If you’re anything like me, you’re incredibly tempted several times a day to spend money on something that you don’t really need. A diet coke from the vending machine, a coffee from Dunkin on the way to work, or that pack of gum by the checkout register. Whatever it is, you spend a few dollars on it – or maybe a few more than a few dollars. And then you forget about it.
This happens again and again and again throughout the month, and by the end of the month, you’re wondering where all the money went.
“How can we possibly be broke? How can we be making this much money and not saving anything?” According to CNN Money, 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck or worse – beyond their mean. So how can put some money aside for a rainy-day fund?
Try these simple ways to save on spending and start planning for your future one dollar at a time.
Only Carry Cash. Leave the credit cards at home and only leave the house with enough cash to buy what you’re shopping for. This eliminates the need for the impulse buy. You’re more likely to overspend if you charge purchases and it doesn’t directly affect your wallet at the time of purchase.
Ask for a discount. What’s the worst that can happen – they say no? You won’t get a deal unless you ask. But be reasonable – asking for a 50% discount probably isn’t going to happen, and it may turn off the salesperson from working with you. Try speaking with a supervisor as they typically have more power to discount inventory.
Be patient. Before each purchase, ask yourself how the item brings value to you. Don’t make any big purchases without waiting at least a full day to think about it. If you still want it 24 hours later, and the item has value, then it’s yours to buy.
Get a support system. Get your family and friends involved in your savings goal. By sharing your plan, your friends and family can be a support system and help you make any tough decisions. By being vocal about your savings goals, it keeps you accountable for your actions.
Shop around. Being an impulsive buyer pretty much guarantees that you aren’t getting the best deal. Do your homework first. Check out price comparison sites to find out which retailers have the best deals. And if you are lucky, you can find coupon codes to discount the price even more. RetailMeNot is one of our favorites.
Track your spending. It sounds simple, yet not everyone does it. One big reason that people lose track of their spending and feel like they’re out of control is that they have no single central place to really look at their spending and see where the money is going. You can alleviate that by tracking your spending with care, recording and categorizing every dollar that goes out of your life. Check out this blog for some great tips you can use.
Got a few tips of your own? Share them with us!