You guys, spending money can be easy… especially this time of year. But saving money is way more gratifying. Your retired self will surely thank you. So many people tend to spend close to what they make instead of saving and investing. While I’m not a financial expert in any, any capacity, I consider my husband and myself pretty good savers who are focused on sound investments for ourselves and our family.
Want to save more money? Try these tips:
1. Curb the cocktails: Stopping or minimizing the Starbucks and specialty coffee runs is an obvious, but are you a cocktail girl? Those $10-$15 glasses of wine or craft cocktails are adding up. We see such a dramatic difference in our bill when we minimize the cocktails or keep them at bay. Have a drink before you go out, or come home for a night cap. Or, better yet: host a girls night in (everyone bring a bottle of wine for a wine tasting!). Another thought: if you’re out to dinner with big drinkers, don’t feel embarrassed about not equally splitting the bill. You shouldn’t have to pay for their partying.
2. Keep a list: it’s so easy to put things in your cart at Target, at the grocery store or anywhere. Seriously, the struggle is real, and I’m often guilty. But, stop and really think if you need what you’re buying, or if you simply want it. Wants are fun, but if you don’t use it…
3. Return: Ok, ok, you couldn’t resist an impulse purchase. I get it. Do you love it and does it serve a purpose? If the answer is no, get it in your car (with the receipt) and return it. That’s wasted money. Too often I hear friends say they’re so lazy about returning. It doesn’t matter if it was “just $10” or hundreds, it all counts and it’s all money you could be saving or using elsewhere. Did you miss the store’s deadline to return? I often sell items on Poshmark, and Thredflip is supposed to be great, too.
4. Unsubscribe: I can’t even think about how many web sites or flash sale sites I go to as a result of getting a must open sale alert email. Imagine how much we’d save (time included!), if we didn’t get those. The temptation is major. Yes, there are certainly a few sites handy to keep around but unsubscribe from most and go to sites if you need something.
5. Keep cash on-hand. Things get real when you stop handing over the plastic and you start dolling over your hard-earned cash. If you have a real challenge with spending, give yourself an allowance and hold onto it in cash.
6. Put a percentage of your paycheck into savings before you even see it. People say this all the time, and it’s so true. If you don’t see it, you won’t miss it. We make a point of saving each month, of maxing our our IRA and 401Ks, and making smart investments. The idea of retirement doesn’t sound half bad.
7. Don’t fall into the comparison game. This is a big one. It’s so easy to fall victim, particularly in sadly such a material world (anyone else hear Madonna?!). Seriously though, someone will always have a nicer purse, car, home, watch, shoes, the list goes on, so decide what’s important to you. At the end of the day, those items don’t bring us happiness (though I do one or two pairs of shoes that bring instant joy to my face!). You don’t want to be 70 years old regretting the money game you played now.
So that’s it. There are dozens, hundreds more ways to save money. Cancel memberships you’re not using, contact your cable company to identify any promotions, I sometimes order lunch specials to have affordable take-out for dinner, only shop the sales, carpool, and don’t be afraid to ask about promotions, coupons or discounts (I always, always do, with a smile on my face!).