Saving money, like losing weight, exercising more, and donating time and money to worthy charities, is one of those things that always seems like a wise idea and a good thing to do, but somehow never quite gets off the ground. Call it another victim for the “Shoulda, Coulda, Woulda” file.
Sure, sometimes saving money is an impractical thing under certain circumstances. If you’re barely making enough to stay afloat, yes, it’s hard to allocate money to an untouchable account for some nebulous purpose that may or may not come to pass. Not when there are so many awesome things readily available for purchase right this instant, right?
Here’s some ways that you can save more money and yet still enjoy a lifestyle that isn’t marred by that old killjoy, self-denial, not to mention being able to sock some money away for retirement. And as if these tactics aren’t enough, here’s an article called “5 Easy Ways to Save More Money” that builds on the initial batch of ideas.
It’s possible to save money yet still enjoy throwing a little cash around for fun
If your employer offers perks like 401K or IRA deductions, then by all means take them. This is smart for a number of reasons. First of all, many companies match those contributions. Second, your taxable income is calculated AFTER the deduction is made from your paycheck. This means you may actually end up having more money in your paycheck because your pay just dropped to a lower tax bracket! Finally, it’s a way of saving money that doesn’t require any effort on your part.
Do A Bucket Fund
This works best in the context of a couple. After both of you get paid, one partner withdraws, say, a 20 dollar bill, and stashes it in a location known only to that person. Repeat every pay period. This money remains untouched until the both of you want to do something fun, perhaps something on your bucket list (hence the clever name), and the cost will be invisible.
Look Into Customer Loyalty Programs
Take a good look at all of the frequent buyer programs/cards out there. For instance, I can open my wallet and see customer loyalty cards for Dunkin Donuts, PetSmart, Shell Fuel Rewards, Boston Beer Works, and Staples. Much in the way that your household budget can get nickel and dimed to death by a multitude of small expenses, you can also save a little here and a little there, thanks to these kinds of programs, and those savings will add up. For instance, the above mentioned cards will result in free coffee, free beer, cheaper (yet good quality) cat food, and having the price for gas knocked down a bit. Who can argue with this, especially the free beer part?
Analyze Your Habits, Figure Out a Cheaper Way
Perhaps you take a morning break from your job and amble down to the cafeteria or other food service outlet and buy a Coke and a bag of chips or maybe a cookie. That will cost, on the average, about $2.50. Now picture doing that every day of the working week. Now, consider this alternative: you buy a 12-pack of Coke for $3.00, and one of those snack-packs of the exact same chips for $3.00 also. For just $6.00, you have the same exact snack routine that will last you TWO WEEKS, otherwise known as ten work days. To accomplish this by using the first method, get ready to shell out $25.00. Since months have four weeks, double the savings. That’s $38 a month you save, while still having the exact same snack you’re used to.
That’s why it’s smart to write out your daily routines and habits, see where you’re spending money, and see if there’s a way to do it cheaper. Investing a few minutes in dissecting your lifestyle will pay dividends down the road.
If you want another approach, check out this article “How Do You Create A Budget That Works?” for some good budgeting advice. Or do an online search and you’ll find many more tips. But even if you just follow the tips listed above, you’ll not only be able to have your cake and eat it too, you’ll probably get the cake at a nice discount!
Kimberley Laws is a regular contributor to HowDoYou.com and the author of two blogs, The Embiggens Project and Searching for Barry Weiss. A "Jill of all trades," she is a High School English Teacher and Certified Career Counselor with a background in makeup artistry, retail banking, and graphic design. She is also a scrapbooking, PEZ-collecting, car enthusiast who loves travelling and New York City.
Sep 25, 2013 1
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