If you’ve read past blog posts, you know I’m a big believer in creating sustainable savings. It’s absolutely vital to build up an emergency fund, as well as invest in your future. But, how? If you’re accustomed to a certain lifestyle, how can you possibly start funneling a portion of your earnings into a savings account without feeling the impact?
It’s best to start small, make a few cuts, and keep gradually building your capital. Here are ten concrete actions you can take to start saving money while maintaining your lifestyle:
1. Be mindful of eating out
If you’re a fan of dining out, consider choosing order-at-the-counter restaurants (in which you’re expected to tip far less) instead of sit-down restaurants. Or, choose mid- to low-budget restaurants rather than high-end restaurants. If you’re a foodie with expensive tastes, try splitting an entree or skipping the drinks at dinner.
2. Be conscious of clothing
If you like shopping for clothing, consider doing more “window shopping” than buying. You can still enjoy the experience of going to the store and trying on new clothes…but without the expense. If you do require new clothing, opt to purchase high-quality clothes that will stand the test of time (both in terms of fashion and durability).
3. Vacation locally
Vacations are great for rejuvenating yourself and relaxing your overworked mind…but there’s no need to drop thousands of dollars on them. Try visiting an area within driving distance (unless you can find a spectacular deal on a flight!) and stay at an AirBnB house or camp/glamp (if you and your family enjoy roughing it!). An AirBnB can also save you money if you utilize the kitchen for one or two meals each day.
4. Be wary of subscription services
You know those through-the-mail services you get regularly? The meals in a box? Monthly clothing? Book of the month? Even razor blades? Those subscription box services can really add up! Ask yourself: Do I really need a new wardrobe every month? Can I spare ten minutes to pick up some vegetables and rice for stir fry, rather than relying on ingredients in a box? Can I utilize my local library, rather than filling my shelves with new books every month?
5. Take advantage of free entertainment
You don’t have to stop going out with friends and family…but you may want to consider incorporating more free outings into your itinerary. Play in a park, take in a free art exhibit, or watch live music in a café. You could also host at your house and encourage your guests to bring a dish to share.
6. Put your gym membership on hold
When the weather is warm, it’s easy to get in a workout in the great outdoors. Put your gym membership on hold (most gyms will do this without a fuss) and take your running, biking, swimming, or yoga outside. Look up at-home workouts on YouTube for tons of ideas on how to stay fit at home.
7. Pack a lunch
If you spend $15 for lunch every workday this year, that adds up to almost $4,000! Consider packing a lunch and taking it to the office.
Added bonus: You’re better able to control portion sizes and ingredients if you bring in your own lunch.
8. Spend time thinking about big ticket purchases
I found a quote in Business Insider that said, “Remember that saving 5% on a $10,000 item is not at all like saving 5% on a $10 item…You can buy a lot of spaghetti for a $4k discount on a car, and yet I see people who spend lots of time on grocery coupon clipping but never stop to consider whether they could move to a cheaper apartment, drive a cheaper car, etc.”
When you’re car shopping, for instance, do your homework and do NOT just shop at one dealership. Oftentimes, dealers will give you a better price if they know you’re shopping around (and the same can be said for many big ticket items).
It is possible to maintain a fun, fulfilling lifestyle and cut back on spending. Be mindful; have a plan; and don’t forget to sock away a set amount every month!
Happy saving! Contact me for more ideas on how to save money each month.