10 Ways To Spend Less And Save More
Making ends meet can be hard enough as it is, especially in this difficult economy. Spending less and saving more can seem like an impossible feat, but with these 10 simple tips, you’ll learn how to spend less and save more, even if you have a tight budget and no extra cash lying around. You’ll be amazed at the amount of money you can save by following just a few of these suggestions—and how much easier it will make your life!
1) Save up for big purchases
Think of saving up for big purchases as a budgeting tool that allows you to stay on track. The amount you save is less important than making it a part of your regular routine, so set a goal that works for you and make sure to put some money away each month. Make your savings automatic by transferring cash from your checking account into an online savings account every time you get paid. You’ll never see it or miss it, but over time it can grow into quite a bit of extra spending money.
2) Choose cheap alternatives
It’s easy to fall into a routine of going to your favorite coffee shop every morning, but it also costs money. If you’re trying to cut back on costs, consider making your own coffee at home or choosing a cheaper alternative like McDonald’s McCafe. For less than $1, you can get a cup of coffee and use one of their free refills throughout the day—saving you more than 50 cents per cup! By choosing cheaper alternatives in certain categories, like food and transportation, you can quickly save hundreds per month without making sacrifices in quality.
3) Buy used items
First and foremost, stick to a budget when you shop. When you’re stuck on cash, it can be difficult to resist splurging on new purchases. But if you buy used items instead of new ones, you can save money without sacrificing quality. Check out garage sales and thrift stores for gently used items at a fraction of their original price tag. Donate unwanted items that still have value to charity—you’ll even get a tax deduction for your generosity! If all else fails, there are plenty of cheap, easy ways to furnish your home from scratch .
4) Develop a spending strategy
Developing a spending strategy can help you to spend less and save more. A spending strategy is different from a budget in that it doesn’t dictate how much you should spend on particular things; rather, it provides guidance about where your money should go, regardless of how much you have left at any given time. The key thing here is knowing where to focus your efforts. For example, if saving for retirement is a big priority for you, put more money into retirement savings vehicles like 401(k)s or IRAs while cutting back on discretionary expenses such as eating out and clothing purchases. Also keep an eye on interest rates: What might be an attractive place to invest some cash today may not look so appealing if interest rates rise considerably over time.
5) Go shopping with a plan
Don’t browse. Don’t aimlessly wander through aisles and racks. When you shop, be purposeful, direct and focused on what you need to buy. Rather than letting yourself get distracted by various bargains and sales, have an idea of what you want before you step foot into a store. When it comes to buying clothes, for example, make a list of items that work for your needs (professional? casual? active?) and be sure to check out online reviews if there are items that pique your interest. This way, you won’t waste money on clothes or shoes that may not fit well or wear well over time; after all, no one wants another ill-fitting pair of khakis in their closet taking up space.
6) Keep track of your expenses
Don’t spend money you don’t have. Know where your hard-earned cash is going, and monitor your expenses for any leaks in your budget. If a need arises that isn’t reflected in your monthly budget, take time to consider whether it should be added. For example, if you need to buy school supplies for children after purchasing new tires for your car, maybe you can get by without buying those supplies until next year. The best way to keep track of your expenses is with a good-old pen and paper. Make sure that every expense is documented so that there are no surprises when it comes time to write checks and balance them against bank accounts or credit card statements.
7) Learn the value of money
Money doesn’t magically appear in your bank account. Every dollar you earn or spend comes from somewhere, and it’s important to know where it all goes. You might be surprised to see how often you spend money on seemingly small things that add up quickly, or how much cash is floating around in your wallet. To spend less and save more, you need to understand where all of your money is going, so keep a budget and track every dollar that comes in and out of your life.
8) Use coupons wisely
One of my favorite money-saving tips is using coupons effectively. However, it’s important to recognize that not all coupons are created equal. For example, if you can get 10% off on a $25 purchase, you’re going to end up saving more by paying full price than by taking advantage of that coupon and bringing your total down to $22.50 (since only $2.50 will be discounted). The bottom line: If you’re looking for money-saving opportunities, use coupons whenever possible—but do so with caution in order to save as much as possible!
9) Do the math before buying expensive items or going out to eat
It’s easy to justify spending money on big-ticket items, like a new kitchen or car. Just think of all you could be saving in interest payments if you invested instead! If you’re still tempted to buy, sit down and add up how much it would cost to buy now versus buying later. Will those savings offset higher interest rates? Are there other factors that should be considered when calculating whether it makes sense to buy now or save for later? You might also want to consider whether your current spending habits are sustainable before making a large purchase. If not, your credit card bills will probably put you in an even deeper hole next month—which defeats your original purpose for spending more!
10) Give yourself an allowance and save it
One of the first lessons taught in personal finance is to give yourself an allowance and put that money away. When you’re younger, it’s a simple way to teach a child how to save up for that big purchase. When you’re older, it keeps you mindful of how much you spend on frivolous items (and hopefully makes you realize there are more efficient ways to spend your money). Either way, giving yourself an allowance is one of those personal finance mantras that has stuck with us for years. Try setting aside $100 each month and see what happens over time as you watch your savings grow. You might be surprised by just how fast it happens!