Whether you’re preparing for a big purchase or tightening your belt during a rough patch, saving money is a good idea. There are plenty of big ways to keep more money in your financial accounts, but here are some smaller ones that add up to more than you expect.
Keep an eye on it
It’s hard to commit to change if you’re not tracking your spending habits. Guest contributor Brittney Castro tells CNBC that you should plan to sit down once a week and look at all of your financials, such as credit card charges, outstanding bills and other concerns. Making time to analyze your cash will help you find small ways you overspend before they catch up with you at the end of the month.
You probably have bought something recently and then realized soon after that you’ve made a mistake. To make sure that you spend your hard-earned dollars on things you will actually use or appreciate, Paula Pant of The Balance suggests using delayed gratification. Look at the item and make sure it’s something you truly need. If possible, take at least a day before you make a purchase to ensure it’s not something you’ll regret later.
Curb the treats
When you were a little kid, your parents might have given you a reward after you did something really well, like getting your vaccines or earning a top grade in school. That means your brain is trained to treat yourself if you’re upset or particularly happy. This isn’t always a good thing for your budget, and Pant suggests cutting down on this behavior as much as possible. Instead of getting yourself a reward that costs money, she says you should do something for free, like connect with loved ones.
Restrict online shopping
Online shopping makes it easier than ever to buy what you don’t need, and that takes a toll on your financial accounts. You might find it hard to cut it completely out of your life, especially if you use online delivery for essentials during COVID-19, but Courtney Jespersen of NerdWallet says you should make it more inconvenient to shop online. If possible, turn off the automatic buy button on Amazon, and don’t let other sites you use remember your shipping address or payment method. You might be surprised how few impulse buys you make if you have to walk to your wallet and dig out a credit card every time you want to make a purchase.
You’re not alone if a large portion of your spending goes to eating out. It’s easy to suggest that you cut that line item down to size, but the reality is that eating out is one of the most common ways to socialize with friends and professional connections. If possible, consider ordering an appetizer instead of a full entree or split a favorite dish with others to keep your bill low.
Saving money takes some sacrifices to be sure, but there are some little steps you can take now to make your efforts have a bigger impact.