Saving money is the way to get ahead. It lets you avoid charging emergency items… meaning you don’t pay interest. It was reported in Market Watch, that the average American pays $280,000 in interest.
I don’t know about you, but that’s money I’d rather see in my pocket when it comes time to retire.
But saving can be hard – and it’s even harder knowing where to start. Here are my 10 tips for getting started on saving money.
- Waiting to purchase
Before you make a non-essential purchase, wait 30 days. If you feel you still cannot live without it, you should probably spend the money. But often, you’ll figure out you really don’t need it.
- Make a list before Grocery Shopping
Now this may sound too simple, but grocery stores plan on getting you to spend more than you expect. So before you go, make a list – and then stick to it. You just might find that you save an extra couple of dollars. And – if your bill is less than you expect, take the extra few bucks and stick it in your savings account. All those “dollar here, dollar there” dollars can really add up.
- Don’t go out – invite friends in
Who doesn’t like to get together with friends? It can often be a way of de-stressing and enjoying life. My biggest joys have often been my times with my friends (sorry mom!)
But there’s no-one saying you have to go out.
Invite everyone over instead. A simple dinner party on a budget doesn’t take much, and if you and your friends take turns, everyone will end up saving a lot of money. Plus – you can often have better conversations, meals and fun – right in your own home.
If you’re worried about how it will work, just pick a very small group to start – one or two people. Then, each time you have a get-together, add another person. Soon you’ll feel comfortable hosting any size group.
- Use direct deposit wisely
A great way to save is to have the money taken directly right out of your paycheck – and deposited into your savings account. Most direct deposit systems will allow you to set up a dual payment. 90% goes into your checking and the other 10% goes into your savings.
This way of saving helps out mentally. It tricks you into living on that 90%. If 10% is too much, start smaller – 2% and kick it up 1% every month or so until you are at 10%. Long term, this strategy will help you accumulate your savings.
- Use books from the internet library and never pay for a book again!
I love to read. Really, really love to read. And at $10 per book or more, it can be an expensive hobby. But the local library has books available both in hard copy and through Internet apps. Overdrive is an app that makes it easy for you to take your library card and sign up for a free account. You then have access to lots of downloadable books on loan. And the great thing is you will never pay a late fee again the library pulls the book back when it is due if you don’t extend it
- Spend money on things that will last
One of my best friends has an annoying habit. She will buy the cheapest item at the store if she is looking for a frying pan, she gets the most expensive one and a year down the road, she is replacing it because it broke.
A smarter decision might be to spend the money to buy a really good one up front it will cost a little more but it may last 20 years. That makes your money really stretch out. And you can save more down the road.
- Tell someone else
Everyone needs a little accountability. Someone to help you stay on the right path ask someone you trust to check in on you and help to keep you accountable. If you are comfortable, you could even share your bank stamens once a month to keep you honest I find this technique really helps me stay on track. But more than that, it helps me when I mess up, because I can admit it and get back to the plan easier than when no one knew about it.
- Buy used first
First, let me say there are a few things I won’t buy used. Undergarments are the first biggie. But most of the time, I can find something I want nearly free or at least pretty cheap. Take furniture. I’ve bought s few table and chair sets for less than a dinner out. And after a good clean and a week or two of using it, it feels exactly the same as if I had bought a new set. And I can put the extra money in my savings for a rainy day
- Give gifts that don’t cost – well, money.
Some of the best gifts cost nothing to give. Got a friend with kids, give them a free night of babysitting. Go walk the dog. Read a book to your grandmother who can’t see as well as she used to. Do some shopping for an aunt who is home bound. Cook a meal for someone who is busy
There are many ways you can give without breaking the bank if you are creative, you can find many more. Pick windflowers. Hand write a love letter. These personal gifts will be remembered far longer than most monetary ones.
- Hit the freebies
Always be on the lookout for free things to do. You can spend $10 at the movies or go to a free art exhibit. Plus, you might meet some interesting people along the way.