It’s not easy saving money. It’s even harder with all of the advertising & marketing ploys we are bombarded with every day, every hour, and every moment. Psychologically, those advertisements and ploys create the need in our minds, and suggest you to say “I need” or “I want” that item. If you can curb the “I want” part of your inside voice, that’s half the battle. Of course, after you pay all the bills, and find out, if you’re lucky, that you just might be able to order pizza on Friday night, that’s exactly when “I WANT” screams the loudest in your mind! We can’t help you fix that. What we can do is try to offer some quick tips to lock your “I want” voice in the financial skeleton closet for the weakest moments.
What we won’t do is fill your mind with widely impractical advice. You know the kind – where the writer tells you to shift your car into neutral at a red light, lick the spoon you dipped in the yogurt tub before you rinse it off, or cut large magnets into smaller magnets, so you don’t have to buy more to post pictures on your refrigerator. Really?! Just so we are all on the same refrigerator panel, cutting magnets into smaller magnets is not a significant way to save money. Below are some practical tips you can easily incorporate into your daily activities to help you save money, no matter how hard it seems.
- Set Goals. And after you set your financial goals, write them down and post them. Post them anywhere – your mirror, dresser, cubicle, or car. They will keep you focused on what really matters, especially when you see that sign offering that special sale on that pair of shoes you don’t really need. Also, check your bank for special savings goal-tracking offers. Some banks have savings programs that reward you with a gift or gift card just for meeting your savings goals. And remember, as you reach milestones toward your goals, it will give you the confidence to keep the momentum going – to keep on saving.
- Cut Coupons. No really, cut them out and use them! It’s not embarrassing, and you don’t lose any pride by using coupons. Most coupons go unused, believe it or not. You can find them in your local newspaper, online, and even at the grocery store. And, you get more of a return on your money these days by using coupons than the interest on a regular savings account.
- Shop at the Grocery Store or Discount Store – NOT the Convenient Store or Gas Station. The mark-up on items in those little stores are quite a bit over your regular average grocery or discount store. Save those moments when you’re out on the open road. In the mean time, pick-up your road pops at the local grocery story & grab one when you’re on the go.
- Cook & Eat at Home. Plain and simple, cooking & eating at home saves money. Dining out is a fun & easy temptation – no food preparation, no lost personal time, and no dishes! But you pay for it every time. But by cooking your own meals, you can save money, and make your food exactly how you like it. The added bonus is, in a lot of cases, is by cooking at home, you’ll be eating healthier. Just stay away from cooking with butter!
- Watch Your Savings Grow! Every time you save some money by using coupons, or eating at home, drop that savings into a jar. You’ll watch it grow so that it no longer fits in the jar, and then you can deposit it into a savings or money market account. Although interest rates are banks are low, you still have the pleasure of having your money by cutting a few small corners.
There you have it – some practical tips to save money and make your savings grow little by little over time. And, over time, your savings will grow exponentially. It’s not easy to save money in today’s economic environment, but its well worth the effort for your future. By focusing on these quick tips, you can resist the temptation of immediate gratification, and keep both your savings plan, and the car, in “drive” at the stoplight!