Did you have plans to save more, but at the end of the month you were only able to save just a measly sum? Do you have terrible money habits?
You decided to save at least 20% of your income, but at the end of the month you realised that you’ve spent more than you planned.
You must have to asked yourself this question severally – are others just naturally gifted at saving than me?
You shouldn’t beat up yourself so much about it. If you are having a hard time saving money, console yourself a little with the fact that you are not alone.
Research has shown that more than half of Americans cannot cover a $1000 expense.
So what is the solution to this problem? Is the solution to just continue saving no matter how little you can?
No. You can definitely do more.
There are strategies that you can use that can help increase your savings tremendously. It won’t be easy but it is definitely worth a try.
For majority of us, we have developed bad habits that make savings difficult. You would need to break those bad habits to even begin to see progress.
To break some of these habits might be easy. It just requires some discipline and focus on your part, while others will take more than that.
If you want to become proactive in your savings and stop spending so much, then continue reading this article.
Before we go into the money habits that can help you to save more, you have to first determine the reasons why you want to increase your savings.
These reasons will serve as a motivation to help you improve your money habits. If you do not have a tangible reason to save, then you are most likely not to go through with all the tips and strategies in this article.
Everybody has a different reason why they want to save. Most people save towards retirement, for some it might be because of a vacation, others might want to buy a home or a new car.
Once you have a goal you will become intentional about your savings. Having a goal will also make it easier for you to track your progress.
It is important you get intentional and imagine what all this extra savings and money can do for you. Whenever you are tempted to spend out of your savings, remember why you are saving in the first place.
Now let us go into the list of the best money habits that you can master. You might already know some of these habits in the past.
Notice the ones that you are strong and continue and the ones in which we are weak, try to develop them.
Let’s dive in.
1. Be honest with yourself about your bad money habits
This is the first and most important step you have to take. Lots of people do not accept reality and the fact that they can do much better than they currently are.
The reason why you are saving so little might be because of the fact that you refused to accept that your saving problems might be your fault. It might be difficult for you to do this. It is much more easier to just spend then if there is anything left after the end of the month you just save that.
The first step you have to do is to just tell yourself the truth – that you can actually do much better.
Telling yourself the truth won’t make you feel bad, instead you feel much better. Since you know that you have bad habits, it will become easier for you to stop them.
Acceptance is the first step finding solutions to your saving problems.
2. Update your money mentality
When you hear things like investment, savings and funds, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?
Do you get excited because you have been making the right plans and moves towards your retirement and having a better life? Or do you get scared and nervous because you’ve been spending money unnecessarily this past month?
If you feel scared and nervous, it is about time you ask yourself some serious questions.
Set time in calendar to interview and challenge yourself.
Ask yourself where you want to be in the next few years. Do you want to be comfortable and free of debt? Do you want to have enough saved up that you will no longer have to fear for emergency situations?
These are important questions you have to ask yourself to update your money mentality. Having the right money mentality means that the thought of money no longer scares you.
Additional reading: Check out this list of amazing podcast hosts to try out in 2020.
3. Differentiate between your needs and wants
Paula pants says, ” you can afford anything but not everything“.
It is okay to like expensive brands and items. But what is not okay is buying all those things because you want to keep up with the trends or compete against a friend or family even when it will hurt your income.
Those expensive brands are wants. The items that you can live without. Items that are not necessary for your survival.
It is important that you identify your needs and your wants. Create a list for the two categories so that you can have a clear picture of the items that are necessary for your survival and well-being and those that are just things your heart desires.
I’m not saying that you should ignore your wants. You can get everything you desire but with right planning.
After you have taking care of your needs, you can pick one item from your want list and place in your budget. You will then save up towards acquiring that item. Remember not to choose more than one item at a time from your want list.
4. Manage your cash flow with money tracking apps
One reason why you might be poor at saving might be because you don’t know the amount of money coming in and out – your cash flow.
Some people just know how much they earn, but they do not track how this money is spent. If you want to buy something from the grocery store you just go without having a budget or a plan.
They are tools like money management apps that you can use to make things much easier. With these apps you can create a budget and even plan your savings.
