For frugally-minded people, saving money is second nature. Even for people saving for something special, that mentality is learned. But what about people who are behind the eightball? Maybe you haven't started saving for retirement, or you're trying to save up to put a sizeable down payment on a house.
Whatever your reason, learning a few feasible saving habits can go a long way in helping you build up your nest egg, even if just for a rainy day. For those who need a jumping-off spot, we have some good habits to help you in your journey to better savings.
1. Wage Discrimination
Don't be fooled by the heading. All this means is that in order to save effectively, you must live below your means: no more impulse spending or last-minute trips to your favorite amusement park. As one user so aptly said, “Act your wage! Don't spend beyond your means.”
For several people, the idea of being happily child-free is a significant first step in being able to save more money. “Don't have kids” is certainly not for everyone, but an idea rarely covers everyone, and there are healthy arguments for both sides.
3. Buy in the Middle
Buying items priced in the middle is the best way to stretch your money and still get something of quality. “Buy off the mid-price shelf. Don't buy the cheap or the premium one, but the one that will last,” as one respondent advised. This makes for the purchase of a quality item that will last, and you're often paying for the name attached to the item when you pick the top-shelf stuff.
When one participant suggested cooking at home and cutting out meat, another reader replied, “Like, cut the meat out of the animals yourself? I hadn't considered that.” Butchering your own animals might be an option, but so is reducing the amount of meat you purchase, especially considering meat is one of the most expensive grocery items to buy in 2023.
One knowledgeable investor suggested a 50-30-20 model for helping people save more money. “50 % to bills, 30% to personal use, 20 % to savings.” This model is wonderful because it allows you wiggle room if you need to work your bills down so you can get under that 50%. The expenditures and savings are negotiable as long as you're saving something.
6. Needs and Wants
Another contributor suggested spending only on needs. “Spend on need, not want. Don't talk a want into a need.” I love this quote because, all too often, we do talk our wants into needs. It's the impulsive, shopaholic tendency in all of us.
7. Gently Used
One wealth creator advised, “Buy secondhand before you buy brand new.” Buying gently used furniture, clothes, and other secondhand items is a great way to save and still upgrade. Yard sales, thrift stores, Facebook Marketplace, and even Craigslist are great places to find gently used items.
One interested party suggested understanding the “propensity to consume” would help you save more. “Anytime you come into more money, like through a raise or new job, pretend you have the same income and save/invest the difference.” This frugal way of living ensures that any excess goes straight into savings and can grow your nest egg exponentially.
9. Full Price
Another commenter would prefer to avoid paying the sticker price for anything they buy. “Never pay full price. I always use a cashback site to save money when buying online.” Coupons and weekly sales ads are another great way to save on groceries, shoes, clothes, and most other items we buy.
One money manager suggested keeping track of your spending for a solid week or month to see how much frivolous spending you do. “Keep track for one month. Even one week of every dime you spend will help you to see how much you waste.”
As another user so fittingly says, “You must have the discipline and willingness to prioritize your goals. It's all about making conscious decisions that align with your values and priorities.” One step at a time, one dollar at a time. Unless you were born with a silver spoon in your mouth, we all save money the same way.
12. Less Expensive
Another forum poster suggested, “Find less expensive alternatives to your expensive habits and do the ‘real thing' as a treat.” There are so many options for alternative “goodies.” Off-brand items, coupons, splitting an order with a friend, and making an item yourself; these can all slash your spending and will leave you with more savings and more satisfaction.
The biggest drawback to saving money is just getting started. Taking that first step to saving can be the hardest thing you do, but it will pay considerable dividends in the end. You don't have to immediately jump into saving a chunk of your income. If you start with something every time you get paid, you'll create a habit of growing your savings, and before you know it, you won't be able to save fast enough.
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