We all have financial goals in life. Some of us want to own our own home, while others dream of having the perfect custom sports car. However, unless you happen to be incredibly lucky, the chances are that you’re going to need to have a strategy in place if you ever want to achieve your targets.
Saving money is something that we all know that we need to do, but with so many bills to pay, it can be difficult to find cash that you can afford to put aside for the future too. The good news is that anyone can make progress towards their financial goals, just by changing a few simple financial habits. Here are a few tips to help you out.
1. Experiment with your “Favorite” Products
A lot of people buy the same products every month because they assume that they’re getting the best item for their needs. If you’ve used a specific type of shampoo for the last five years, then you might be tempted to continue using it forever. However, there may be another shampoo available for half the price that has all of the same ingredients.
Every time you go shopping, look for an opportunity to substitute one of your items for something much cheaper. It might mean trying a different brand of jelly or checking out a new deodorant. You’ll cut small amounts of cash out of your monthly bills this way, and you could even find products that you liked better than the original, more expensive options too.
2. Know When to Spend and When to Save
Often, transforming your financial situation means adjusting the way you think about money. Putting your mind into “saving mode” doesn’t mean that you have to never do anything fun, say “no” to all entertainment, or even buy the cheapest version of everything you need. Instead, you just have to think about what each expense means to you.
For instance, if you’re buying an extra table for your spare room, then you might not mind shopping in a thrift store for a slightly used product – as most people won’t get to see it anyway. On the other hand, shopping if you’re buying a new car, then you probably won’t want to buy the cheapest vehicle you can find – as it might not have the features that you need. Know when you need to spend extra with either via borrowing money or extra savings, and when you can afford to be extra frugal.
3. Look for Ways to Make Extra Cash
Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, it can seem as though you’ll simply never have enough money to pad out your savings account. If after some serious budgeting and thrifty shopping, you’re still struggling to make ends meet, then you might need to look into opportunities to make extra income. You could start by asking for extra hours at work or consider looking online for freelance jobs that work around your schedule.
If you don’t have the energy for a second job, consider making some extra money for your emergency budget by selling the items around your home that you no longer use. If you’ve got a spare bedroom, you could even think about taking on a lodger.
4. Prep for Work Each Day
One common area where people lose a lot of money each day, is on the cash they spend at work. When you go to the office, you might buy bottles of water from a vending machine, pay for fancy coffees at lunch, and spend a fortune on meals and snacks. However, you can take your daily spending down to zero by prepping better when you’re at home.
Invest in a high-quality water bottle and thermos so you can take your own drinks with you to work. Plan your meals in advance and prep them on the weekend so that they’re ready to take with you when you go to the office each day. You can even stock up on snacks to keep you from heading to the vending machine too.
5. Make the Most of Sales
Finally, sales can be both a blessing and a curse to people who are struggling to save money. On the one hand, a sale might tempt you to spend extra cash on things that you don’t really need – because you’re desperate to grab a bargain. On the other hand, if you know how to plan for upcoming sales, you can use them to save some serious cash.
When you know a big sale is about to happen at your favorite store, or a nationwide event like Black Friday is coming up, make a list of all the items that you most want to buy. List them in order of most important to least and decide how much you’re willing to spend in total. Once the sale goes live, you can search for the products you want, and avoid getting sidetracked by other deals.