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Millions of Americans are just a single medical emergency away from going bankrupt. When I was in that position myself, I realized something very important. Most of us simply don’t know how to save money.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking money is meant to be spent. But if you want to know how to save money, you have to look at the act of “saving” differently.
When you save money, you’re not just “not spending” but paying your future self. Saving money means buying yourself security.
When you have enough savings, your life changes significantly. You won’t have to worry about you or someone in your family getting sick and going broke from medical costs.
Risks, like quitting your job or starting a business, become all the more possible. You can live the life you always wanted if you know how to save money.
Frugality is a mindset, but it’s one that you develop through habits. Practicing money-saving habits can shave a few extra dollars off your monthly expenses.
They might not feel like much at first, but you’ll find that they save a lot of money over time.
To get you started, here are 20 tips on how to save your money that you can do today:
Impulse buying is a bad spending habit that can be hard to kick. Instead of instantly heading to the cash register, wait two weeks, then decide whether or not the purchase is still worth it.
You’ll end up saving yourself from buyer’s remorse a lot more by doing this.
Saving isn’t “not spending,” but instead paying your future self first. By contributing to your retirement fund, you’ll be securing your future and making your money work for you.
If you want to know more about the different retirement accounts, check out my article on them here.
Storing all your money in one place can sometimes be too convenient. It can be hard to discipline yourself when you see a huge lump sum just sitting in your bank account.
Instead, have multiple bank accounts but only one debit card. That way, you can properly separate your money for your bills, financial goals, and pleasure.
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You should only ever make a purchase with your credit card when you can afford to pay in cash immediately.
Doing this will save you from going into debt and help build your credit score. Having a good credit score means that your bank will trust you more to pay off your debts. The higher this score is, the more likely your bank will lend you larger sums of money in the future.
This is useful if you think you’ll ever want to buy a house or need capital to start a business.
Otherwise, don’t even bother using credit cards and potentially burying yourself in debt.
Before making a purchase, think of it in terms of how many hours you’ll have to work to buy it. You’ll think twice about buying those shoes when you realize it would have cost you a week’s wages.
Setting long-term financial goals can be hard to achieve, making it easier for some people to give up. Instead, try setting short-term goals that you can achieve much quicker. For example, saving $20 in a week seems a lot more realistic than $80 a month.
Having a huge chunk of change added to your bank account every payday can be tempting. However, you have to have your priorities in check. Try to set up an automatic bills payment system to remove the temptation to go over your budget.
Your electricity bill might be much bigger than it has to be. Use natural lighting during the day to save electricity costs. Sunlight won’t charge you every month and can even improve your mood. I like this tip because it’s not just better for saving money, but also for protecting the environment.
Inverter-type appliances and energy-efficient lightbulbs will cost you more upfront. But trust me, after making the switch and seeing your monthly electricity bill, you won’t regret paying the premium.
Depending on what energy-efficient appliances you own, you could cut your usage anywhere from 10% to 33%. Over time, these things pay for themselves in savings.
When going on a grocery run, it can be better to buy certain items in bulk. You get more value per dollar when you buy in quantity. This works for items that don’t expire, and you know you’ll have to buy again, like toothbrushes or toilet paper.
You can read more about the benefits of buying in bulk in my article.
With every minute you spend at the grocery store, you’ll be more tempted to buy something you don’t need.
Set a timer for yourself, and when it goes off, you head back to the checkout aisle no matter what. This way, you’re forcing yourself to buy only what you really need.
Public spaces like libraries and parks aren’t really free since you’re paying for them with your tax money. But they can be great alternatives to spending money on movie tickets or the bookstore.
Your local library probably has a vast collection of great books to read. If you don’t know where to start, we have a few recommendations that you might like.
You can do a lot of things for fun at a park for free. Some examples of activities you can do include having a picnic with your loved ones or just taking a leisurely stroll.
If you want to have some fun, there are a lot of things you can do online for free. You can find interesting and funny videos and hours of content on websites like Youtube and Tiktok.
You and I both know that movie theater food is overpriced. If you’re going to watch a movie, you don’t need to spend the extra cash on food.
When you’re out for a meal, consider skipping the iced tea or the glass of wine. Water is completely free at most restaurants and much better for your general health. What we do sometimes is we bring little packets of lemonade with us and sprinkle them in our water glasses.
You might even want to skip eating out altogether. Restaurant meals are priced a lot more because they factor in the labor costs. You spend a lot less cooking your own meals, especially when you consider you won’t be tipping a waiter or delivery person.
When buying medicine, don’t let yourself fall for the marketing of big-name pharmaceuticals. Have a doctor prescribe a generic medicine rather than a brand name. Generic store brand drugs can be much cheaper and have the same active ingredients. Don’t let yourself pay extra just because of some fancy packaging, sis!
It’s important to get a check-up with both your doctor and dentist on the regular, especially now. But make sure that the medical experts you’re visiting are within your insurance network if you have one. That way, all your fees will be paid for and you won’t have to worry about paying them out of pocket.
You might have noticed that there are only 19 tips listed so far. The last tip on how to save money is to sign up to join the financial fam. By signing up, you’ll get an exclusive dose of financial tips and advice every single week. You can do this right now, so what are you waiting for? Sign up today!
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Dollars Makes Cents by Shaquana, Financial Coach and Wealth Expert, resources helps professional millennial women of color with the tools and skills they need to eliminate their debt, amplify their savings, and build generational wealth — without having to compromise their lifestyle.
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