You want to save money. Maybe you’re trying to optimize your finances just for fun or maybe you’re in a tough spot right now. If it’s the second, I’m sorry. Let’s get you through that.
Saving money gets easier and easier as you build up the right habits. One day, it’ll become second nature.
Let’s dive right into how.
1. Make a Saver’s Budget
A budget is a written plan for your money. You tell your money where to go and what to do each month.
A Saver’s Budget has one extra component: a review of last month. You need to know what you spent last month before you can figure out where to save. If you skip reviewing last month, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
You might think you should spend $100 per month on lunch. A review of last month will show you that you spent closer to $350 on your daily lunch out. That's a big difference. If you invested $250 per month from age 22 to age 65 in an index fund that averaged a 10% return each year, you'd have $1,777,202.
Download Saver Street’s Budget Template (link). Start by reviewing how much you spent last month, then fill in how much you think you should spend this month in each category.
2. Make Quick Changes
Once you see where you’re overspending (takeout, anyone?), you can make changes to your life that cut down on the extras.
As a Financial Coach, I often see people spending $500-$1000 every month on eating out. You might not spend that much, but it could still benefit you to eat home cooking more often. As a busy working mom, I rely on my slow cooker, Instant Pot, and microwave for help. It might not be as fancy as a professional’s cooking, but my family is fed and happy.
If you’re looking for quick meal ideas, check out my downloadable meal plan here (link).
Find where last month's spend is WAY above what you think your budget should be and tackle those categories first. Chances are, you'll find some quick wins just in that review.
Other ways to make quick changes could be to:
Unsubscribe to auto payments and subscription services you don’t need.
Take your credit card or debit card information out of Amazon and other retailers’ databases.
Uninstall retail apps like Uber, Lyft, Amazon, Wayfair, and Wish from your phone.
These are some of the first steps to saving money. Let’s get into some hard steps now.
3. Make Lifestyle Changes
Lifestyle changes can be hard to make. You need to swallow some pride and really be motivated to make these kinds of changes.
Lifestyle changes can be anything from using one towel per week after your shower to moving house. It could look like dumping your expensive car payment for a paid-for used car. You have to weigh what's important to you and make your life consistent with your vision.
From easiest to hardest (on my own personal scale), here’s a list of lifestyle changes that could help you save money:
Use your dryer less to cut down on electricity or gas
Drop cable or satellite TV
Download your library’s app and read books or check out shows and movies using the library app
Use coupon apps (Honey) when shopping to find the best deal
Stop using credit cards
Swap expensive foods for cheaper foods (instead of beef, eat pork, chicken, or beans)
Find a lower cost cell phone plan
Keep the house cooler in the winter and warmer in the summer
Only buy clothes at thrift or consignment stores (swap.com is a favorite of mine)
Start meal planning
Stop taking on more debt
Sell your car and get rid of your car payments
Start making gifts for others instead of buying them
Find less expensive car, renters, or home insurance through an insurance broker
Talk to your children about what you can and cannot afford right now
Negotiate larger purchases down
Move into a lower-cost living situation
Get out of debt completely
This list is not exhaustive. Every situation lends itself to a different approach. You could have whole life insurance and would be advised to switch to term life, but sometimes getting term life insurance is not possible. In different circumstances, the recommendation could be to either keep it or drop it. It really depends.
If you’re looking for more personal guidance, Saver Street is here to help. Financial coaching helps you find ways to save more, earn more, and build a financial future you can be proud of.
Book a complimentary consultation with us today (link) to see if financial coaching is right for you.