This is a question that I’ve been dealing with myself recently. I’ve recently changed jobs and with the final payment from my previous employer added to my new income streams, it seems like I have more money coming in. But at the same time, I now seem to be spending more. I have been suffering from a false sense of security which I have only just realized so am now taking a step back to look more seriously at my own personal finances. All the “tips” that I discuss here are based upon my own experiences and are the steps that I have myself taken to improve the percentage of my income that I actually save.
Everyone’s income level is going to be slightly different. I certainly don’t make enough to not have to worry about how much I’m spending. But to give this discussion some actual figures, I have managed to spend over $5,000 in the last month. Now this includes things like rent, health insurance and taxes. However it’s still a fair bit more than I can really afford to be spending. So even though I’ve recently been feeling good about money, I’ve realized that if I don’t reign in my spending, I’ll easily burn through all my savings.
Tips on How to Save Money
The first thing that I recommend you do if you’re wanting to save more money is to sit down with a pen and some paper and write down all your monthly expenses such as rent/mortgage, utility bills, internet access, insurance, car loan, credit cards, etc. as well as things like food, clothing and entertainment. Just knowing how much you are actually spending is an important first step to be able to reduce the amount of money that you spend and start saving more.
In my case, I found that my budget never really took into account my credit card repayments. I pay off my card every month and this is something that always negatively impacts my bank balance. Clearing the debt is a good idea but what I’m now realizing is that throughout the month I use my card too liberally. Thinking more carefully before whipping out the plastic will certainly serve me well.
You can find plenty of sites online that discuss how to save money with coupons. This isn’t something that I’ve really looked into myself. Provided the coupons themselves are free, it seems like something that might be worth considering.
How to Save Money on Food
I’m a sucker for eating out. Not that I go to restaurants all that often, but just picking up some take away food never seems all that expensive. However, this is when looking at it in isolation. I’ve realized that this attitude is counter productive. The best way to save money on my food bill is to cook more food myself at home. Over the course of a month, the amount that can be saved buying my own groceries and cooking at home vs. eating out, really begins to add up.
It’s not just about the money either. When you prepare food at home, you can be sure that what you’re eating is healthy too. I like to make fresh fruit and vegetable juices. Even though organic produce is a bit more expensive than conventional fruit and vegetables, it still works out cheaper making my own juices than going to a juice bar.
Learn to Save Money
Appreciating the value of money is important. I think that in this day and age of instant gratification and buy now, pay later mentality, it is easy to forget about what things actually cost us. Over the last year, I have become a bit better at saving up for things and then buying them rather than buying on credit and then paying them off. This is an area that I want to work on to improve even further.
The main realization that I’ve had recently is that it’s of vital importance not to bury our heads in the sand and ignore our monthly outgoings. Being conscious of what we are spending as well as our current bank balance is one way to help us start to make better personal financedecisions.