Saving money sometimes feels painful. You’ve probably been raised that you have to make sacrifices to save a few Benjamins. But, your mantra doesn’t have to be “No pain, no gain”. We all have to make choices every day-black pants or jeans. That will never change. Since you REALLY want the long-term benefits of saving, locking in your mental mindset and adjusting your habits can go a long way. So, let’s share five ways to save money without sacrificing your quality of life. Whether you’re trying to build your savings account, cutting back on your spending, or just looking for some extra cash for the latest and greatest gadgets, these tips will help you achieve your goals.
Sometimes it all feels a bit simple, but the whole “blocking and tackling” means something. If you’re not a football fan, it’s about doing the basics that make all the difference. If you don’t do your “blocking” in football, that means the quarterback can get smashed by two guys weighing 300 lbs each, and nobody wants that.
#1: Make a list and stick to it! How dare I tell you to stick with it??? That’s because I care, and I know how money issues can weigh on you. I don’t want that. We all know that impulse buying is one of the easiest ways to spend more than we originally intended. That’s why grocery stores put candy in the check-out line. Creating a list before going shopping can stop those unnecessary purchases from happening. For some people, this doesn’t work well because they don’t like having to plan out their week in advance. I don’t like being poor either. Do you? So, if this resonates with you, what’s the harm. Give it try. If you stop yourself from buying one thing, you’ve won!!
#2: Will Farrell emphatically says “Smiling is my favorite!” in the movie Elf. It makes me smile (if not laugh) every time, and we say it around the house. You know what else makes me smile? Saving money, because it’s MY favorite. If that’s true, I have to say coupons are the best! If you want to go old school, that means you get out a pair of scissors and start clipping. You knew those kindergarten skills would come in handy one day, right? But, if you don’t, there are apps that can help. You don’t have to feel like your mom (yes, that’s who did all the shopping when I was a kid). So, put this on your list of favorites and get started!!
#3: Do you know the old saying: “Ask and you shall receive”? It’s effective, but most people simply don’t ask. If I didn’t ask my wife out on a date, we wouldn’t be married now. I say that’s a big win. So if you want something, you have to ask. Do you want money, then ask? Cable companies do NOT want to lose your business. If you want to score a better deal, then ask. How about credit card interest rates. Ok, first you shouldn’t be carrying bad debt like credit cards. But, this is a safe place, so no guilt, as I have enough of it. I’ve asked to waive bank fees, a discount for changing my oil, lowering my cable bill, and many others. My win rate is over 75%. If you simply ask, you’ll be surprised at what you might get.
#4: Cut out one of your streaming services. Do you REALLY think this is a stretch? The average number of streaming services in the US is now around 4. Yikes, do you need that many movies, sitcoms, docudramas, documentaries, sports, etc.? Hey, I enjoy a guilty pleasure, but how many housewives can you watch? We made a deal in the family during COVID to add Disney+ for 3 months, and guess what? We had it 18 months later!!!! Yes, being lazy costs money. It took 30 seconds to disconnect online. Done. This really is one of my favorite, easy things to do because we didn’t miss it one bit when it was gone. Seriously, though, do you think cutting back on the amount of money you spend, which generally cuts the amount of time you spend in front of the television is a bad thing?
#5: Eat at home. Learning how to cook Chinese has been a blast. Yes, I made several mistakes, but the crab rangoon “cakes” I made were delish!! So, why can’t you throttle back on eating out? Do a little cooking at home. There are so many self-help videos and blogs that even I can do it!!! If you do it with a little zest and zeal, you’ll probably get help. I did because the kids were curious about what was going on. And, please don’t try to tell me you don’t have time!! Most of us have cut our commutes lately, watch too much TV (see suggestion #4), or waste time in one fashion or another. If you’re like me, you can listen to a podcast, music or even watch a show. But, be careful because you do need to pay attention (especially with the hot oil!).
Life can be good. Having a few extra dollars in your pocket can give you choices, relieve stress, and build wealth. Start with some easy wins, and build on them. You know you can do it. Embrace the fact that you want to change, and when you see how easy it is, it will feed on itself (there’s that food thing again, I think I’m getting hungry). There you have it, 5 easy ways to save money without any sacrifice and a bit of fun!