It’s Easier Than You Think: 7 Ways to Spend Your Money Wiser
It has been said that money makes the world go ‘round, and there really is a lot of truth to that statement. Unfortunately, while money is one of life’s necessary evils, it is something that many people find very difficult to hold onto. The rising cost of, well, everything, is making it more and more difficult to successfully put money away.
If there is a big ticket item that you want to purchase, you’d like to save up for a rainy day, or investing in your future in the form of retirement is something you’ve always hoped to do, life may be getting in your way, making it more difficult than you thought to cut back on your expenses and save.
Certainly, saving money may seem like a task that is simply unachievable, but with some dedication and effort, it can be done and is one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do. Here is a look at some simple money saving suggestions that you can start abiding by today!
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You’ve likely seen programs on television that show everyday people saving boatloads of money through the simple act of clipping coupons. Perhaps you’ve even tried it yourself! However, there is an art to the process and if done incorrectly, you may end up spending more than you’re saving.
Simply clipping coupons for anything won’t work. If your approach is to use coupons for anything and everything, just because they’re available, then it’s time to reconsider your method. Instead, take your time and peruse the newspapers and magazines for coupons that you’ll actually use. Then, stock up on those items. As you coupon more often, you will become more familiar with what works best for you and which items you can save most on.
Create a Budget
Instead of simply buying whatever you want when you want it, or need it, try budgeting your money. Without a budget, many people live paycheck to paycheck, which often results in debt.
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To make it easy to adjust to a budget, there are tons of handy apps out there that you can download right to your mobile device, allowing you to create and stay on a budget. MoneyBook and Mint are two fantastic budgeting apps.
Make a Shopping List
Have you ever gone to the grocery store without a plan, and just grabbed whatever looked good off the shelves? This probably resulted in needing to return later in the week, because you didn’t get everything you needed. Unfortunately, repeating this cycle results in a lot of money lost - all because of silly groceries!
A simple way to avoid this is by making a list before heading to the grocery store. Your list will serve as a guide for shopping and helps you avoid repeated trips. Before the start of a new week, sit down and plan your meals and base your list off of that. After that, the key is to stick to that list!
Brown Bag It
It may be tempting to buy your lunch at work or while you are out, but doing so on a regular basis costs you a pretty penny.
Instead of buying lunch out, make your own lunch at home and bring it with you. Creative containers make a homemade lunch seem more fun and keep you inspired each day. Not only will you save money, but you’ll eat healthier, too.
Check Expiration Dates
This little tip is something that so many people fail to do, resulting in a lot of extra money spent. When you are shopping for perishable items, always check the expiration dates. Things like milk, bread, eggs, and yogurt all expire relatively quickly. If you don’t check the dates, you could end up bringing home something that expires before you even use it.
A simple way around this is to pull perishable items from the back of the shelf and place them in plain site. The more you see something, the more likely you are to actually use it.
Turn off the Lights
Something as simple as turning off the lights ultimately saves you a great deal of money. Make an effort to do so whenever you leave a room, or when you aren’t home. Sure, it may take a few days to get into the habit of shutting off the lights, but you’ll thank yourself later upon receiving your utility bill.
Ditch the Car
As convenient as a car is, it is also a big source of sucking up your finances. From the monthly payments to the rising cost of gas and the potential necessity of paying for parking - it all adds up. Whenever possible, leave the car at home and instead, rely on mass transit, riding a bike or even walking. Another way to save when you do need to use your car, such as on the commute to work, is to carpool.
Turn Down the Heat
Winter strikes, temperatures drop, and thermostats slowly rise. However, there are ways to get around a high heating bill due to a need for a warm house. Try lowering your thermostat a few degrees lower than you normally would and throw on a sweater and thick socks. And isn’t winter the best time to cozy up under warm blankets?
Buy Generic Products
Name brand products are nice, but most times, it’s more likely that you are paying for the name, not the quality. When it comes to items like over-the-counter medications, soaps, and cleaning supplies, there really isn’t any difference between the generic and the name brand – except the price tag. Choose generic and you’ll save a bundle.
Now that Christmas is over, tight finances are a common problem and what better time to begin a habit of spending money wisely than in the New Year? Try putting these tips into practice and you could end up saving yourself a pretty penny. The best thing is that these money saving suggestions are so easy to do and don’t require a huge investment or change in your lifestyle. By saving now, you can plan for a more secure future.
Naomi Shaw is a freelance writer in Southern California. With a family of three, she is always on the lookout for ways to save money and finds that these tips have helped her immensely over the years.