pinching pennies

We have all been told that one of the easiest ways to save money is to give up things like our coffee runs or subscription services we don’t necessarily need. In fact, I’ve written a few blogs on these topics. However, saving can be a hard thing to do, especially if it means giving up some of the things that you enjoy. So, how can you save money and not give up everything at the same time? Let’s talk…

Automatic Savings

When you get a job that directly puts money into your account on pay day (direct deposit), you may want to set up multiple accounts at the same institution, for instance a checking account and a savings account. That way you can specify how much money you want to go into each account. For instance, if you get $500 on pay day, you can set it up so $400 goes into your checking for paying bills during the week and $100 can go directly into your savings account. This is called automating your savings. This is just a techy way of subconsciously saving! Over time, your savings will grow and as long as you aren’t touching your savings account throughout the year you might not even notice. It’s important not to pull from this account unless absolutely necessary, but that’s a blog about emergency funds – find it here!

Personally, with each paycheck that I get, I manually transfer $20 into my savings account. That is another way to save money on pay day, but it requires a little discipline. And if you have no discipline there’s always It Makes ¢ents!

Slowly Cut Unnecessary Expenses

Now, you have been told the fastest way to save is to cut off eating out, your streaming subscriptions, your daily coffee and the list goes on. But cutting out all of life’s little pleasures isn’t any fun! So, one easy way to do this is to cut back slowly. Instead of going out to eat 4-5 times a week, cut it back to 2-3 times a week. Then, after you get used to that you can cut it down to 1-2 times a week. When it comes to subscriptions, and there’s an ever-growing list of places and services you can subscribe, take a look at which subscriptions you use the least. Let’s say that you are only watching a singular show on one TV network, and you are waiting for a new season to come out. Cancel it until the new season becomes available and then re-subscribe. Yes, you CAN do that! Another way is let’s say you have multiple music streaming services, take a month and figure out which one you use more, then cancel the other service. Do you see where I’m going with this? You don’t have to quit everything cold turkey, all at once, just slowly start to decrease your spending habits. Try one category at a time during the year with a new goal for each month.

Shopping, But Also Saving

Hypothetically, let’s say that you are a shopaholic. Unfortunately, it’s a costly habit to have. However, you may still be able to enjoy shopping but save while doing it. How? For one, start looking for coupons or keep an eye out for sales that are going on at your favorite stores. Make it a fun game to see how many coupons you can find for your favorite products. This way you can still get the thrill of shopping, and save money at the same time! Be careful. Some stores are ALWAYS having sales and even if you’re spending money on sale items you’re still spending money. Buying new apparel at half price only saves you money if you don’t double the amount of clothes you buy!

Do you shop multiple times a week? Consider only going shopping once a week, or a couple of times a month rather than all throughout the month.

The Thrill of Not Spending

As fun as it sounds (sarcasm), try a “no spending” challenge. This is easier said than done. Usually, in one calendar month, there are four weekends. Set a goal to enact a “no spend weekend” for two of the weekends in one month. So, the first weekend of the month you can go shopping and grab your essentials for the week. But, the next weekend you will spend no money. Hypothetically, you bought all that you needed the weekend before, right? Rinse and repeat. In the long run, this method has the potential to save you money if you aren’t spending all of your money during the week instead of the weekend.

Maybe you’re competitive! Find a friend and compete to see who can save more by not spending, or by joining you in any of the challenges above. Look for free activities to do on the no spend weekends to distract yourselves.

Saving money is hard, especially when everything can be bought at our fingertips. This article is a lukewarm jump into helping you save, rather than going the middle-aged Dad response of  “who touched the thermostat” method of saving. 

Let us know in the comments how you save money!

Save Without the Sacrifice
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