It feels like you’ve tried every method in the book. You’ve set a budget, cut back on watching television, and eat out only twice a month. All these sacrifices should amount to substantial savings, but it doesn’t. What could you be doing wrong?
Most people who attempt to save money usually look at the big expenses first, and there’s nothing wrong with that. The problem is that they stop there. This often means missing out on the small details of your daily life that amount to high costs in the long run. If you have a nagging feeling that this is what’s holding you back, it’s time to address these habits.
You Don’t Keep a Money Diary
How are you sure you’re making progress if you don’t track your expenses? Keeping a money diary is a great way for you to know exactly how much money is coming in and going out. It can be a lot of work, and it does require discipline to accomplish, but the results will astound you. Itemizing your expenses makes it easier to determine the little, unnecessary purchases that need fixing.
Some of the primary culprits that people find are also some of the most typical: bottled water, Starbucks coffee, and the regular pastry on your way home. It’s easy to dismiss these as small luxuries that don’t affect your finances when in truth, they do. A money diary will make this fact apparent. It will also show you how bringing your own water, coffee, and snacks can add a significant amount to your savings over time.
You Don’t Recycle and Upcycle
If you stop and look around your house right now, you’ll find items you can either reuse or upcycle. Some of these items include old clothes, containers, paper clips, and even old suitcases. There’s no limit to what you can do to repurpose and upcycle seemingly useless household items to save money.
You can also make it a habit to purchase items that you can recycle, like eco-friendly bags. Several reputable companies in different states produce these bags in high quality for affordable prices. That’s not to mention the multitude of designs and functions to choose from. You’ll not only save money and Mother Earth; you’ll also do it in style.
You Don’t Motivate Yourself
Saving money doesn’t need to feel like self-inflicted torture. When it starts to feel that way, it’s a sign that you’re not doing it right. There’s no greater danger than demotivation to ruin your plans, so before that happens, you might want to include small rewards into your budget.
Little treats and rewards only become a burden when you don’t plan them. Emotional and spur-of-the-moment purchases are often expensive and lead to buyer’s remorse. The trick is to set milestones and decide in advance how you’ll celebrate them. Did you save a hundred dollars more than you anticipated? Such an achievement warrants an afternoon in your favorite cafe, reading your favorite novel. How about when you finally reach your annual savings goal? Book an affordable staycation, or spend your designated rewards budget on that new couch you’ve always wanted. When you have something to look forward to, saving becomes less of a burden and more of a thrilling challenge.
Do What Works for You
The journey to saving money is different for everyone. What works for your friends might not work for you. Acknowledge that trial-and-error is a part of it, and never stop looking for ways to improve your game. The more good habits you develop, whether big or small, the better your chances of achieving your money goals.