You’ve heard it over and over. Stop splurging on clothes at the mall, stop eating out, and start sticking to your budget. But actually, this is all great advice and something you need to pay attention to if you want to become financially sound in the future. Studies show that when it comes to sticking to a budget, most people simply don’t do it or even consider it a top priority.
On the other hand, there are some people who take saving money and budgeting very seriously. Although they probably don’t go out as much, they get to travel to exotic destinations each year due to conscientiously saving their dollars.
But, before you quit frivolously spending money cold turkey, keep in mind that it’s typically the little things you’re throwing money away on that are adding up the most.
Here are 10 super easy tips on how to save your money little by little over time that will make a huge impact on your overall budget.
1. Prepare Your Own Lunch
How long does it take for you to fix your own lunch? By simply getting up a little early to make your lunch or cooking just a little extra the night before and using food storage containers to freeze extra for the week, it will save you an incredible amount of money over the course of just 7 days. Go ahead and do the math and you’ll be amazed. People who know how to save money generally prepare their own food.
2. Take Advantage of Sales
At some point, most items go on sale at both grocery and non-grocery stores. Try going shopping when a store is having a sale or try to only buy a certain item when it’s on sale. Also, stockpile a few canned goods here and there so you’ll always have a full cupboard. There are many ways to track store sales and coupons at your favorite locations both online and offline.
3. Ditch the Plastic
When it comes to day-to-day spending, only use cash. Although it may take a little more time to plan how you’ll spend money throughout the week, make it a habit to withdraw a certain amount at the beginning of the week and spend it wisely. Research shows that people in general spend 30 percent less overall when paying with cash.
4. Embrace All Things DIY
If possible, try shoveling the snow, mowing the lawn, or cleaning the pool yourself instead of paying someone to do it for you. In fact, consider getting the entire family involved to do outdoor chores and use the extra cash for a family fun night.
5. Make Your Cleaning Products Instead of Buying Them
Cleaning products can get expensive. It shouldn’t cost a fortune to do laundry. By making your own laundry detergent in addition to other all-purpose type cleaners, you can save a significant amount of money over time as well as keep your home spic-and-span clean.
6. Stop Using $5 Dollar Bills
Make your own rule to stop spending a certain denomination of currency. A good choice is $5 since it’s a relatively low number, but will add up to a substantial amount of savings rather quickly. Whenever you come across a $5 dollar bill, toss it in a designated drawer or jar and watch your savings grow exponentially.
7. Eat Out Less
All those dinners you eat out are literally costing you a small fortune. Make it a point to eat out only once, maybe twice a week at most. Once you realize how much money you’re saving, you’ll be less likely to want to eat out at all or only on a special occasion.
8. Budget Your Children
If your kids get an allowance, consider putting them on a budget. Rather than rewarding them for getting good grades or doing chores with money, allow them extra Internet or TV time instead. Write it Down
Want to really see where your money’s going? Write everything down that you spend no matter how trivial. Don’t cheat. At the end of the month, look back at your list. Make a list of your largest expenses like, mortgage payment, insurance, personal loans, groceries, etc., and go from there. Hopefully it will get to improve how you spend money.
10. The $100 Challenge
Begin saving all your bills, and once you reach $100, take them to the bank in exchange for a crisp $100 bill. Next, tuck it away deep in your wallet or purse. Why? Just knowing it’s there, it’s likely you won’t want to spend it but rather hang on to it. Besides, most stores won’t accept a $100 bill for lunch or coffee anyways.
Try some of these easy tips and see how much you save at the end of the month. People who are smart about money set aside a minimum of 10 percent before they even spend one dime of their check/salary. This way, they’re always stashing away and protecting their financial future.