Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but with a little strategizing you might find it easier to save more and spend less than you originally thought.
Saving money is one of those goals that is exciting to make but extremely difficult to achieve. The decision to spend less and save more can go from determined to half-succeeding to completely giving up in no time. The temptation to go back to your old ways is strong and without a plan most people end up doing just that.
It may be helpful for you to come up with a plan that goes beyond simply making a budget and trying to stick to it. Here are 5 tips for how you can achieve that goal of spending less and saving more.
1. Pay Yourself First
That’s right. Take a certain amount of each paycheck and put it into savings before you do anything else. Try setting up a savings account that yields higher interest. An online savings account with a bank like Ally Bank has an annual percentage yield of 1.00%.
If you’re depositing into a savings account first, and that account yields higher interest, you’re setting yourself up for financial success for many years to come.
Related: How to Budget
2. Try the Cash Envelope System
The idea of a cash system has been around for a while, and there’s a reason people keep using it. Basically, rather than putting any of your monthly expenses on a credit or debit card, you take all the cash for your expenses out of the bank at the beginning of the month.
This requires a budget. You need to take a hard look at what you spend now and how much you want to spend going forward. Then assign an amount to any number of categories in which you regularly spend money. An example might be:
Household Items: $50
Eating Out: $50
Obviously this list will look different and contain different amounts for every person. But the idea of a cash system works for anyone who’s willing to use it. Withdraw the total amount from the bank, divy it up into envelopes labeled for each category, and only spend what you have.
3. Save With a Purpose
Let’s face it: saving isn’t nearly as fun as spending, at least in the moment. But saving can actually be a lot of fun if you put the right spin on it.
Spend some time planning your dream vacation using a site like Trip Hobo. Budget the entire trip and then put that total number somewhere you can see it, reminding yourself of what you’re working toward. Or stick a picture of that new couch, bag, or bike you want on the fridge – a reminder that if you say no now, you’ll be saying yes to something you love soon enough.
4. Clip Those Coupons
Many people avoid using coupons because it seems like a lot of work. However, you might be surprised to find that using coupons has grown significantly easier in the last few years.
First, look into what stores in your area offer. Many stores, like Target, send mobile coupons to your phone and offer apps, like Cartwheel. This means no clipping or searching the internet. You can scroll through the coupons offered, add the ones you will use to your “cart,” and scan at the register. Mega savings, little effort.
If you’re looking for manufacturer’s coupons that are specific to products, not stores, there are many websites out there offering constant updates on the latest deals and discounts. Coupon Chief is a great example, offering a blog featuring couponing tips as well as links to a multitude of coupons and deals.
With a little time and research, you can achieve greater savings than you might think by usinge coupons when you shop.
Related: Saving Money With Coupons
5. Sell What You Have
You might be surprised how much you can “save” by making money off your old items before shopping for new ones. This is particularly true of clothing. By using a site like Thredup or Ebay, you can very easily make money off your old clothes before purchasing new ones, essentially “saving” money as you buy.
Thredup is a site that will send you a clean out bag in the mail and let you send in your gently used clothes for cash. You can either take the cash or use it to buy other gently used items from their site.
Ebay can be used to sell anything, but clothing is a big one. Shoes, clothing and bags are big sellers on Ebay. Even if you only make $10 on each item of clothing, you’ll find yourself with extra cash to spend that wasn’t there before.
Sticking to a budget can be difficult, but with a little strategizing you might find it easier to save more and spend less than you originally thought. It’s never too late to get started!
What tips do you have on spending less and saving more?
This post was written by Sonya Matejko, blogger and freelance writer who is vibrantly falling in love with life in Miami and around the world. Sonya writes about the dating world as well as traveling the world at Single Strides.