Unlike everything you’ve imagined, saving money doesn’t have to be boring and agonizing. You don’t have to eliminate all of the fun from your life just because you are setting some money aside for a rainy day.
#1) Think Positive Thoughts
This is made a lot easier by keeping your end goal in mind. Thinking positive is always easier said than done – especially during those rough times (like when everyone’s going out to have fun but you can’t afford it).
That being said, there are many different things that you can come up with (in terms of leisure time) that don’t require a lot of money. Thinking positive will help you be creative, innovative, and make the most out of what you have. If you need a jumping off point, try some of these ideas on for size:
- Game Night with friends (Make it a pot-luck to help save on the cost of food.)
- Movie Night (This is just a fraction of the cost of a movie ticket and popcorn. Skim from your collection, swing by a rental place, or stream it off the internet.)
- Matinee Movies (When you go see movies before 6pm on the weekends, but price of the ticket is usually less)
- Picnics at the Park (Make it a social gathering. Bring some outdoor games. Make it a night party with lanterns and sparklers.)
- Do something outdoorsy (Hiking, a trip to the beach, tent-camping, a game of flag football, or a scavenger hunt – like Geocaching– are just a few of your options.)
- Read a book (The library and online apps like Overdrive – where you can rent ebooks and audio books on your Kindle – are free options. You can also swing by a used bookstore to save on the cost of your favorite books.)
- Cook a meal with/for your family (This is a healthier option than eating out and you can make it a time where you can bond by cooking together.)
- Volunteer for a cause that you feel passionate about (This is good for your soul as well as for the world around you.)
Remember that having fun (whether it is by yourself or with others) doesn’t have to cost a fortune. The same goes with gifts for others. It’s the thought that counts.
#2) Prepare Yourself With Knowledge
Knowing where your money actually goes will help save you from stress in the future. Do your research: keep track of what your everyday costs are, look into where you are spending superfluous amounts of money, etc. Also look into different ways that you can save money: savings accounts, physically putting money into a container, keeping track of your savings on a board, etc. Find out what motivates you the most and utilize that in your plan. Some people really need to see their progress in the form of money adding up in a jar or on a chart or board.
#3) Have Other People Hold You Accountable
There’s nothing like a support team to help hold you accountable to your goals and aspirations. We can all set objectives for ourselves but sometimes we need an extra push to help us gain or keep our momentum. In all our endeavors, a good support system could be the deciding factor in whether or not we achieve our true potential. This rings true in both big goals (save up for my dream home) and small goals (save money to get my car fixed.
#4) Organize and Execute
Set long and short term goals for yourself. Organize your goals, create a plan, and execute your plan. It seems easy now but it will get difficult. Just remember the first three tips to help you when times get rough.
A good plan is both realistic and tough. Sure, you can underestimate but what’s the point if you don’t push yourself. Don’t forget to start small and work your way up. One of the most effective tools that I’ve seen are those 30 Day Challenges.
This is my favorite one:
- On day one, deposit $1 into your savings account.
- On day two, deposit $2 into your savings account.
- Keep this momentum until day 30, when you deposit $30 into your account.
- By then you’ve saved nearly $500 in one month. Imagine if both you and your significant other did this every month.
Here is another one:
When you go to buy that very expensive latte or add dessert to your meal at a restaurant, instead decide to take the money that those items would have cost, and put them in your savings account.
That way, you will be saving on things that you would have normally spent money on, and you may even notice it on your waistline. A win-win!
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