15 Easy Ways to Save Money Without Misery
A dollar saved is a dollar earned. Saving money can be a challenging yet rewarding process. Although it requires an enormous amount of discipline and sacrifice, if you have big meaningful goals to achieve, you are putting your money to good use. The more you can save, the quicker you can be debt-free, stress-free and financially free.
Remember that there are plenty of high-earning workers that spend all they have and are heavily in debt. Therefore, it doesn’t matter how much you earn. Wealth is achieved by saving and spending less than you earn.
Here are 15 simple yet effective ways you can save money without misery:
(1) Create a Budget and Track Expenses
You need to know where your money goes in order to manage it well and achieve your goals. A budget allows you to see where you are spending your money and to identify areas for savings. It is easier than it sounds. With the use of mobile apps, you can create a budget and track expenses effortlessly.
(2) Create an Automatic Savings System
Make savings easy. An automated system will help you save with minimal effort. Here are some ideas to automate your savings:
- Automatic bank transfers – set up a regular payment transfer, such as $50 into an online savings account every week.
- $5 system – every time you come across a $5 bill, save it towards a specific goal. This is a useful is you are paying things for cash and receiving change.
- Coin Jar – put coins and spare change into a jar and watch it build over time.
(3) File Your Statements and Receipts
Look for anything out of the ordinary, such as bank fees and unknown withdrawals. You don’t want to be charged for things you don’t need. File all your important receipts, such as tax deductions and large purchases for warranty and returns. By keeping your receipts, you will save tax and avoid trouble from the tax office.
(4) Pay Bills on Time
Not paying your bills on time can have some serious consequences now and in the future. It can attract late fees and affect your credit score. Payment history is the biggest factor in your credit rating, and this determines how much you can borrow and at what interest rate. Interest is a large expense, and so paying bills on time can save you hundreds to thousands of dollars in interest payments for future loans. Using direct debit to pay for bills is a great way to automate payments so you don’t forget about them.
(5) Plan Your Shopping Trip
Disciplined spending is the best way to save money when going shopping. Here are some shopping tips to avoid impulse buys:
- Take a shopping list with you and a limited amount of cash
- Go shopping when you are in a hurry
- Plan out your meals and groceries
- Focus on essentials first, and luxuries last
- Buy generic products. Buy the product, not the brand.
- Consider buying used products or renting it
- Delay purchases over $200 (or whatever you want) to force yourself to think twice
(6) Do Your Research
If you are looking to buy something, go shopping but don’t take any money with you. This will encourage you to shop around and look for the best deals, rather than buying on impulse.
Plenty of people and organisations value your loyalty and want your business. You can negotiate a better salary, cheaper rent, car discounts, and a lower phone bill. It doesn’t hurt to ask. A simple 5 minute call can save you a lot.
(8) You Don’t Need Money to Have Fun
Although saving money limits what you can do, there are a hundred ways to have fun without spending a dollar. Find cheap ways to entertain yourself and your friends, rather than “buying” entertainment. For example, have a picnic or barbecue, spend a day at the beach, play a sport, learn something new, volunteer, play games, go cycling or swimming.
(9) Take Care of Yourself and Your Things
Most people don’t have the time and money to be sick. Health costs and insurance are expensive. Your money is best used for other purposes. Prevention is not only the best cure, but it will save you A LOT of money as well. Exercising, eating well and staying positive are great ways to prevent expensive health issues. Repairs and maintenance are often cheaper than replacements. Take care of your possessions, particularly your home and car.
(10) Get Financial Advice
Financial advisors can help you make the most of your money. Their knowledge on loan consolidations, tax planning, retirement planning, and investment advice are all helpful in getting your financial world in order, whilst saving you money in the long-term. However, bad financial advice can be costly, so make sure you hire a reputable and trusted advisor.
(11) Challenge Yourself
You are more likely to get things done if you set goals and a deadline, and have a supportive team around you. Be clear on what you want, but more importantly why you want it. Tell others about your intentions and find people with the same goals. You can go faster by yourself, but further as a team.
(12) Discipline Yourself
Success requires hard work and discipline. Since saving is relatively easy, discipline is the single most important thing you need to achieve your goals. Learn to say no and never give up. Other than 5 years ago, the best time to save is right now. Replace instant gratification with delayed gratification. Develop your good financial habits to change your financial destiny. Nothing good ever came easy. It is easy to put yourself in a bad situation, but hard to get yourself out.
(13) Remind Yourself
Saving is a long and tedious process. There will be hard times and times when you want to give up. However, you will need to be continuously motivated. Here are some tips to remind you to save and make wise financial decisions:
- Tape a note, goal, quote or photo around your credit card (my favourite tip)
- Write your goals or a quote on your bathroom mirror
- Reflect on the benefits that saving will have for you in the future
(14) Reward Yourself
Although saving can be difficult and can sap the fun out of your life, it is important to reward yourself after achieving a savings goal, or making a good financial decision. This will make you feel good and encourage you to save more. Here are some ways you can reward yourself:
- Make your goal enjoyable
- For a holiday – get room service, upgrade, or dine out
- For a car – get premium upgrades and customise it
- Celebrate with family and friends
- Take them out for dinner
- Give them gifts
- Donate a part of your savings to charity
- The secret to living is giving
- Learn something new
- language, instrument, read a book
- Take your mind off money for a while. Relax.
- Life is much more than savings and investments. Do what you love and have fun, because you deserve it.
(15) Thank Yourself
After all that sacrifice, hard work and success, you want to make sure it was worth it. In most cases, it is worth it. Your future self would likely be happy with what you set out to achieve. Thank yourself for not giving up, focusing on the long-term and taking action to improve your financial future.
Although saving and building your wealth can be challenging and rewarding, it is important to recognise that money is not everything. There is more to life than return on investment, and compounding interest. You can be rich and unhappy, and be happy and poor. Money is only a means, not a means to an end. More money should never be the goal or reason to save.
However, money does provide a path to a better future. Therefore, think big. Saving as much as you can allows you to do things you couldn’t before. It is the most important to thing to do to achieve wealth, health and happiness.
What are your thoughts? I am interested to know why you save, and how you save. Comment below.