We all want to save money and it seems like the internet has an endless supply of ideas for doing so. I found that it really just depends on the type of person you are and how motivated you truly are to save money. What might be easy for somebody, might not be easy for another person! We’re all different (duh). So these are just my personal tips on how I save money.
I’m still trying to figure out what works best for me and some weeks are easier than others, but with having the right mindset and staying consistent, you can definitely hack your brain to save more money.
1. Stop. Buying. Coffee.
This used to be super hard for me, since I love drinking coffee during the work week. I have to wake up early and drinking coffee is such a therapeutic moment for me to get in the zone, wake my sleepy butt up, and get me in the mood for work! What I do now is dedicate one “treat yo self” day and drink fancy coffee only once a week. Usually it’s Monday or Wednesday. Knowing that I will eventually have a yummy latte or cappuccino eases my brain and makes me look forward to those days. If I really need another energy boost throughout the day, then I drink tea or a cup of hot water with lemon.
2. Ask yourself if you really need it
Ryan and I used to love shopping sprees! We would go all out in Target and buy a bunch of stuff like fluffy socks, new video games, and the latest books. These little day to day purchases add up in the long run. We try to live more minimally and only consume if it’s something that we reaaaalllyyy need (like food lol). When you have that mindset, then you can reason with yourself and realize that you probably have the same thing at home in a different color, you haven’t finished that video game you still have sitting at home, or you never finished the book you got for free as a gift. If you want to buy something nice (like we are trying to buy a drone for example), then save up! Give yourself months to really plan, do research, and see if it’s something that will add value to your life. If not, then it will just end up taking space in your house and be another regrettable purchase. Most purchases are in the moment serotonin highs that make you feel happy for a mere second. If you really want something then chances are if you sleep on it or give yourself a couple of days to process the purchase, it will make you realize if the item is something that will truly add value to your life.
3. Do spending freezes
When you get in the right mindset and convince yourself that you don’t have money, then it will force your habits to change. Set yourself up for the week to prepare. On Sunday go grocery shopping, fill up your gas tank, train card, etc. Once you’ve done that, then you can go on through your daily week and force yourself to not spend any money. Pretend you only have $10 for an emergency situation. The next week you'll have more room to play with money and feel like you actually saved up a bit.
4. Limit friend hangouts
I know this one stinks, but if you really do need to save money and are struggling, then it’s time that you looked at where your money is going. The getting excessively drunk with your besties, “fuck it” money, and “the omg our waiter was so nice let’s tip them extra” nights. Limit your hangouts to a one a week thing and then create a budget with how much you can spend that night. This is when pre gaming is the best thing to do, because you can be nice and toasty before entering the club. What I do is pick Friday night and have a $30 budget including food/transportation. Or if your friends are also struggling on saving money, have days in. Watch something online for free, play a board game you already have laying around, and be creative! Those nights are usually the best nights and perfect for bonding.
5. Look at your money
I’m really bad at creating budgets and I have still struggled to find the perfect method to keep track of my expenses. What has really stumped me, are how budgets are so limiting. Every month, I’ll spend different money going to different things. One month I may spend $75, the next only $25 on gas. It depends on where I’m going and what’s happening! But I wouldn’t know these things if I wasn’t constantly checking my account. Making a mental note to not spend anything until my next check comes. You may not need a monthly or weekly budget to save, but as long as you check your account daily or every other day, then you’ll be more aware of where all your money is going. It may be daunting, but the worse thing you can do is ignore your bank account.
6. Make dinner at home
I used to eat fast food like there was no tomorrow! I thought it was cheaper than cooking, but one day I did the math and realized I was spending way too much on eating out. Cooking your own food is healthier, better for the environment, and WAY cheaper. If you buy in bulk, then it’s even better! You are getting more bang for your buck and not eating something that has been processed in a can. Which is also proven to give you wrinkles and not be healthier than making it from scratch. What we like to do is bulk make rice, beans, or seasoned “meat” and refrigerate it. Then throughout a long work day, all we have to do is heat that up, cut some veggies, and have you have an easy, healthy dinner.
At Ryan’s old job he used to eat at a different food truck everyday, which averaged $75 a week just on lunch. That’s almost $250 a month just on one meal.. or he could’ve saved that to buy a plane ticket somewhere. Have fun with cooking! Make yourself extra food on meals you really enjoy eating and take the leftovers with you to work the next day.
7. Remember the why
It all starts with having the right mindset and motivation. Before you start saving money, ask yourself why do you need to save money. Are you buying a new car, saving up for college, traveling? Once you find out why, find ways to remind yourself every day about it. By printing out pictures of what it looks like on your wall, making an image of the car on your screensaver, or brining it up to yourself in the morning as a reminder. If it's part of your daily life and you remember that goal, then you create a constant reminder and make everyday a little closer to your money saving dreams.
For us it was saving up to move to Australia. I can't tell you how many nights we ate simple rice and beans for dinner, but it was so worth it. Now we have quite a bit of money saved up so we are able to enjoy our time living in this country.