Advertising
Advertising

10 Money-Saving Tips That Most People Often Forget

10 Money-Saving Tips That Most People Often Forget

Growing up, many of us were instructed on the values of saving money and being responsible consumers. Even the best of us, however, tend to forget some of the best ways to exercise excellent frugality, and our bank accounts end up suffering for it.

Below are just a few money-saving tips to keep in mind before you head to the checkout counter. As you read, you may notice that you knew some of these tips already but just forgot about them.

1. Buy used items.

We remember to buy used items with some purchases, like cars and video games. But we usually forget to shop for used items when looking for clothes, electronics, or even furniture. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to perishable items, but utilizing websites such as Craigslist and social media platforms can lead to huge savings for you.

Advertising

One of my favorite past times is visiting thrift shops on weekends (even before the song came out) and gauging the prices. When I’m in need of something later on, I know (roughly) how much it’s going for at discount stores.

2. Wait a day before you make a purchase.

This is crucial for big purchases. Impulse buying is a major contribution to why our bank accounts aren’t where they should be, so If you really want to buy something, wait a day or longer and see how you feel then. Chances are that you’ll be less tempted to make the purchase, unless it is something you really need.

3. Buy in bulk.

The guideline for this is simple: if it’s something you know you’ll be using, like toiletries or food items, then save yourself some money by purchasing in bulk. Toilet paper, tissues, toothpaste, and other essential items are great for bulk because you’ll be saving money in the long run without buying things you’ll never use.

Advertising

4. Treat yourself once in a while.

The psychology of impulse buying and over-spending is quite complex and interesting, but a lot of it can be curbed by positive reinforcement. Rewarding yourself, sparingly, is a great method for maintaining control of your finances without going overboard. Set rules for yourself, but don’t be afraid to give yourself a break when appropriate.

5. Shop around.

This is a given for some people, but you may be the type of person who falls in love with the first option they see for a purchase. Exercise some financial discipline and visit other stores (or even online) to compare prices and features. You may find that what you were about to drop significant funds for can be found way cheaper, or better, somewhere else.

6. Use cash.

Credit cards, while gloriously convenient, can be exceptionally deceitful. We tend to use them flippantly, not considering the impact they’re really having on our personal finances. If you use cash, however, your subconscious is more likely to feel the pain from losing that money, resulting in a more conscious effort to curb your spending.

Advertising

For big purchases, you might find it worthwhile to use money orders for that same reason, and that will help establish a mentality of preparing your finances before making big decisions.

7. Borrow (or buy) from your friends.

Ask around! Friends are a great resource for borrowing essential items such as furniture, kitchen accessories, and more. You may also get a great deal if you buy from your friends, seeing as they’re motivated to help you while also getting a form of compensation, and they may even offer some items for free that they don’t need. Just remember to return the favor.

8. Cook instead of eating out.

We forget this when we opt out of planning our meals. Organize your week by determining when you’ll have time to prepare a meal and stick to it. You can then purchase your groceries for that meal and save a ton of money.

Advertising

If time isn’t on your side, try cooking a lot of food on a day with more free-time. You can use this food for dinners and lunches, as long as you freeze what you’ve cooked.

9. Watch Matinees.

Sure, we typically reserve theater visits for weekend dates, but you should also consider watching the matinee in order to save some money, especially if you watch movies every weekend. In some theaters, tickets can actually be up to $5 cheaper for the matinee. For families, that means you’re potentially saving $20 per visit just by watching the same movie a little earlier.

10. Unplug electronics when you’re not using them.

This is a great tip for saving money on your electric bill, especially during winter. Remember that certain electronics can take up a lot of energy, even when they’re turned off. While you’re sleeping and/or at work, make it a habit to unplug the nonessentials, which include kitchen appliances, televisions, and video game consoles. The money you’re saving over the course of just one year can be a staggering amount.

More by this author

Jon Negroni

An author and blogger who shares about lifestyle advice

How to Memorize More and Faster Than Other People 7 Ways To Deal With Negative People 24 Killer Websites that Make You Cleverer 15 Must-Have Apps For Your iPhone 20 Books That Are Guaranteed To Make You Cry

Trending in Money

1 How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them 2 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education 3 10 Recession-Proof Debt Consolidation Tips 4 The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever) 5 25 Easy Tips on How to Save Money Fast

Read Next

Advertising
Advertising
Advertising

Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

Advertising

4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

Advertising

Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

Advertising

5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

Advertising

3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next