With the New Year quickly approaching many are planning out their resolutions for 2018. Saving money is always at the top and so I thought I would share some of my advice on how I have saved money in the past. While many of my friends and family may laugh at the idea of me writing this post, my University degree in Finance and Economics has taught me a few tips and tricks for making my money go further (believe it or not); being raised by a financial whiz did not hinder me either.
- Create a budget… and stick to it. This one is important because you need to have an understanding of what you have coming in and what is going out. It will likely take a solid three months to fully understand what you spend money on and where you can save/cut costs. Every time I have operated without a budget, I quickly spend beyond what I wanted because it is so easy to forget how quickly things add up.
- Have a separate savings account… or in my case three. I have found that having an everyday accessible saving account is beneficial, but also on top of that, I have two others: a retirement saving account and a tax-free saving account. These latter two both require me to contact the third party before I can get access to them, which allows me to really lock in the money, and the retirement one even penalizes me for taking money out early. I deposit into all of these on a monthly basis, even if it is something as small as $50.
- Stop buying coffee… or other avoidable costs. This one became a big one for me during University when I would be buying three large coffee’s a day and over $120 a month was gone. I instead invested in an amazing coffee maker and a good thermos for taking coffee with me. Now I still love going for the odd coffee, but this for me is also the experience of enjoying time in a cozy coffee shop (no Starbucks here). Most days I make it and take it myself (this can be applied to any little expense, they add up quickly over time).
- Sleep on it… or wait 24 hours. While it is no doubt I have a clothing addiction (currently in the process of reeling this in for 2018), the one way I managed to get it “under” control is by sleeping on it. I can not tell you how many avoidable “spur of the moment” pieces I have foregone by waiting 24 hours before purchasing it.
- Further to this point, I also ask myself: Do I need it? Do I have something like it? Is it adding value to my wardrobe/home/life? Will it be used for many years to come?
- Buy quality. This was one that I started to implement on clothing when I was in High School and I have since implemented it in other areas of my life. The pieces that I own, whether it be clothing or household items etc., that I forked a bit more cash on have in turn resulted in better long-term purchases and lasted me years. Yes, there are things I wasted money on thinking it was “worth it”, but for the most part spending a bit more on a quality purchase has saved me tons in forgoing the repurchase spiral on cheaper items.
- I am also not saying to go buy those designer sky-high heels you’ll wear once, I did that and it did not turn out well. I am talking about purchases that will last (and stay in style) for years to come and you will repeatedly use; think staple items.
- Unless there is generic. Some people may completely disagree with me on this one but I am 100% convinced that the difference between Tylenol & Acetaminophen is so miniscule my body is likely not smart enough to tell the difference. On the day to day consumption items, I always enable the phrase “be like a hipster” and don’t buy the common brands, the $2 saved here and there adds up.