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5 Tips To Save More Money

5 Tips To Save More Money

Money is something we need to survive in this world. Having money doesn’t necessarily equate to being rich, but it can be a part of the journey. Due to these volatile economic times and rising inflation rates, the cost of living has skyrocketed and has made survival more difficult than ever before. We cannot sustain our lives while making minimum wage, so other avenues to making money must always be implanted in your mind. Regardless of the income you make, there are always ways to save if finances are managed wisely. Saving is a matter of making calculations, planning, and preparing.

1. Set Reasonable Limits

Impulse buying has plagued our spending habits for years. If you know you’re about to get paid, don’t spend the money before you receive it. Calculate the percentages of what needs to go towards living expenses and make sure everything is paid on time. Once you begin to get behind on payments, life can become difficult to navigate, and you can feel like you’re on a downward slope. Combat these problems by preventing them from happening with mindful spending.

We don’t need a lot to be happy in this life. The necessities are food, clothing, transportation costs (public transit, automobile maintenance, gas), and shelter. Once those things are paid for, everything else is a luxury that too many of us take for granted every day. And being able to have those luxuries is a blessing, but don’t use them as an excuse to splurge.

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Ask yourself this question before spending money on items you want but don’t need: will my future self be happy with this purchase that I’m about to make? If the initial answer is no, you are doing yourself a favor and decreasing stress levels and anxiety by refusing to put yourself in a turbulent situation. Have a purpose for every dollar you make. Stop falling into the trap of buying useless products due to propaganda and advertising. Show some constraint and your life will start changing.

2. Invest In Yourself

Whenever you get a check, a certain percentage of that check should be treated like it’s radioactive. This money shouldn’t be touched unless there are exigent circumstances that need to be ameliorated.

Deposit the money in a high-interest savings account, a TFSA (tax-free savings account), or invest it in an RESP (registered education savings plan) if you plan to attend an academic institution in the future — or if you might have children that will. Another good investment is an RSP (retirement savings plan), which ensures money is safely secured for your future. Both these options of an RESP and RSP are long-term investments. They enable stability and help you build a stronger financial portfolio.

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Having a social life is necessary to maintain your health and wellbeing. Common activities are going to various events, dining out, and seeing movies. All of these variables can leave a hole in your pocket if they’re frequented too much. Your friends will understand if you sit out on certain social functions. And if they don’t understand, then they aren’t your friends and you should extricate yourself from them immediately. Use this time that you would normally spend with your friends to educate yourself and discover new things. You may end up having a revelation that causes you to invest money and start making more of it.

The greatest ideas are created by the imagination in times of reflection and solitude. Be a little bit more selfish and really appreciate your alone time, because there will be moments in your life that it won’t be apparent. Taking out this time for yourself really allows you to evaluate your life and prevents you from spending money on products you don’t need.

Don’t forget that health is your biggest investment, so don’t cut back on spending that pertains to your health. You won’t be able to enjoy the beauty of life without maintaining good health, so be adamant and diligent when the expenditure pertains to your health. Cutting corners in spending will only hurt you in the long term. Short-term fixes tend to exacerbate the problems that were already present.

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3. Develop A Fiancial Plan

Having professional help is definitely a bonus, but you don’t necessarily need expert advice to manage your money effectively. Start by tracking your spending habits. Write down daily expenses and look back on what’s costing you the most money. If it isn’t health related, food, clothing, or shelter, then you are splurging on something that must be stopped. These habits can be very difficult to break, but you must remind yourself that saving money is more important than giving in to your foolish desires. Everyone makes mistakes when it comes to spending money, the key is to minimize those mistakes by setting objectives and being conscious.

Save your receipts so you can write down your spending patterns for each day of the week. Figure out what needs to be changed and what can remain. There are always methods to improve our spending habits.

4. Treat Yourself

You deserve to reward yourself after successfully launching a new financial plan. Either buy small items that add up to something large or one luxury item that you desire. Having a purpose for every dollar is important, but living life is a more satisfying alternative. Knowing your financial standpoint will allow you to track your spending on treating yourself, so you won’t be coaxed into going overboard.

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5. Smart Individuals Make Money Work For Them

Yes, you must have some type of occupation to accumulate an income. But that doesn’t mean you’re subjected to what you do for money. This is only the inception to expand your horizons to greater things. The reason why affluent people maintain their wealth is due to their meticulously crafted management.

They don’t spend nearly as much time trying to make money as the average person would do. They devote the majority of their time to figuring out, learning, and discovering how to manage their money better so it works for them. They are focused on ROI (return of investment) instead of fixating their minds on how much money they can make. It’s all about what you decide to put in that determines the value of the return you receive. It’s these little, minute details that separate the wealthy from the poor. They have designed a methodology that works for them instead of against. Time is money, but if the clock is working against you, then how you expect to turn a profit? Making money work for you is all about putting time on your side. Making more than you spend is the key to strategically saving.

Featured photo credit: VIKTOR HANACEK via picjumbo.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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