We all know that we should be saving towards our goals of debt settlement, homeownership, smart investments and retirement, but sometimes you reach the end of the month and realise that there’s just nothing left to spare. If saving isn’t habitual it can feel like an uphill struggle to find enough to really make an impact. The good news is that there are a few easy tricks that can be used to cheat your way to savings each month. Read on and see which ones you can use in your daily routine.
Plan Your Meals
A huge source of wasted money is wasted or expensive food – so meal planning is really key to cracking your budget. Instead of takeaway food, which is ridiculously marked up, set aside time on a Sunday to batch-cook some simple, tasty recipes that can be portioned out for lunches during the week, When you grocery shop, make a list beforehand and stick to it solidly – that way you can plan to buy ingredients that will make more than one meal, like chilli and a Bolognese on the same week.
Make A Date
Too many people have their head in the sand when it comes to their finances, only checking their accounts once a month on payday. But you need to be reviewing your financial position on at least a weekly basis to really know what you are spending on – and where you can cut back. Set aside a half hour each week to check your spending and track your progress against your financial goals. This habit can really transform your thinking.
Create a Wishlist
If you have a tendency towards impulse purchases, set up a wishlist, either on Amazon or just on your phone. As the desire to buy something grips you, commit to writing it down and holding off until the end of the week. If you still want the item by then, consider waiting another week just to make really sure! You’ll be surprised by the amount of items that seemed like must-haves in the moment that lose their appeal. The ones that stay really do deserve to be there.
Go For Quality Over Quantity
It may seem slightly counter-intuitive to be paying more for something, but most deals we’re led to believe are ’bargains’ actually aren’t. When it comes to electronics and clothing you quite often get what you pay for, and layout out a little more can actually save money in the long term. With clothing, calculate a ‘cost-per-wear’ – if you only wear a cheap item once, it’s a lot more expensive than a dearer item you reach for all the time. Similarly, something that you purchase in a sale isn’t a good deal if it’s something you wouldn’t have bought anyway.
Don’t Buy Things Emotionally
Sometimes it’s not about the item so much as the way it makes us feel. So learn to recognise when you’re buying something just to cheer yourself up or are bored, stressed out or lonely. Take a moment before clicking add to basket to be sure that you’re coming from a good place. Bringing a little mindfulness to the spending process can go a long way.