How Do I Save Money?
Don’t despair, there is a way.
If you find yourself constantly worrying about this, you’re not alone, I’ve been there too.
While there is little comfort in knowing this, I believe that you’ve already decided you’re going to make changes. Otherwise, you wouldn’t be reading this.
You’d be spending this time watching YouTube, or scrolling through social media, or your favorite time waster to distract yourself.
Only, defaulting back to that habit doesn’t work, it just makes the situation worse. I know, I’ve taken the ‘easy’ option myself, many time.
Yet, I’ve come to believe that all you need are a few pointers to get you started, small baby steps.
Consciously questioning my spending and, making small changes, is how I changed my attitude and money habits, for the better.
Taking those first steps gives some feeling of relief, and then positive momentum starts to kick in. You’re now on the road to improving your finances and how you feel about them. One step at a time.
How To Save Money Each Month
Take A Deep Breath
Crazy, over dramatic or, as touchy feely as this may seem, it’s an important first step. It’s simple, effective and difficult for many people to do. I get it.
But, if you want to successfully save and, improve your relationship with money, start by being kind to yourself.
No more beating yourself up, or constant playing regrets over and over in your head. It’s a waste of time and doesn’t feel good.
Each time you start down the worry path, stop and do your best to reach for a better feeling thought. Turn the negative into a positive, it makes a big difference in how you feel and then act.
Getting Down To It
1. Track Spending
Before you can save money, you need to know where and what you spend it on. There will be some waste in there, for sure.
If you’re not tracking this, you’ll likely be surprised at just how much spending small amounts adds up!
Start by tracking your daily spend. Write down your purchases and their cost, each time you spend money during the day, everyday.
Because actually writing things down is the best way to gain insights when you are starting out.
As I started doing this, I was pleasantly surprised. If I was just about to make another mindless purchase, eg. more makeup, shoes, cleaning supplies…(you get the picture) I didn’t need, I put the items back!
This actually stopped me heading into Target for an unplanned quick look. At one point, this detour happened roughly four times a week! However, these days, my Target shopping disorder is under control!
Check out my blog post on how I still get my Target fix and for FREE!
2. Satellite or Cable TV Subscription
We had satellite TV for as long as I can remember. My husband loves watching Jeopardy every night, he says it’s relaxing! Out of the hundreds of channels, that was the only program he was interested in and, PBS the only channel.
Initially, he was reluctant to cancel this service. That was, until I showed him how we could save over $2,000 a year by cancelling our satellite contract!
Now convinced, he purchased a $40 TV antenna from Amazon (great for receiving local over the air PBS channels). He also saved money by installing it himself. We also signed up for Netflix.
We went from paying $185 a month for satellite, to $10.99 a month to Netflix.
If you too are a satellite or cable subscriber, it’s worth reviewing. There could be substantial savings for you and hopefully like us, with little to no inconvenience. Fortunately, we were out of contract, so we didn’t have to pay a hefty termination fee.
Your provider will be able to tell you, how much, if anything, termination will cost. You’ll need to factor this into the timing decision for when to cancel. This will help you plan accordingly.
3. Gym Membership
Honestly, I always intended to go! I kept paying $19.95 a month to the gym thinking, next week I’ll be better and I’ll make it there.
Never happened. I did drive by it regularly, smiling and waving enthusiastically to those breaking a sweat!
Finally, I was honest with myself after two years (cringe…) and $500 poorer, I called up and cancelled! There was no fuss, no hard sell, they just cancelled it. It was that simple.
If you’re paying for a gym membership, even one that costs $9 a month and you don’t go, consider cancelling. That’s a saving of over $100 a year. Even more, when you cut out the cost of cute water bottles and fitness gear you’d be tempted to buy.
I didn’t give up on the goal of exercising daily, I just got honest with myself about my costly habits. Instead, I paid attention to the routines I’d already adopted, that do actually work for me and, my schedule.
They’re simple daily habit’s I’ve had all along and they’re free. Every day I walk my two wee dogs and then go for a longer walk myself. 10,000 steps a day is my goal and I monitor these with the free FitBit app on my iPhone.
