This is a guest post from Sarah of Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style. Thank you Sarah for your awesomeness!
Saving money and living more intentionally is a fantastic goal for the New Year, but what if you don’t know where to start? What if you’re stuck or in a rut? Getting started (or back on track) may be as easy as looking at your tried and true strategies and making a few simple changes. Here’s how to save more money than what you usually save…
How to Save More Money than What You Usually Save
Make a List of Financial Goals
Think about those things that you feel are priorities in the New Year. Maybe you want to start setting money aside for retirement or you want to save for a home improvement project. Each of those requires careful planning and intentional saving from each paycheck to meet your goals. Setting those goals early on in the year will give you a picture of the changes that you’ll need to make to achieve them.
Track your Spending Habits
Track how much you spend from each paycheck. Place your spending in different categories so that you can determine where your money goes each month. Tracking your expenses can help you to see those things that you may want to adjust so that more can be put towards meeting your goals. In anything you do, you want to track and adjust your plan, over and over again until you perfect it.
Look at Wants vs. Needs
There are some areas where we spend our money that are definitely needs: groceries, gas, housing, and utilities. There are others, however, that we’re led to believe are must-haves, such as cell phones, gym memberships, and cable television. While they are nice to have and certainly make life more convenient, looking at your wants and determining how to scale back, can help you to put more money toward your goals.
Consider How You Currently Use Your Wants
Does your family have the largest data plan for your cell phone service? Do you have numerous premium channels that you never seem to have time to watch? In determining which wants are worth your money, look at how you use those that you currently have. If you rarely use that gym membership, consider replacing it with walking or running outdoors. Even purchasing a gently used treadmill on Craigslist will pay for itself in just a few months that you’d spend on that gym membership. Downsizing on the wants that you don’t use will help your savings account to grow.
Take a Look at Your Take-out Habit
How frequently do you eat out, and how much do you spend per week on restaurant tabs? Do you buy coffee each day on your way to work? Small daily expenses can lead to a large sum by the end of the month. Consider replacing a meal or two per week with a home-cooked meal. Not only is it better for your health, but it’s also healthier for your savings plan!
Make Plans for Your Savings and Post Easy-to-See Reminders
Is one of your goals to take your family on a trip? Are you excited for that new kitchen renovation? Then post reminders around your home and at work about what the outcome of your hard work will be. It will help you keep your will power going when that friend suggests meeting for dinner or when you drive by the coffee stand. Focusing on your goals will help you to find success this year!
What are your best tips on how to save more money than what you usually save? I’d love to hear the tricks that you’ve found to be most valuable!
Sarah is a stay-at-home mom of two wonderful children. From homeless to well-off, this single debt-free mom is most known for her ability to live well on $18k/year. Sarah loves encouraging others that dreams do come true if they are willing to consistently work for it on her blog, Saving Money Never Goes Out of Style.
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