While money is not what is most important in life, it is what we need to function. Who doesn’t want more money? With kids, pets, and other responsibilities to consider, it can seem like your money is always disappearing. Even people that have high salaries are guilty of poorly managing their income. If you do not know how to spend your money wisely, you may never feel comfortable with your finances even though you have the power to do so.
Luckily, there are several ways to help your money last. With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to divert your spending towards goals and achievements you never had the chance to spend money on in the past. Odds are you are guilty of wasting money in at least a few of the following ways. If you follow these ten steps to stop wasting money, you will quickly notice your money is lasting a lot longer than ever before.
Stop Eating Out
Eating out is the best way to spend a lot of money in a short amount of time. I have seen many people complain about finances, yet they spend money every day buying lunch or going out to dinner on the weekend. Eating out at restaurants is expensive, especially when each person orders a drink other than water. When you opt for cheaper fast food options, you sacrifice health which will cost you more money in the long run. Plus, even small amounts spent on fast food add up over time.
If you are serious about budgeting, you will cook your food at home. Meal prepping is a great way to ensure you always have something to eat, even when you have little time during the day to prepare your meals. You may also consider prepping healthy grab and go snacks. If you have food readily prepared at home, you will not feel the need to eat out as much. You may also want to speak with your family members and set a specific amount of times you will eat out each month. My husband and I have agreed to try and only eat out once a month at a nice restaurant. This way, we have something to look forward to and neither of us are tempted to ask each other if we want to go out on the weekends any more.
Drink Coffee at Home
Let’s face it – we all love our specialty coffee beverages but our wallets definitely don’t. Recently, I moved to an area where the furthest Starbuck’s (and really any quick coffee place) is 20-30 minutes away. Of course, I am a lot less tempted to drive to get coffee when it is that far. I have saved so much money now that I no longer have the temptation to spend money on coffee. I believe we all have the power to stop buying coffee on the go and to start drinking it at home.
If you have a coffee shop on every corner, it can be hard to resist a quick coffee order. It gets even harder when your friends don’t have the same habits as you. However, it can be done with a lot of determination. After a while of not buying coffees, you will slowly realize that you no longer crave them. Once you stop spending on coffee, you will see how much money you are saving, and you WILL no longer have the temptation to buy itI. f you want to drink coffee while you are out, invest in a quality to-go cup, make your coffee at home and bring it with you.
Don’t Go to Stores when You’re Bored
I can’t be the only one that has a habit of going shopping when I am bored. I used to go to the mall or outlets to just “look around” for some entertainment. As you can guess, this habit always led to me spending money on something I did not need. When I decided we needed to start budgeting our money, I quickly stopped doing this. While looking around at different items can be fun, unnecessary spending is not.
If you find you are bored, it is best to find a hobby. While hobbies can become expensive, they don’t have to be. Personally, I love photography. It cost me some money to invest in equipment up front, but now it is completely free to go out and take pictures. Some hobbies like blogging or photography can even lead to supplemental income if you are very passionate and dedicated about what you do.
Stop Paying for Cable
If you are paying for Netflix or Hulu, you don’t need cable. Even if you are not paying for either of those, you don’t need cable. My husband and I lived in Italy for two years with no cable, and we didn’t get it with our internet package when we moved back to the US. We realized it just wasn’t necessary. This idea sounds daunting, especially if you have had cable for many years and can’t imagine life without it. However, I can assure you that there are plenty of other ways to occupy your time without paying for cable every month. A $14 monthly subscription to Netflix is a lot cheaper than paying an extra $40 or more a month for cable television. Heck – if you find a great hobby to invest your time in, you probably don’t even need Netflix.
Cancel Memberships You Don’t Need
We live in a world where membership based services are becoming more popular than ever before. While I just admitted to having a Netflix membership, I will admit I don’t need every membership I used to have. Recently, we went through all of our bank statements and decided to cancel some of the memberships that no longer suit our lifestyle.
