Saving money is vital to your peace and financial health. It can protect you from financial emergencies, help you pay for large purchases, avoid debt, and reduce financial stress.
For some people, saving money comes easy. However, for most of us, it doesn’t. Let’s face it, grabbing takeout so you don’t have to prepare a meal and clean up the mess afterward is always tempting. When you do have a little extra cash, it’s easy to splurge on a seven-dollar latte instead of putting that money in your savings account. In fact, from gas station sodas to movie tickets, there will always be something to blow money on.
There is hope, though! You don’t have to keep feeling guilty for not having cash put away. There are ways to make saving easy so that when an unforeseen emergency arises, you can handle it. You really can buy that new car or home one day. Let’s look at why it’s so hard to save and how to save money even if you’re terrible at saving.
Why Is It So Hard To Save Money?
Housing and Inflation – Housing costs are steadily increasing while pay rates are not. According to Harvard University, national home prices have climbed 13.2 percent each year since 2014. As a result, we have been paying much more for rent in recent years, but with the same income. This goes for the cost of many things right now. From gasoline to groceries, we are seeing soaring prices everywhere. It’s hard to save when you are low on funds in the first place. And inflation is a significant cause of this.
Lack of Budgeting – Saving can be difficult if you don’t track your spending. If you don’t have a snapshot of your income and spending, you can’t see where your extra cash is going. It’s a lot easier to throw fifteen dollars on lunch if you can’t see the consequences of it. Budgeting also allows you to have a specific goal for your savings. A goal lets you see your progress and gives you something to work towards in the future. Without one, it’s very easy to lose motivation. Putting money away requires close attention to what and where you spend your money. It requires a budget.
Human Nature and Culture – It may seem like it’s a lack of self-control that keeps you from saving but don’t be so hard on yourself. It’s just human nature. Inherently, humans live in the now. We have to teach ourselves to look at the future, and changing spending habits can be challenging. Add to that our current culture. We are bombarded with marketing. We are constantly told that buying things will make us happy. Eating out and shopping are routine activities for us. It’s tough to save when our human nature and culture contradict it each step of the way.
Easy Ways To Save Money
As we mentioned previously, it can be tough to start saving without a budget. Budgeting is a great way to keep track of your spending and see where you can cut back. In addition, it helps you achieve short and long-term goals such as saving up for a house or retirement nest egg.
Budgeting is easier than you think. First, list your monthly expenses. This includes essentials like rent, groceries, and transportation costs. Then, add in miscellaneous and nonessentials, such as entertainment or streaming subscriptions. By identifying these expenses, you can start making small savings choices to help you reach your financial goals faster. For example, eliminating gym memberships and magazine subscriptions can save you money each month.
When you know how much you can comfortably spend, buying that gas station drink won’t feel so bad. You’ll know that it won’t hurt your finances in the future. But if you’re really going for the gold, put the money you would spend on the drink directly into your savings account immediately.
Savings accounts are the best way to keep your extra moola. Online banking makes it simple to transfer money directly to savings. That gas station soda? Throw that three dollars into savings right there from your phone.
You can also stop spending so much by making it harder to access your savings. Some savings accounts don’t let you pull out money for a certain amount of time. Others allow you to request a transfer, but getting the funds takes a few days. Locking up your savings account is a surefire way to keep the money in it.
Online Tools and Apps
There are hundreds of free apps and online tools available to help you budget and save. Many of them allow you to connect your credit or debit cards and bills. They can track your spending, help you know when to pay your bills, and save towards your goals. These tools do the math for you, making budgeting easy and fun. Here are a few great apps to help you save your money:
Trim – this software analyzes your spending habits to identify areas where you can save money. It also negotiates cable, internet, and phone contracts and cancels previous subscriptions for you.
Mint – this app allows you to sync your checking and savings accounts, credit cards, loans, and bills. In addition, it keeps track of your costs and organizes them with customizable categories.
PocketGuard – this tool looks at your income, spending, and savings goals. Its algorithm determines how much money you have available for day-to-day expenditures. The bill tracking function allows you to set up reminders and shows you where you may negotiate lower prices.
A tax refund, holiday bonus, or cash birthday gift can be tempting to blow. But not spending surprise money can be an excellent way to bump up your savings. In reality, it’s money that is not accounted for in your budget, right? So by quickly depositing it into your savings account, you can pretend it never occurred and go about your regular budgeting and spending routine.
Online Grocery Shopping
Americans spend a lot on groceries. And while it should be cheaper than eating out, impulse buying can really increase your costs at the supermarket. An excellent way to get around that is by doing your grocery shopping online. Most grocery stores today have online apps or websites that allow you to create a shopping list, pay for it, and pick it up. Some stores even offer free delivery. This means you buy only the items you need, not something you saw on the shelf and thought you had to have. It also allows you to view pricing more clearly and compare it to other brands. As a result, you can save money at the supermarket.
There are valid reasons that saving your money can be difficult, so you shouldn’t beat yourself up over it. Instead, recognize that saving money can be a huge factor in your peace and financial security. Simply starting with a budget can put you on the right track with little effort. Before we sign off, here are a few more tips and tricks on how to save money even if you’re terrible at saving.
- Use coupons
- Use only one streaming service
- Negotiate your bills
- Reduce your gasoline usage
- Watch movies at home rather than in the theatre
- Find free hobbies
- Buy generic brands
- Turn unused lights off
- Ask about senior or student discounts