All you have to do is sync in your bank account and this apps will take care of the rest for you.
If you are not good with money or tracking finances then you should definitely get one of these apps.
5. Set SMART goals
I mentioned earlier that without a reason or a goal it would be impossible for you to save well.
Most of the time just having a reason might not even be enough. Just because you know you want to save up for retirement doesn’t mean you would actually save. This is where SMART goals come into action.
It is SMART goals that will help you to take the required step and effort and get your savings on track.
Saying I want to save up for retirement isn’t a SMART goal. An example of a smart goal is, “I want to have up $10000 saved up before I am 50.” Now you have a number (goal) that you can actively work towards.
The main aim of creating a SMART goal is so that you can have something to track. It will show whether you are making any progress or not.
If you have current financial goals that are ambiguous, streamline and turn them into SMART efficient goals.
6. Track your expenses
If you do not know how to track your expenses or even manage money properly you would continue to spend irresponsibly.
The formula that you should be looking for is spending as little as you can while having a high income. Without tracking your income you would not be able to regulate your expenses.
Tracking expenses becomes very easy with money tracking tools I mentioned earlier in the article. These apps make it very easy for you to track how much you spend every month.
7. Learn the art of negotiation
There is a good chance spending more than you should do on services you use. Salespeople have learnt the art of ripping customers off.
Learn how to negotiate for the services you pay for. Just because someone tells you to buy something for $10 doesn’t mean you can’t haggle a little. Reducing the price even by just $2 is another $2 you can add to your savings account.
Saving money when you buy items means that you have more money to save.
To get started with this, itemize all the expenses that you make use of every month from the most expensive to do least. Start calling the service providers for these items and see if you can see if you can get a reduction on this expenses. If you fail to get a good deal the first time, you can always try again.
There is service called Trim, that can make all these negotiations on your behalf.
The points to take from this is that you can always improve the current price you are paying for a particular service.
8. Automate your savings
There are times when these bad money habits have become so ingrained in us that we can’t even trust ourselves to save money anymore.
If you are in these shoes, the best solution for you is to automate your savings.
You can work with your employer to send a particular amount of your salary directly to another account. You can also open an external savings account that can cause you a little time and effort before you can get access to the money. So whenever you are paid your sign for the month, your money is saved automatically.
Most of those money apps also can be set to withdraw a certain amount of money automatically and placed in a separate account.
9. Learn how to be frugal with money
It is okay to spend money on things that make you happy. But when you are saving and notice that you are not even making any progress in your goals, it is about time you take a different approach.
I am not a big fan of frugality when it is on the extreme side, but there are different levels of frugality. If you are having a hard time saving, you can cut off some certain things in your life.
For example, instead of paying for subscription based services, you can look for free services that offer similar products.
The good news is that you would not have to be frugal forever. Once you have improved your savings and finances, you can go back to using those services that you love so much.
10. Stop using a credit card
The reasons why majority of us cannot save as much as we like is because of the amount of debts we have.
And one of the quickest way to rack up debts is by having a credit card
The average credit card debt is around $16000. That is a whole lot of money. And the best solution to not having this amount of debt is by avoiding a credit card all together.
Just forget about earning points. Those points would not matter when you have a ton of debt years down the line.
11. Review your progress daily
It is important that you review how much progress you have made in your finances everyday. You can do this before you go to bed at night.
One easy way to do this without any stress, is by making use of money tracking apps. You can also set a reminder once every week to do a thorough review.
Once you’ve made reviewing your finances a habit, you’ll be able to save more. One way to make this fun is by giving yourself a little treat whenever you reach a goal.
12. Do not be ashamed to make use of coupons
It is not only when you are broke that you should make use of coupons. Coupons aren’t made for a specific set of people.
Developing the habit of using coupons will help you save a ton of money.
A good trick that you can use is, instead of shopping for your groceries and searching for the coupons that you can use, review the coupons that are available and buy the items that are on sale for that week.
Even if you can save just $5 every week, that is an additional $5 you can put in your savings account.
