Saving money. Something that everybody says they'll do, some people sort-of do, and most people don't. I don't have any fancy degree in finance, but I did manage to save $100,000 before I turned 20. This was a result of a good income, smart spending and low living expenses. If you're getting tired of wanting to have more money in your savings but it just never seems to be as much as you want, here's my 5 easy tips that you can do today to help.
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1. Track Your Spending.
This is huge, and it's always the first thing I say to people, for a variety of reasons. The main one, is that if you aren't tracking your spending, you're most likely spending more than you think. Secondly, it stings a lot more when you see in front of you how much you're spending. Obviously I'm not trying to hurt you! But this pain of realising how much is going out, is what will motivate you to save. Lastly, but definitely not least, THE LITTLE THINGS ADD UP. You'll be amazed how much all those small transactions add up to.
There's a lot of great apps to track your spending (or you can just write it down if you're super duper old school), but I use the Pocket Expense which you can download for free on iOS and Android. They have a few different features, one being monthly reports and you can see how much you're spending and in which category. I recommend entering everything into the app, even down to packets of gum, so you can get an accurate look into your accounts.
2. Don't Buy Stuff You Don't Need.
This sounds obvious, but it amazes me how many people buy things they seriously don't need, and the amount they can spend on it. You don't need that watch you saw on Instagram. You don't need all those useless items you impulse bought. You definitely didn't need a $350 bottle of vodka in a nightclub! Take literally 5-10 seconds before you spend your hard earned money to think about whether you really need it. Also think about how long it will take you to earn that money back, and if it's worth it.
Something I DO encourage, is spending wisely on things you should have. Self education is always ideal, because the best investment you can make is in yourself. Check out my article 'Great Books for Entrepreneurs' here.
3. Stop Spending Money on 'Deals'.
This one drives me crazy. You're not 'saving' money by paying MORE to get another item for less than the original price. You're STILL SPENDING MONEY! Let's take it to a super basic level. One snickers bar is $3. If you buy two, the next one is $1.50. You're not 'saving' $1.50 by buying another one, you're SPENDING $1.50! That's $4.50 for something that was meant to be $3. My friend bought a second chair that he didn't need because it was only $100 extra, when it's usually $300. That's not saving money, that's another $100 that is now no longer in your bank account.
If you think you need to buy something right now so you don't miss out on a time sensitive deal, trust me... There will be another deal. It's not the first sale in the world, there will be more, and if you really need it, then you can get it after you've thought about it, instead of impulse buying.
4. Set Saving Goals.
You need to have tangible goals. When you get in your car, you know where you're going. If you get in the car with nowhere to go, you'll drive around aimlessly. Decide how much you want to save and by when. Take 10 minutes to write down your income, your expenses (which you will know accurately once you use a tracking tool like Pocket Expense in tip number 1) and how much you have left over for saving. Then you can have a plan, a weekly / monthly budget and you're on your way. If you're super keen you could literally plot your savings forecasts on a graph but I can't say that's critical!
Biologically, when you can see and feel something you want to achieve, your mind takes action towards it. This is an incredibly interesting topic, although it's not about saving money so I won't go into it here. But if you want to learn more about the brain and why we do what we do, check out this GREAT video by Simon Sinek here.
5. Do a Price Check.
Whenever you're buying something, always look for a cheaper alternative. Especially if you're shopping online because it's so easy to do. Just type in the product you're buying and see if somewhere has it available for a lower price. If you're in the supermarket, spend a few seconds browsing other prices. Like I said, the little things add up!!
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Do these five things in your life, and I guarantee you'll save more money. Save your money for what really matters - your future!