If you are also a walker, check out the free FitBit app, it might be perfect for you too.
4. Hairdresser Visits for Cut And Color
If like me you color your hair, you know how expensive that can be. Good news, I found a way to save money while not obsessing over roots (grays for me) growing and showing.
I started logging each expensive ‘hair do’ into that day’s Spend Tracker. That led me to deciding to wait longer between appointments.
My old routine was to have my hair colored and cut every six to seven weeks. On an average year that’s 8 visits.
My average cost per visit:
- $200 plus $50 tip (I love my hairdresser, what can I say) x 8 visits = $2,000
I now stretch appointments out to 11-12 weeks (…I know, it’s pushing it). This means only 4 visits a year and a cost saving of $1,000 and 8 hours plus of my time.
12 weeks might be too long for you, but seriously consider if you can go wait longer between appointments. Even if it’s one visit a year you cut out, that’s more money in your savings.
Of course, my roots grow out so I cover them with L’Oreal Root Magic Cover Up, in Dark Blonde. It does the job and costs $9.99. Sometimes you can find a $1 off coupon by Googling it.
Just the slightest spray at the roots and they are covered perfectly. There is no stickiness or residue and it stays in until your next shampoo.
I even use it right after my hair has been colored. Because, it makes my hair look thicker at the parting. My hairdresser now uses it on her own hair too!
5. Cell Phone Upgrade
It’s easy to be tempted by the annual cell phone release. That’s an expensive hobby, so just say NO!
A new cell phone is an expensive item. There’s usually little to distinguish it from the one that was just traded in.
In the past, I upgraded my iPhone with every new release. That was, until the iPhone 6 Plus came out.
That was my favorite iPhone. She had the perfect screen size, did I everything I needed her to and was slim and sleek. No new release tempted me, all the way up to the X, XS or XR!
Sadly, I had to let her go and trade her in. She no longer functioned the way she once did. She started acting like a space cadet, doing whatever she wanted, moving the keys all by herself. Sad, but true.
I got $200 Trade In value for her at the Apple store, which helped pay for the new XR.
Anyway, the point being, holding onto that phone vs trading up needlessly, easily saved another $1,000. If you can hold onto your phone, it can be a substantial saving, with little to zero inconvenience.
5 Easy Steps To Savings of $4,500!
Each step I outlined above easily saved $4,500+.
The savings came from:
- Daily Spend Tracker (not quantifiable, but definitely reduced spending)
- Cancelling Gym Membership $ 500
- Ditching Cable TV $2,000
- Less Frequent Visits for Cut and Color $1,000
- Keeping Cell Phone vs Trading Up $1,000
- GRAND TOTAL $4,500
The opportunities to save may not be the exact same for your circumstances. However, there will most likely be something you can change.
5 Things You Can Do Today
- Monthly Subscriptions: Check your bank account and Paypal for charges (eg. satellite, cable, Audible, BeautyBox, Apple).
- Annual Subscriptions: Check your bank account and Paypal for charges (eg. Amazon Prime (we both paid for this separately at one point!), State Parks).
- Gym Memberships: If you use it and get your money’s worth, great. If not, it’s probably time to cut the cord.
- Hair Cut & Color: Decide if you can extend intervals between visits. If so, schedule next appointment accordingly.
- Use The Daily Spend Tracker.This definitely saved me money. Because, when I think about buying some non essential and having to write it down, I put it back. The visual format of the Daily Spend Tracker just sticks out in my mind. It’s convenient too, I carry one sheet at a time, folded, in my wallet.
Using A Daily Spend Tracker Is Simple & Savvy
If you do nothing else right now, download my free Daily Spend Tracker. Print it and keep a copy in your wallet.
Start using it from today. Think about adding non essential spending to it, BEFORE making each purchase. It worked like magic for me, just carrying it encouraged me put items back vs buying them!
Let me know if it works well for you too and saves you money.
Print Out & Start Using Today : The Daily Spend Tracker (no email required)