Is it just me or do paychecks seem to be spent as soon as we get them? Then you look around and wonder where the money went. We have probably all had that problem at one time or another. Here are five ways to help you save more and spend less each month.
1. Have a financial plan.
- We all need one. Plan to save or you won’t save anything at all. Before you spend a dime on anything else, put aside ten percent of your paycheck at least once a month. It would be ideal to do it with each paycheck that you earn in a month, but sometimes that is not possible.
- Start with a goal of one paycheck and work your way up. To keep from forgetting, you can have the money deducted from your check and sent to a savings account each pay period.
- That way, you don’t even have to think about it. It is done before the rest of the money is deposited in your checking account.
2. Grocery shop with a shopping list.
- Have you ever gone to the store for one or two items and come out with a cart full of stuff? Me, too. A list is like a blinder. It requires you to locate the things written there and ignore everything else.
- When creating the list, look in each cabinet and cupboard to see what you need. If you’re absent-minded like me, attach a magnetic grocery pad to the refrigerator and record when you run out of something. Your list will create itself.
3. Clip coupons.
- Coupons are generated mostly for the grocery store, but department stores have store coupons that offer a percentage or a specific dollar amount off of your purchases. Get that sweater at the end of the season when the store marks clothing down forty percent and offers additional coupon savings.
- Don’t shop at a store just because it has a coupon. Chances are the price has been marked up before the coupon is applied to make you think that you are getting a deal.
- Only use coupons for items and stores that you frequent. Stores that offer free discount cards also have weekly specials that, when combined with a coupon, could save you even more money.
4. Don’t impulse buy.
- Rule of thumb: Don’t purchase anything the first time you see it. This rule goes for big ticket items like cars, furniture, appliances, and electronics.
- Give yourself time to comparison shop to find the best deal. All the stores of the world won’t sell out of DVD players overnight.
- Waiting may show that the item you wanted to buy was a want and not a need. In that case, after clearing your head, you might not go back and buy it anyway.
5. Reward yourself.
- Spending money on something that you want can be thought of as a reward and a privilege earned. Make a list of your “wants”.
- Prioritize them and save until you can afford to get it. In the meantime, you will have added to your savings account and the discretionary fund for the item you dream of buying.
- Knowing that there is a pot of gold at the end of the financial rainbow can be a good deterrent to overspending.
Saving money is a good practice. Not only does it make your finances more stable, but there is also money for a rainy day.