6 Ways to Save More
Let’s face it we all think we should save more. At times when we think about how much money gets spent on things we don’t need, and look at the things we’ve collected, it’s not hard to see that money has too many easy ways of disappearing. It can be like trying to carry water in your hands. Especially if you don’t stay aware of it more often.
Now I’m not saying you should be money-obsessed and make it your all-consuming hobby to scrimp and save every dollar, but we all should take account of our spending once in a while no matter how painful and terrifying it can be. Last year my wife and I took stock of all of our restaurant bills at year-end. It was a sobering experience. After the grand total was established we both looked at each other with a simultaneous jaw drop. Money lost forever with nothing to show for it but a few extra pounds on our waistlines.
We all try to practice the “everything in moderation” rule but let’s face it life gets away from us in so many ways and in today’s consumeristic landscape EVERYONE is scientifically masterminding how to get us to willingly part with our hard-earned dollar. So here are a few light-weighted tips that might give you an edge or get you thinking about keeping a few more of those shiny dimes in your pocket longer. Remember, life is about having fun and getting where you want to go. So often we are the ones in our own way keeping us from our dream destinations longer than we should be.
30 Days Could Save You
When making or planning a purchase a good idea is to give yourself some time to think it thorough. 30 days seems to be the charm. If you are itching to buy something, take some time to cool off before you do. After 30 days of thinking you may decide that there are better ways or better things to spend that money on. Sure, if you still need what you were planning on purchasing you will be more confident with your purchase after waiting. 30 days could save you.
Follow Your List
Going to the grocery store or a place like Costco? Make a list, check it twice, and stick to it. The temptations of over-purchasing and cart-filling are what retailers bank on. We are bombarded with irresistible offers and temptations at every corner. NEVER go to the grocery store hungry! Once they have you there they want to keep you longer and get you to buy more and more. They lure you in with a sale on ground beef and seduce you to buy much more than you came for. Stick to your list and spend more time on it than you do in the grocery store. Follow Your List.
Drink More Water
Having lunch or dinner out? In moderation it’s great fun. But tell your server water will do. Most eating and dining establishments hedge their bets on alcohol and soft drink purchases. The average cup of coffee costs an eating establishment about a nickel a cup if it’s the good stuff and they may charge you up to 3-4 bucks for a cup of Joe. Wine and beer are also big players in their profit margins and your debt margin. Water will do in most cases and the savings can be significant. I used to visit Starbucks twice a day for an average bill of $7.50 per day – multiply that by five working days = $37.50 per week = $150.00 per month = $1800.00 per year! Terrifying isn’t it? Have coffee and tea at work or make it before you go and take it with you. Oh how I wish I had that $1800.00 to invest right now. Drink More Water.
Make it Harder
It’s midnight and you are on your iPad jamming all the things you need into your Amazon shopping cart. You are so excited about all the packages that will come to you this week. You can buy anything online and have it delivered in a day or two. You don’t even have to leave your bed to do it. All you need to do is push that yellow button that says checkout and all your dreams will come true. Oh, how I hate the convenience of technology and things like PayPal. They make impulse purchasing easier than breathing. Take all of your credit cards off of your shopping accounts. Avoid one click purchasing like the plague. If I would of have to get out of bed, turn on the light, go find my wallet, let the dog out, get my credit card, and key it in on checkout every time I would never purchase a thing. Make it harder to buy things and you will buy less for sure.
Avoid Shopping Malls
It’s rainy or it’s too hot outside – lets go to the mall and walk in circles until we find something to buy or get hungry and eat. Shopping has become a national recreational pastime. Retailers thrive on this culture and disguise malls as recreational destinations just to get you spending. If you go to the mall go with a list and stick to it. Don’t go because you are bored; shopping should not be a form of entertainment. I know you can buy things everywhere but better if you don’t turn it into a recreational sport. Avoid shopping malls.
Sounds obvious right? I guess it is, but we all are creatures of habit. We tend to do the same things over and over including shopping. If a retailer can get you to move to their store it is a big win for them because most people have a pattern of migration and movement they follow without thinking about it. There are three grocery stores within a block from each other, but we continue to go to the same one. We don’t read flyers to see what is on sale - it’s too complicated. We are most likely too busy shopping online.
Don’t drive twenty miles to save 10 cents on bread, but shopping around is a big plus. Planning meals for the week around what is on sale is also a great way to save. Watch what you buy online as well. Sometimes you pay much more than it’s worth for the convenience. Shipping charges are not so bad any more, but shipping returns are hefty – buying shoes and clothes online can cost more in return shipping fees if things don’t fit. Shop around.
So there you have it, six tips to get you thinking about saving more. Don’t even think of it as saving – think of it as not wasting or losing money. Saving sounds like dieting, its painful, not fun, slow, and too much work.
We all need to be smarter and more industrious with our money, why? Because the world is designed to find ways for us to part with it constantly. If you take a few minutes and do some basic math based on your spending habits you might be motivated to find a better way. Hopefully these tips will get you inspired to do so.