How to Save Money
Six Mindful Spending Habits That Will Help You Save Big
You’ve probably heard time and time again that you should be spending less and saving more for that proverbial “rainy day.” There’s also a pretty good chance that you’ve told yourself you will start spending less and saving more today, next week, next month or even next year. If this sounds familiar, you’re in good company. According to FNBO’s 2019 Savings Survey, 53 percent of respondents indicated they are living paycheck to paycheck and 26 percent attribute the high cost of living as to why they can’t save as much as they would like. Additionally, FNBO’s recent Millennials and Money Survey indicated that 72 percent of millennials admit they spend more money per month than they should.
Regardless of your age or financial situation, there is no time like the present to cut spending and start saving more. The good news is it can be done without feeling like you’re depriving yourself of all of the things you enjoy. In fact, following these six easy and mindful spending habits can lead you to big savings in no time.
- Create a Budget
Creating a budget and sticking to it is one of the best ways to ensure you aren’t spending too much or saving too little. But according to our Millennials and Money Survey, only 44 percent of millennials have a budget that they stick to.
Setting a budget is easy. Make a list of all of your income sources (paychecks, pension, side jobs, etc.) and all of your fixed monthly expenses (mortgage/rent payment, car payment, insurance payment, phone bill, etc.). The amount that is left over is what you could put into savings and/or spend as you wish. Once you decide on how much you will put into savings each month, the rest can be used for whatever your heart desires. Just be sure to track your spending so you don’t spend more than your allotted amount. If you have any money left over, add it to your savings account.
- Avoid Unplanned Purchases
Even with a budget, making spur-of-the-moment purchases can have a big impact on your wallet. According to a recent Slickdeals survey, respondents spent an average of $450 per month on unplanned purchases. This adds up to $5,400 annually and could equate to $324,000 over the course of a lifetime! The top purchases made impulsively were on food and groceries, clothing, household items, takeout and shoes. Avoid unnecessary spending by:
- Making Lists
Make a list of everything you need to buy before going shopping and stick to it. If you come across an item that isn’t on your list, think twice before you putting it in your cart. Do you really need it or could you save yourself some cash by going without it? Consider shopping online, if possible. Doing so can help ensure you stick to your list because you aren’t tempted by other items in the store.
- Shopping on a Full Stomach
Avoid overspending at the grocery store by shopping on a full stomach. A growling stomach has a funny way of getting you to splurge on food items you normally wouldn’t purchase. A full tummy could lead to an even fuller wallet in the long run.
- Sleeping On It
Make a deal with yourself to set a 24- to 48-hour waiting period before making an unplanned purchase, especially if it has a higher price tag. If after the waiting period you still think you need that item and have the money in your budget to afford it, then you will be less likely to regret the purchase and its impact on your wallet later.
- Remember, There is Always a Deal
The Slickdeals survey reports that 64 percent of respondents shop impulsively if there is a deal on the table. Just remember, if something catches your eye that would be an unplanned purchase or you can’t afford it, think again before purchasing it. Chances are the same or better deal will pop up in the future when you really need it or can afford it. Don’t allow fear of missing out to have a negative impact on your wallet.
- Prepare Your Own Meals
It’s no secret that eating out, ordering take-out or having meal kits delivered to your home is more expensive than preparing your own meals. But just how much more may surprise you. According to a recent study by Forbes, it’s almost five times more expensive to order a meal from a restaurant ($20.37) than it is to cook that same meal from scratch at home ($4.31). While a little more affordable, the same study also concluded that it is nearly three times more expensive to have that same meal delivered to your home as a food kit, with an average cost of $12.53.
While a $20 meal (per person in your household) a couple of times a week may not seem like much, it can really add up over the course of a year. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends about $3,459 per year eating out. That means if the average household reduced how much they ate out by 50 percent, they could save more than $1,700 per year!
- Buy Generic Brands
When making purchases, consider opting for generic or store brand items instead of the name brand options. Consumer Reports states that store brand items are often of equal or greater quality with prices that are 15 to 30 percent less. That can add up to significant savings over time.
- Take Advantage of Sales, Coupons and Apps
There’s a good chance you know someone who claims they never pay full price for anything. While that person certainly is smart in their thinking it may not be feasible to make sure everything you buy is purchased at a discount. However, taking advantage of sales, store coupons and discount codes from websites and apps can help ensure you are getting the best bang for your buck whenever possible.
- Take Advantage of Financial Windfalls.
Receiving a bonus at work, an unexpected inheritance, a tax return or a long-forgotten repayment from a friend may seem like the time to splurge, but putting a portion or all of that extra money into your savings will help you build your savings faster. Plus, should you have to cover a financial emergency in the future, you will be happy you refrained from splurging on unnecessary items.
Reducing spending to increase your savings potential doesn’t have to be painful. Setting a budget, being mindful of how you spend your money, and taking advantage of financial windfalls can really help you increase your savings in no time. We’re here to help! A Personal Banker from FNBO can help you set up a savings account and assist you in tracking your savings along the way.