5 easy ways to start saving money today

Friday, May 5, 2017



General consensus among friends is that we're not all that great with money. No matter what our income is, we all seem to be living outside of our means. Maybe it's just by a little, or maybe you're racking up credit card bills so quickly that you're considering having that little pay-wave chip inserted directly into your fingertip. Reality is that we're all spending too much and not saving enough. When you're in a puddle of debt it can be hard to find a way to crawl out. I've put together a list of ways that you can start saving money right this instant, the first in an upcoming series of money articles to help you figure out your finances.

See below for five easy ways to start saving money today:

1. Unsubscribe from mailing lists
The whole point of mailing lists is to get you to impulse buy, they're designed solely for this reason. If big, flashy '20%' off headers or 'Limited Edition' plastered across your screen is tempting to you, scroll further down to the bottom of the email and click that 'Unsubscribe' button. You won't forget to buy new jeans when you need them or a new mascara when you're running low, you don't need emails tempting you.
2. Assess your spending
Open your bank account online and start scrolling. I find it helpful to keep an excel spreadsheet open at the same time and start entering the amounts I've spent in each category (clothes, eating out, etc) excluding regular household bills. When you start adding up how much you're spending each month on things like take away coffee, frivolous clothes purchases and buying lunch, you can really assess what you're doing with your money. That doesn't mean that you need to stop buying a coffee each morning if that is something that brings you joy, but being conscious of how it impacts your savings it is important.

3. Set a goal
It's easy to spend when you don't know what you're saving for. Maybe you want to buy a car or a home, maybe you want to spend 4 weeks in Europe, maybe you just want to be able to upgrade a kitchen appliance. Whatever it is that you're saving for, start putting it into the front of your spending habits. Keep a picture of what you're saving for on your refrigerator, inside your wallet, tape it to your credit card, do whatever you need to do to keep your savings goal in the front of your mind. Open a savings account and pay for that goal before you make any unnecessary purchases.

4. Shop your stash
Whenever I open a conversation about money with friends, the same two biggest spending culprits rear their heads. Groceries and fashion. It seems that no matter how overflowing our closet or make up drawers are or how many shelves of non-perishable grocery items we have, we just keep spending. Start saving by shopping in your own pantry or closet. Make a menu for the week out of items that you already have in your pantry, with the exception of a few fresh veggies. Pull out clothes that you haven't worn in a while and start putting outfits together to wear throughout the week. Mix up what you already have whenever you feel like buying something new.

5. Do a cash-only cleanse
At least once a month, I do a cash-only cleanse for a week. I take out the exact amount of money that I am allowed to spend on food, petrol, incidentals, etc and keep it in my wallet. Being able to see exactly how much money you've spent and how much you have left for the rest of the week gives a good insight into how conscious you are of your spending. The first time I did a cash-cleanse I had less than $15 left by Wednesday. If I was just waving a credit card around it wouldn't have occurred to me how much money I'd already spent in only a few days.

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