I’ve admittedly always been more of a natural spender, and my sister was born a saver. I’ve always admired that about her!
In recent years, I’ve slowly been working to improve my habits and achieve goals for our family, such as purchasing our first investment properties and paying for two adoptions in cash we saved up.
New habits that help me save money:
Know what I am saving for. One important key I’ve found, for my own personality type, is to always know what I am saving for. Before I had my goals written down, I found it difficult to motivate myself to add to our savings account. But I noticed a huge change when I started to keep track of my financial goals on paper. I make little charts for different things we’re saving up for (like our adoptions) and color in a section each time I add money to our savings account. This also helps me to visualize how long it will take to save up and if I’ll need to take other actions to achieve that goal.
Make short-term goals like limiting eating out for the month. Short-term goals help us save a lot of money without feeling much discomfort. For example, recently we were saving for our last few adoption payments (the big ones!) and so we made a goal to only eat out once a week and to only make coffee at home. These seemingly small actions add up over a month or a few months. Seven dollars a day saved from a Starbucks run is over $200 a month. Dinners with cocktails (and babysitters lol) add up even faster!
I’ve been making coffee at home for months now, trying to save money, and I honestly love the ritual of it now so much I probably will just keep doing it because it’s more fun.
Do a shopping freeze. I love shopping, but I had benefitted so much from taking shopping freezes. This year, I am taking kind of an extreme one by only buying used clothing. I do save a lot of money, but I also think it’s good for my mind. Being constantly in a shopping mindset is not healthy. That’s more obvious than ever to me now as I’ve had a little break from it. Instead of scrolling shopping websites at night, I scroll Pinterest for ideas and recipes. It feels good. I don’t miss it. And it’s great saving a lot of money we can use for more important priorities.
Go through your online banking (or credit card statement) and highlight everything you can cut out. If you haven’t tried this lately, it’s a game changer! Each time I go through our online banking, I find subscriptions we can cancel and things we can cut out or minimize. A lot of the time it’s things we won’t even miss!
Make a list of free ideas. My daughter and I go to the library every Saturday now. Anytime I want a book, I go on the library website and reserve it. It’s saving us money, but it’s also something that’s entertaining and a positive part of our week every week. Make a list of things you can do that don’t cost money.
Plan ahead and research purchases. In the past, I have been the worst about impulse purchasing, but recently I’ve learned that I am so much happier with what I buy when I take the time to research it in depth and read reviews. This kind of planning can also lead to finding the best deal, which can shave hundreds or even thousands of dollars off major purchases.
Return things. I used to always forget to return things and it was a HUGE waste of money. Now I return everything I don’t use within a week to two weeks. I can see that I’m easily saving hundreds of dollars a month just by returning. It’s crazy not to!
Find easy ways to earn extra money. When I am saving up for something, I will often sell things I’m not using to earn extra money toward the purchase. I sell all my nice clothing that I’m done with on Poshmark or Depop. I also sell furniture we’re no longer using on Facebook Marketplace. It’s an easy way to earn extra money without much effort. I do all my closet sales during Nova’s weekend naps. It doesn’t take much time at all.
Keep track on paper and always do the math. Try adding up how much you would save by not eating out for a month or going on a shopping freeze for a season. The math will help you confirm whether it’s worth it to you to make that sacrifice! Tracking your goals on paper will help you stay motivated as you get closer to your goal!
I hope this post was helpful to some! If you’re a natural saver, I’m so jealous. I wish I was! But at least I can give some hope to people who aren’t natural savers—you can do it! xx – Elsie
P.S. You can also read about my thoughts on Creating Healthier Money Perspectives here!