For me, I stopped my ipsy membership and stopped paying for certain photography applications when I could just use free ones. My husband went through some of his video game expenses and realized he was paying for things he did not need anymore. For those that pay for Costco or Sam’s Club memberships, check out the website Boxed.com which is a great (membership free) alternative to other bulk stores.
If you want to stop wasting money, make sure you are not paying for memberships with free alternatives. While these membership services seem to be convenient, we have to stop and ask ourselves if they are necessary for our specific lifestyles. While it is fun to receive packages each month, the reality is that we do not really need them.
Stop Buying New Products
Stop buying new what you could be buying used. Thrift stores are filled with items that are in great condition and are sold at a fraction of a price for what you would pay at the store. Additionally, it is likely that your neighborhood has at least a few yard sales every weekend. If you can’t find any yard sales, look for local flea markets. Yard sales and flea markets are great because most items being sold are only gently used and you can bargain for lower prices than what the items are selling for.
The final thing you should stop spending money on is new clothes. Consignment stores are excellent ways to save money while still staying fashionable! At this point, I would say 70% of my current wardrobe is used clothing. I have received judgement from people that are uncomfortable with the idea, but let me tell you – I have saved so much money over the years. You may even be able to make money by selling your clothes at consignment store yourself. Lastly, it’s good for the planet to buy recycled clothing so why not?
Stop Playing the Lottery
I hate to break it to you, but lottery tickets are a waste of money. While there is a chance you could win a large amount of money, that chance is slim. Besides, most people that win small amounts of money end up spending it on more lottery tickets. You are better off saving your money the good ol’ fashion way. At least while you are saving money, you know exactly where your money is going and there is no chance that it will go to waste. Instead of gambling your money away, create a detailed savings plan to invest in yourself and your goals for the future. You will appreciate your money a whole lot more knowing you worked hard for it and devoted a lot of effort towards saving it.
Stop Drinking (or set limits)
Alcohol is expensive. It’s even more expensive when you buy it at a bar or a restaurant. If you are serious about saving money you may consider changing your drinking habits. Some people may be rolling their eyes at the thought of this but have you ever considered how much alcohol actually costs?
It can be fun to let off some steam with a couple of drinks with some friends– but it is not fun for your wallet. If you feel the need to have a drink, make sure you set some limits. You may save money by buying alcohol at the store and making cocktails at your home. If you would like to start saving money quickly and drinking is a habit of yours, the best thing to do is put the habit on hold and use your money for something else.
Stop Spending Money on Entertainment
Going to the movies, bowling, parties and more can be fun, but it can be expensive. If you want to save money, you will be sure to keep your entertainment expenses at a minimum. This does not mean you have to stop having fun! There are plenty of free ways you can entertain yourself. For instance, you can invite your friends over for a game night or take a walk with someone you love. Exercising is another great way to occupy your time. You can also try volunteering with the people you love. However you decide to spend your weekends, it is important to keep your savings plan in mind.
Stop Buying Expensive Beauty Products
I am as guilty of buying expensive beauty products as anyone. Who doesn’t love smelling, feeling and looking beautiful? I also enjoy putting effort into my appearance and there is nothing wrong with that. However, I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t need these products. Hair, makeup, nails, skincare – it all gets so expensive. The reality that we need to face is this – we don’t need all these products, we just want them.
While there is nothing wrong with wearing makeup or taking care of yourself, it is important to realize that all of these beauty products add a lot to our expenses. If you want to save money, you should set a limit to how much you will spend on beauty per month. Perhaps, you could start buying cheaper products or even experiment with homemade beauty products to cut down your expenses. Whatever you decide to do, being aware of how much you spend on beauty and self-care will benefit your budget in numerous ways.
There is no point in making a lot of money if you do not know how to spend it wisely. Unfortunately, life is full of both good and bad times and we need to be prepared for the worst. Thus, it is important to save money while you can, even when we don’t feel like we have to. Of course, you do not need to follow all of these tips all of the time. But, if you use these suggestions as guidelines in your everyday life, you will start to notice your finances increase. What are some of your favorite ways to save money? Let me know in the comments below.