“…he who gathers money little by little makes it grow.” Proverbs 13:11
Here are some quick tips to gather your money little by little and make it grow. These are all seemingly simple steps, but they can make a huge difference in your bank account.
1. Don’t view stores as entertainment. Scientists now know that buying stuff actually causes a physiological change, releasing chemicals that produce highs similar to illegal drugs. Going to the store for pure entertainment is a dangerous temptation (like someone in recovery hanging out at their dealer’s house). You’ll only end up spending money you don’t have on stuff you don’t need.
2. Use a list and stick to it. Before you leave the house, make a thorough list (the easy part) and stick to it when you get to the store (the hard part). We often go to the store and wander aimlessly, making ourselves susceptible to powerful advertising, and leading to unnecessary purchases. View your shopping trip like a hostage situation: get what you came for and get out.
3. Use group buying power. If you are going out to eat or looking for entertainment, there’s absolutely no reason to pay full price. Never. Ever. With the advent of group buying sites like Groupon, Scoutmob and even Restaurant.com, it’s easier than to save 50-80% off eating out and fun stuff. Check out our guide here.
4. The cooling off period. Impulse items appeal to our emotional side which is not the side we want making our spending decisions. When you see something you absolutely “must” have, hold off for a period of time; a couple days, a week, a month and see if you still need it. Most of the time, logic will win out and save you money.
5. Eat at home. Most people think going to McDonald’s, while unhealthy, is at least cheaper and faster than eating at home. Not true. By the time you drive to the fast food restaurant and buy a meal for a family of four, you’ll have spent about $13 more and the same amount of time it would have taken you to make a meal at home. Check this out for more info.
6. Have Goals. Having something to work toward will give you a tangible reason not to spend. As in, “if I don’t buy “x” today, I will have more for “y” down the road. It’s a great motivator; just make sure your goals are wise ones.
7. Make it a game. Being a hardcore saver can oftentimes leave you feeling like a miser who never has any fun, but often the challenge of saving in tight times can be fun in itself. My wife and I make a game of savings and surprise ourselves with the creative ways we stick to our budget. Choosing not to spend can lead you to adventures you would never take otherwise.
Feel free to add your own below!