Last month I discussed the topic of saving money on your school expenses. Now I would like to suggest that you think of every day as an opportunity to save money. Staunching the flow of money out of your pockets in your daily life you can really add up to some serious savings by the month’s end. And even more serious savings by the end of a year. Invest that money and just watch the pile grow larger year after year. All with a few simple changes in your life to save, well, some simple change each and every day.
It really requires nothing but a shift in your mindset. When you start to look around at every purchase you make (or decide not to make) with an eye to saving a few bucks you will be amazed at how many opportunities to do just that will arise.
Here are some key points to consider before making any purchase. It may seem obvious but first of all, do you really need it? A great deal of purchases are made for things that we don’t really need. Try to be more cognizant of this before parting with any of your hard earned bucks.
From the blatant impulse buy (snacks, drinks, etc.) to the fancy gadgets. Stop and think. Do I need this? Do I already own something else I can use for this purpose? Can I borrow it? Can I wait until it comes down in price? Buy it used?
If you decide that you really do need an item, do not buy it on impulse. Take some time to comparison shop, look for deals, bargain with the seller. If you take enough time you may even cool off and decide you don’t need it after all
And remember the old expression “Waste not, want not” (or am I dating myself here)? Another (more modern?) way of putting it is “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” These are excellent frugal words to live by. The less you waste your resources, the less you have to spend money replacing them. This applies to all aspects of life and everything you spend your money on, from food, to beauty products, to cleaning products, to clothes, to utilities (heat, electricity) and even to electronics, appliances, and cars. If you keep these expressions in the forefront of your mind it will help you to make wiser more frugal spending decisions in your everyday life.
Speaking of utilities like heat, electricity, and also phones, internet, and TV, and insurance, do not leave them on autopilot. Revisit what you are spending on these things every so often. Are you really using everything you are paying for? Do some comparison shopping. Perhaps it’s time to switch companies? Sometimes even the threat of such a thing will get your existing company to lower its rates.
Sometimes entertainment is a big budget drain. Keep in mind that there are a great many ways to be entertained for free. At home game nights, potluck suppers with friends, videos borrowed from the library, village festivals and events, picnics in the park, hikes, bike rides, free museums, and art exhibits, the list goes on and on. (And if all else fails you can always take one of my enlightening and fun courses or attend one of my Frugal Living meetings one night for a nominal fee) ;)😃😃
I would like to get up on my soapbox for just a moment with a little speech on the pleasure principle. Think about something that you really enjoy. Chocolate? Wine? A big juicy steak or lobster? Now imagine that you have unlimited access to said thing (since we’re imagining here, you might as well imagine that said thing will not do anything to your waistline or arteries). Now you can eat this thing as much as you want all day, every day. (I’m not sure what it says about me that all the items I chose were food). Anyway, what do you think that constant access to your beloved treat would do to your enjoyment of it? I would wager a guess that it would no longer hold the same joyous appeal after a while. So what I am saying is a little self-deprivation of the things that you love can actually enhance your enjoyment of them. Good for your pocketbook, your waistline and your pleasure sensors! A win-win-win all around!
And it goes without saying (or does it?) that you should always consider before you make a purchase whether this is a want or a need. Be honest. Many times what we call a need is actually a want.
And what I like to do is make a game out of it. Challenge yourself. How low can you go with your grocery shopping this week? Can you skip a week and creatively make use of what you have in your pantry already? How long can you stretch that product? Always use everything to the last drop. How long can you go without buying clothes? Without getting a haircut? Save every $5 bill you get for one month (one year?) Make mini goals for yourself. If you usually spend $100/week on groceries, try to keep it to $80 this week (then $60 …). Can you put away an extra $200/month ($50/week) to pay for a nice vacation next summer? (without having to put in on the credit card).
Once you get into the “mode” you will begin to discover many ways in your daily life that you can shave off a few dollars spent. And this success will spur you on to even greater savings. It’s a wonderful feeling to gain control of your spending and have your money work for you in a way it never has before. The joy of frugal living can be very addicting. And unlike other addictions this is a great one to have!