognize how we can change them.
Habit loops are a three-part process: cue, behavior, reward. By understanding the cues in our lives that trigger unnecessary spending habits, we can reverse these practices.
With the same cue, we can instead choose a different habit (one that will instead replenish our bank account, rather than draining it), which can lead to a new reward: the sense of accomplishment that comes from saving more money.
It can be a bit confronting to become really honest with yourself about your current state of habits and spending patterns, but we guarantee this brutal honesty will be the first step towards transforming these habits into empowering practices instead.
2. Scratch Your Own Itch!
Coined by mega-house personal development guru, Tim Ferris, the premise is simple enough: identify what you crave, and thus what you spend your money on. Then, determine how you could satisfy these needs yourself!
Ask yourself: Beyond my everyday needs, what am I consistently spend my money on?
One of the most common examples of this is tied to one of the most widely consumed beverages on the planet: coffee. Yes, it feels nice to go somewhere and have someone make you a special mocha latte or that almond milk cappuccino.
And while we are not advocating for the removal of all the simple pleasures of life, we know one thing for certain: if you start making coffee at home instead of buying it out multiple times per week, you will save hundreds of dollars over the course of the year.
The same holds true for another notorious money-eating habit: eating out. While, yet again, this is not something we advise you to rule out entirely – for we all love a good meal out – we do advise some simple and necessary reevaluations of your spending habits.
If you find yourself in the category of the vast majority that eat out multiple times per week, even multiple times a day, then you can be certain it is time to reevaluate these spending choices and switch to ones that align with your priority of saving more of your hard-earned cash.
In this day and age, with the plethora of infinite tools and information at the touch of our fingers, we simply have no excuse to not learn something new.
In this case, that new skill can be the pleasurable and fulfilling art of cooking. You can easily learn a specific dish, fine-tune your current skills, or even learn how to cook an entire new type of cuisine through Skillshare or Udemy.
Better yet, why not make cooking a social gathering? By scheduling a weekly dinner creation night with friends, or a monthly potluck, you not only cut back your spending even more, but you get to add invaluable social time into the process.
3. Track Your Spending – Religiously
When your intentions are to lose weight, advice across the board consistently encourages: track what you eat.
Through the mere act of writing down every day, multiple times throughout the day, what you eat on a regular basis, you are more likely to recognize habitual eating patterns that are not aiding you in your health goals.
While the act is simple, it’s effective. You can no longer kid yourself about the extra calories you sneak in and mentally justify at the time.
The same holds true for spending.
Far too often we have an estimate of how much we tend to spend on average, yet the verdict is out – when you write down each and every transaction, you will clearly recognize how many more sneaky purchases you habitually make.
Even those small purchases add up.
While each of these have their various benefits and added components, we recommend trying a couple out to discover which one works for you.
After all, how effective is the best budgeting app in the world if you do not feel compelled to regularly use it?
The moral of the story here is: every time you pull out your wallet, make note of what you spend. We guarantee the daily totals will surprise you.
4. Create A Realistic Budget – and Factor in SAVING
We all know on some level that creating a budget is an indisputable practice when it comes to managing finances. But when it comes to creating a budget, how often do we include a section for how much we plan to save?
The more clear and intentional we are when it comes to our money spending habits, and how much we commit to saving each month, the more this practice becomes habitual and we begin saving more without needing to try so hard to do so.
Our favorite multi-faceted app that seamlessly gets the job done? Mint.
Mint is an all-in-one app that allows you to create budgets with numerous spending categories. It also connects to your bank and credit cards, so you can be alerted when you are exceeding your budget.
With Mint, you can easily meet your savings goals with some simple initial planning. Did we mention it’s free.
5. Buy in Bulk
This practice is a double winner: buying food and other commonly used household items in bulk saves you time and money. It is simple enough so we won’t spell it out too much here.
It’s simply a no-brainer: buying in bulk means less time at the store and a lower cost per item. The investment in a CostCo membership is worth it.
Or better yet, in this day-and-age of Amazon Prime, any larger quantity purchases can at your doorstep in less than 48 hours.
6. Meal Prep for the Week
With all that bulk produce and groceries you now have, meal prepping only makes sense.
It may feel like it is the hottest topic in the health and wellness world, and it very well could be – for good reason. It is hard to find a downside to meal prepping.
