Saving money can be difficult, especially when coffee is so expensive! But it is possible to save money and still enjoy your life. Anyone can do it, no matter what your budget. It's all about finding positive, creative, money-saving habits that you can sustain in the long run. Here are a few that have worked for me!
1. Set limits!
This sounds super obvious, but it is so important. Set a maximum limit for the amount of cash you can have in your wallet or the amount you can have on your debit card at any given time. Make it something that works for your lifestyle, taking into account bills, necessary spending, and a little spending money. Then, anytime you get paid, any amount over your limit should get transferred into a savings account or stashed away in a jar. But, be sure to set a realistic limit for yourself. If you tend to eat out a lot, it's okay to leave a little extra room. You can always readjust your limits as your lifestyle changes. I starting doing this a couple of years back and it works so well if you can stick to it!
2. The Fives Rule
Have a designated jar for fives. Any five-dollar bill that crosses your path, DO NOT SPEND (unless of course, you need to; take care of yourself first). Put the fives that come into your possession in the jar. Before you know it, the amount in that jar will pile up! Then, you have an emergency fund for if you have car trouble or some extra money if you want to plan a trip. Over time, this rule can help you save a good lump of cash!
3. Leftovers, Leftovers, Leftovers!
If you are like me and you eat out a lot, a good way to make sure you get your money's worth is to always take home any food you didn’t finish that could be eaten another day. I used to always leave behind leftovers, especially if I didn’t think it was enough for a full meal. But now I bring home everything possible! If it can be repurposed or combined with something else in my fridge to make a full meal, I save it! Not only does this ensure you get the most out of your money, but you end up spending less on future meals.
I rarely spend coins. They used to pile up in my wallet and make it heavy. If you also don’t have the patience for coins, save them! Growing up, my family and I used to save all of our coins. When I turned sixteen, I rolled all of the coins and had enough to buy my first car. Saving coins might seem like it has a low reward, but if you do it for long enough, it pays off! I found this change jar that actually counts the money as I put it in. That way you can see your progress as encouragement!
5. If You’re On Your Grind…
If you have more than one job, first of all, I respect you. Second, that means you get more than one paycheck. If you have the means to live comfortably off of just one of those, put the other one in a savings account. I know that may not be possible for everyone; but, even if you can put a decent portion of that additional paycheck in the bank, you are giving yourself a cushion for the future.
6. Purge Everything
Do you have a lot of stuff? Do you want some extra cash coming in that you can set aside? Purge everything you own! Your closet, your drawers, your bookshelf, your storage. EVERYTHING!!! Trust me, people will buy it. All of that stuff collecting dust could be turned into cash. Don’t get me wrong, you could donate it, but there is nothing wrong with trying to sell it first to make a little extra money. Apps like Depop, Vinted, and Poshmark are great for clothes and accessories. Facebook Marketplace is good for everything else: furniture, books, games, knickknacks, home decor, etc. People will definitely buy your stuff, just be sure to set reasonable prices and be open to offers. Remember, your stuff loses value after purchase, so do not expect to receive the price you paid (but you might get lucky). For all the things you sell, save that money! Then, when you need to buy a new couch or slow cooker, you have a little something to tap into.
7. One to One Hundred!
This is a pretty intense savings challenge, but you could adapt it to better suit your income. All you need is a shoebox, some envelopes, and discipline. Number all of the envelopes using the numbers one to one hundred then place them in the shoebox. The goal is to fill each envelope with the amount written on it in one year. How you do it can be adjusted to fit your lifestyle. You can pick two random envelopes every week and fill them, or you could choose which you fill at the end of every week. You could also reduce the number of envelopes if that seems more realistic for you. Either way, do the math! After filling all of those envelopes, you will have a pretty hefty stash! Just stay disciplined, set alarms, and try to fill more envelopes during the middle part of the year. It can be tough to scrape up extra cash close to the holidays. You can do it!
8. Make Small Changes
There are always small, seemingly insignificant changes we can all make to save money in the long run. Something as simple as switching to a Brita filter instead of buying plastic water bottles or making your own coffee at home could make all the difference in your bank account. Also, shop second-hand for the things you're able to, like clothes, kitchenware, and even furniture. Believe it or not, it is possible to find quality stuff for cheap at Goodwill, Facebook Marketplace, or even any of the apps mentioned in Tip #6. Start thinking critically about the areas of your life that you can make little improvements to. And, as a bonus, for things you would normally purchase regularly like coffee or water bottles, put the money you would have spent aside and start saving!