Saving money can be a lofty goal. It seems easy to do (just don’t spend money!), but without a plan of some sort, it’s almost impossible. Between the monthly expenses like utilities, rent, and groceries, it may seem like your hands are tied when it comes to cutting down on costs. Many of us quickly get overwhelmed when thinking about money, setting a budget, and sticking to it. The good news is that with just a few easy lifestyle changes it can be easy to cut back on spending and reduce your monthly costs. And January is the perfect time to start!
Cut Back or Quit Vices
When you think of vices to quit in the new year you may only think about smoking or drinking, but everyone has their “thing” they could reduce or quit to save money in the new year. For example, how many sugary sodas do you drink every week? Or how many times do you stop for fast food instead of cooking for yourself? Save some money and get a little healthier at the same time by cutting back or quitting cold turkey. Your body and wallet will thank you.
Avoid Instant Gratification
Similar to vices, it’s a good idea to cut back on instant gratification. In today’s day and age we’re used to anything we could ask for being a click away. Depending on where you live, you can even have your groceries delivered to your door! One issue with online shopping, though, is there’s less time to think about cost and budget while you’re clicking away. If you’re an avid online shopper with a tendency for impulse buying, a good habit to get into is create a shopping cart then leave it for 24-48 hours. If you’re logged in the items will stay in the cart, and you can be more intentional in your purchases. After a day or two, if you still feel like you need those items click the purchase button!
Use Online Bill Pay
While you’re online check and see if any of your monthly statements can switch to paperless or autopay. Many companies offer incentives to avoid paper bills, and you’ll cut back on the mail that will just end up in the trash. By setting up autopay you’ll also avoid forgetting a payment and save on potential late fees. It’s a win/win/win for your mailbox, your wallet, and the environment!
Admittedly, there are some things that are worth the extra money for the name brand, but in most cases an easy way to save money is to pick the store or generic brand while at the store. You can also check out online options like Brandless or Boxed that specialize in bringing you cost-effective items by cutting out the middleman and taking a wholesale approach, respectively. You don’t need to cut out all your splurges, just compare costs and be more aware of spending so you’re not surprised when you get to the register.