When it comes to balancing money, some people oversimplify it into a “more input equals more output” formula and end up blowing their hard-earned cash as soon as they get their hands on it.
Saving money can be hard, especially if you’re easily affected by the perils of temptation.
The trick is to fool your mind into thinking saving money is a routine, everyday experience, just like brushing your teeth or making breakfast.
Here are a few ways you can trick your brain and integrate money saving habits into your life seamlessly.
Piggy banks are hot right now. Get a jar (or an actual piggy bank if you desire) and keep it somewhere you visit often (computer room, office or living room) to constantly remind you to add your loose change to it when you walk by; you’ll be surprised how quickly this adds up.
If you’re using some kind of transparent container, you can mark little goals on the side (“new car/computer/hot tub”) to push yourself to contribute your coins without fail.
Prevent Expensive Disasters
You might have heard the saying “occasional maintenance beats a complete overhaul.” This goes for many things in your life. For example, brushing your teeth twice daily like dentists recommend is far cheaper than getting cavities filled.
Also, keeping your garbage disposal clean is far easier than replacing it. Make a list of things to clean and maintain every month and follow it.
Perhaps the most important example of this type of preventative maintenance applies to your car, because you could find yourself unable to get to work if you don’t take good care of it. Get your oil changed, check your fluids, and don’t be afraid to ask for free (or cheap) inspections from mechanics when things don’t seem right.
Make it a habit to maintain instead of repair and watch the savings roll in.
Set Aside Money in Advance
If you’re the kind of person who easily loses track of the money you spend, plan it out either when you are paid or at the beginning of each month.
Put your budget money in envelopes designated for specific expenses, and only take from that envelope when it’s time to cover that expense.
Take what’s leftover at the end of the month and put it into your savings.
Whenever you spend some money on an indulgence (or even a non-necessity), match that amount and put it in your savings account.
This way, you’re saving the same amount that you blew on spoiling yourself, which equals less guilt and a fuller bank account!
Buy in Bulk
Whenever you can, try to get your essential items in large quantities by buying online or in warehouse stores. This will not only save you money from the purchase itself, but also gas money from constantly making trips to the store.
It is understood that you should never go grocery shopping when you’re hungry, as your stomach has a much larger budget than your brain. However, even if you’re not drooling at the sight of everything in every isle, you can be tempted to purchase things you don’t need.
People who make shopping lists are far more likely to not get distracted and buy something that isn’t necessary.
While some money-saving techniques might seem expensive in the short term, they can really pay off in the end. Consider, for example, home insulation, which can run hundreds at installation but save many thousands throughout the life of the home.
Similarly, make sure you have up-to-date (and efficient) furnaces and air conditioners, as newer models naturally use fewer resources to operate. Always check the manufacturer’s information to see yearly energy estimates.