Overall, prepping your meals ahead of time is a phenomenal practice to put into place. It serves a few purposes: it will save you money that you would otherwise spend on your lunch break, multiple times a week.
It will enable you to cut back on unnecessary calories. Plus, it saves you your most precious resource: your time.
Sundays make for a great meal prepping day. This does not have to be a dreaded chore. In fact, it can easily grow into a nourishing and fun weekly ritual.
Not only can you carve out the time to get creative in the kitchen, but you will undoubtedly start the day on a positive note. If you live with a partner or housemates, we’re willing to bet your new positive lifestyle choices will quickly rub off on them.
Before you know it, it could be a meal prepping fiesta!
7. Invest in Higher Quality Products
While it is super tempting to buy the cheapest items online, or to always head to discount stores when you need something quick and inexpensive, these habits end up costing you much more overall.
Let’s take the convenience of fast food as an example. It is quick, convenient and inexpensive. The hidden costs? Far greater damage to your health in the long run. Your consumer practices are no different.
Whether you are purchasing a new pair of shoes, that advanced-function blender, or the insulated water bottle you have always wanted – the higher quality products will certainly cost more.
And while it doesn’t always feel good to shell out extra money up front, these investments always pay off in the long run.
With some deliberate practice in “zooming out” on one’s life – essentially, shifting one’s perspective to see the greater picture – it is easy to recognize that spending more upfront for undeniable quality and craftsmanship will only benefit you.
Plus, it benefits the environment as well. Now that’s a win-win we can get behind.
8. Cancel Unnecessary Monthly Subscriptions
Those sneaky little monthly subscription costs easily add up. Let’s say you have eight unnoticed monthly subscriptions for sites or apps you do not regularly use.
Even if they are small monthly subscription costs, you could easily be spending upwards of $80 a month on… nothing. That’s nearly $1000 you could place back in your pocket each year.
One thousand dollars! The verdict is out – take those couple of necessary minutes to cancel these unnecessary costs once and for all. Your savings account will thank you.
Now you simply have no excuse to continue paying unnecessary monthly bills for services you do not use. We suggest: put any of these apps to the test and watch the money come back in.
9. Get Creative with your Gift Giving
The gift giving department easily begins to tax our wallets. Between new engagements, birthday celebrations, holidays, graduations, and so forth, you could easily spend so much unnecessary money on cards and gifts for each subject of celebration.
Instead, gift giving can become a new and inspiring outlet for creativity.
Let’s face it, we all feel handmade cards and gifts are always the best and most sentimental exchanges anyways.
Make it an intention and a priority to craft your own unique offering for the one care about. Not only will the recipient appreciate it more, your budget will as well… yet again.
10. Take Pictures of Your Receipts
Scanning receipts is a practice that is not only easy and efficient, but it actually puts money back in your pocket. Some of our favorite apps out there include Ibotta, Checkout 51, Fetch Rewards and Receipt Hog.
They each differ slightly from each other, however the general premise remains the same: snap pictures of your receipts onto the apps consistently earn cash or rewards in exchange.
Our recommendation? Download each of them and let the savings build up. The sky’s the limit!
11. Map Out Your Financial Goals
You cannot arrive where you are heading if you do not have a plan to get there.
Clarity serves us in virtually every facet of our life. Let’s bring back the metaphor of losing weight: you are now committed to a newer, healthier version of you and to trimming down your waistline.
Then, you would take into account where you currently are, where you want to be, and the new habit choices you need to implement to get you to your desired goal.
So, even if you have realistically assessed where you are, and the practices you need to put into place to move towards a healthier version of yourself, how will you know if you reach your goals if they are not already clearly defined?
The same holds true for saving money. The more detailed and clear you are about where you aspire to be, the sooner and more easily it will become your reality.
When you have a clearly defined target in mind, you are much more likely to stick to your habit changes and more easily assess whether you are on track or not.
To synthesize some of our most crucial money-saving tips:
- Clarity is the name of the game
- Building new habits, along with breaking old ones, take time
- Consistency is key
- A little initial and upfront work and planning goes a long way
- Apply the same principles you would to losing weight
- Getting creative is oftentimes the best method to easily saving more money
There you have it. The timeless tools, tricks, and fool-proof practices that will undoubtedly put you back on the path of greater financial freedom.
Take on one at a time, slowly begin to incorporate the others, and before you know it, you will have mastered the list above and will have reclaimed your financial freedom.