Saturday, March 20, 2010
These days everyone is looking for ways to save money and it seems like everywhere we look we’re getting tips on how to do just that. There is more to stashing cash though than just helpful tidbits and ways to save. You have to make saving a frame of mind. Stashing a couple bucks here, and a few pennies there is good, but if it’s not made a sustainable and even habitual practice, it won’t get you to where you want to be financially. Here are some ways to make saving money more than just something that is done during tough economic times.
It’s already saved
One of the best ways to keep yourself from spending is to think of your money as already saved. If you consider every penny of your paycheck as saved from the minute you get it, then it should begin to make it just a little bit harder to spend. This is not because it really is any more difficult, but because of the mental stigma that saved money should not be spent. This will hopefully begin to create the frame of mind that makes it easier to save money.
Think before you spend
Once you are in the right mode to save, begin to think before you spend. Sure, everyone thinks a little before they start shelling out cash or swiping the credit card, at least in most cases, but how many of us actually consider the amount of work it took us to earn what we are spending? Say you are going out for a nice dinner and the bill runs you a hundred dollars. If you are taking home twenty dollars an hour, it took you five hours at work to earn that dinner. Was it worth it? How much do you really like that dinner now? These are the questions you must ask yourself before you spend in order to truly adjust your spending habits and make saving money even easier.
If you find the answers to the questions you ask yourself regarding the spending and saving of your money are not ones you want to hear, it might be time to consider other forms entertainment. Start looking for activities that don’t cost as much, or activities that cost money but that can be done in a cheaper way. For example, if you enjoy going to restaurants more for the socialization factor than the food, consider looking for restaurants that offer great atmosphere but cheaper prices. Alternately, if you don’t want to change restaurants, maybe go for lunch instead of dinner, split just one entrée, or do without drinks or dessert. There are plenty of options to consider, but you probably get the point. Begin thinking outside the box when it comes to entertainment. A weekend camping, or a rented movie and a cheap pizza at home, are not only cheap activities, but also ones that can build great family bonds. Remember – more often than not, it’s the people you are spending your time and money with that make the memories, not how much money you’re spending to be with them.
Coupons have been mentioned in countless articles regarding ways in which you can save money, but many people still scoff when it comes to using them. If you saw a dollar lying on the ground, would you pick it up, or just laugh and walk past? If a friend of yours told you that he would be more than happy to let you in on a little investment tip where you could double your investment return in a day, would you be interested? Now reason those same questions this way. If you saw a coupon for a dollar off your favorite product lying on the ground, would it have the same effect as seeing that dollar? If your friend told you his investment scheme was to use coupons to buy twenty dollars worth of groceries for ten dollars, would it still have the same impact? Probably not. But that’s because you still aren’t in the proper frame of mind when it comes to saving. Money is money, whether you get it through investments in the stock market, bonds, a savings account, or heaven forbid coupons!
Taking a few moments to cut out some little pieces paper is probably one of the easiest savings options available, yet many of us throw hundreds of dollars worth of those little bits of paper away each year. Would you throw hundreds of dollars of your own money in the garbage? It’s pretty much the same thing.