13. Pack your own lunch
If you look at the amount of money you spend every day on your lunch, it might not look so much. But when you calculate $10 every afternoon for 10 days you realise that you spent a total of $100. If you took just $50 out of that $10o to prepare lunch you would have save an extra 50
Not only would you save an extra $50 you will also get to eat a more healthy meal than usually will.
You can make this task easy by prepping the meals that you will eat during the weekend so that you will not have to do any serious cooking during the week
14. Use tools to delete junk mails
Do you ever open your mails and see a ton of advertisement and from companies that you did not even subscribe to.
Companies spend a lot of money on sending bulk emails to intending customers so that they can attract them to make a buy.
To save yourself from this temptation, it is best unsubscribe for all these kind of emails. Doing this manually might take a lot of time and effort but you can make this easy by making use of services like unroll.me that can help you to automatically unsubscribe from any kind of promotional email.
15. Adopt the 30-day rule
Have you ever made a purchase and regret eat after some days?
To avoid this, whenever there’s an item you want to buy and it is not very urgent wait for 30 days before you do.
If after 30 days you did not feel like you still need that item then do not buy it. This way you have saved yourself spending a lot of money buying an item you would not need 30 days after.
16. Manage your time efficiently
The one resource that you cannot buy with money is time. You have to learn how to manage your time efficiently. If you are not efficient with time management it will be difficult for you to save.
It is not a bad thing to spend time watching movies or or hanging out with friends. The problem with this comes when this is what you do 90% of your time.
You should spend more than 70% of your time doing things that productive then you can use the remaining 30% having fun.
If you are already wealthy and are okay financially, there is no problem spending most of the time having fun. But since you are reading this article and looking for ways you can save money and improve your money habits, it is important that you are productivity with your time.
It’s only when you are productive with your time that you can earn enough to save.
Like money you can also track your time. Tracking how much time you spend everyday.
You can use time tracking tool to track how much time you spend everyday on activities so that you can become an efficient time manager.
18. Improve your financial knowledge
One of the reasons why the majority of people cannot save more is because they have poor financial knowledge.
Some people do not know that if you invest $1000 in an investment fund, you can have more than double or triple the money initially invested few years down the line. So they will rather put their money in a savings account that have a very little interest.
You do not have to be a financial expert or even get a degree in finance, all you need is to just understand the basic fundamentals of growing your finances.
You can read this article I wrote on growing financially and you can also look for books on finances. Learn the principles that are discussed there and apply it to your daily life.
18. Learn on the go
Now it is very easy to learn on the go. You can listen to podcast on business, money finances, and inspire yourself on how to grow financially.
These podcasts would help educate you on essential money habits that you should develop.
You can listen to these podcasts anywhere. You can listen to them in your car, you can listen to them while you work and even on the treadmill at the gym.
When you get accustomed to all these principles, you would be able to develop essential money habits that can help you to save more.
19. Know what you want to do with the money you have saved up
Saving money is one thing, the second part is knowing how you can use that saved money efficiently.
Even if you don’t know what to do with the money, at least make sure that your money is getting a high APY ( Annual Percentage Yield).
Research online on the best banks that give the highest competitive saving rates.
The second important step to do is to open different savings account for your different goals. You can then use your money tracking apps to efficiently track them.
20. Improve your money skills
You can put a limit on how much you save due to your income but you cannot put a limit on how much you can earn. This is why it is important for you to find a side income.
Find an additional means in which you can augment your income and increase how much you earn every month. The more you earn, the more you can save.
Check this article on over 50 home based business ideas you can try out.
You can also check this list on 70 ways you can make money online.
Lastly if you are interested in starting your own blog, this is a complete guide on how to start a blog and earn money online as a blogger.
Saving money isn’t a very easy thing to do. Most of the money habits that you know now are habits that you are develop from childhood.
It would be very unrealistic for you to expect to change in a very short time. The best thing you can do is to choose one and start with it.
You would make progress daily, one step at a time and with significant determination and focus, you would be able to save more.
Starting small would be the foundation on which you will use to grow.
Most importantly saving will help you reduce stress because you will think less about future problems. You will also realise that you’ll be much happier and more fulfilled in life.