Whether saving for a large purchase, setting money aside for emergencies, or planning your retirement, everyone makes sacrifices to save money. Some minor lifestyle changes can help you save money in ways you never imagined.
Record Your Spending
Keep a detailed journal of your spending for three months. Include every purchase, no matter how small or insignificant it seems.
Some banks and credit cards allow you to create categories for your purchases and even create charts and graphs to help you track your spending and savings. It’s easier to track your spending habits when you’re consistent across all your accounts. Create a list of categories inspired by your spending habits, then apply that list to all of your bank and credit card accounts.
After three months, study your expenses to find bad spending habits you might not even know you had.
Make A Budget
Once you know your spending habits you should budget your finances. Determine how much you have to spend on needs each month — inflexible expenses you cannot change nor live without, such as:
- Pet care
The remaining expenses are likely entertainment, miscellaneous and travel costs. To save money, change your lifestyle to eliminate bad spending habits.
What Can You Live Without?
Cancel subscriptions you don’t use. If you work too much to enjoy cable TV or streaming media, stop paying for those services. If you never have time to read the newspaper or magazines, cancel them.
Conversely, if you go out a lot, stay in and read, enjoy streaming content or watch TV instead.
You can save thousands of dollars every year by making your own coffee and meals. Cooking for yourself costs a fraction of what you pay to dine out.
Find a less expensive cellphone service.
You can do a lot of preventive maintenance yourself, which will save you on repairs. Major appliances — refrigerators, HVAC, washing machines — can be costly to repair or replace, yet require professional service. However, emergency situations could force you to endure long periods without air-conditioning, ruin refrigerated food, or flood your home.
Find a professional to regularly service and update your HVAC, as you should never do it yourself.
Live Below Your Means
Stop buying designer brands. Switching to generic brands or discount stores is really easy. Consult your doctor before switching to generic prescriptions, though, and contact your insurance company to find out what it covers.
If you change stores, be sure you aren’t spending more on gas getting there than you stand to save. Follow stores and brands online and sign-up for their newsletters so you always know what’s on sale and when.
These easy lifestyle changes can save you thousands of dollars every year, which can go directly into your savings. Once you’ve changed your lifestyle to save money, add a savings sub-category under the needs section in your budget and try to set aside 10 percent of your income every paycheck.