All too often, we let our sense of self-worth get wrapped up in how we’re doing in our financial lives. We go through phases of trying really hard to save more, and then feeling defeated when we don’t see results. We rely on self-control and willpower to avoid temptation to spend, instead of creating systems that make it easy (and dare we say, fun?) to save more money each month.
No matter where you currently are in your financial life, finding ways to systematically save money each month can help you reach your financial goals faster with a lot less stress. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Master your mindset to make saving less of a struggle
Saving more money doesn’t have to be about depriving yourself of the things you love, feeling guilty about every purchase you make, or trying harder. Before you start slashing expenses left and right, start with these four mindset shifts to set yourself up for successful saving.
Stop relying on willpower
Recognize that saving is not about willpower. You may have tried and failed to save money in the past. If trying harder didn’t work then, it probably won’t work now. If you’re serious about saving money, putting systems in place that make it easy for you to save is a big step in the right direction.
When you sit down and plan out on how to save (or how much money to save) each month, make sure your plan is rooted in reality.
For instance, if you eat out most nights because you hate cooking, don’t plan to go cold turkey in order to save money. It’s likely you won’t stick to it. Making gradual changes to your habits over time will make it more likely that you’ll stick with them.
Make gradual lifestyle changes
Once you’ve automated your savings and reduced some of those bigger monthly expenditures, consider making some lifestyle changes to save more money each month. Remember that saving money doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the things you love.
The most cliche example of this, often weaponized against millennials, is a daily latte from your local coffee shop—if that cup of coffee gives you a much-needed boost of joy, sanity, socialization, and caffeine every morning, then don’t let anyone tell you you have to cut it.
Here’s why: You’ll be more likely to stick to your budget, and save more money over time, if you can find ways to reduce your expenses without sacrificing the things you really love.
That just means you’ll need to do a little work to figure out how to save money on the things that won’t affect your quality of life as much.
Here are some examples of easy ways to save on your monthly expenses:
Walking or driving a little farther to shop at a more budget-friendly grocery store
Switching from name-brand to generic prescription medications
Signing up for an automatic shipping subscription for your pet’s food
Learning a few meatless recipes to help you stretch your grocery budget
Cutting the cord/downgrading your cable package to save on TV
Committing to drinking tap water instead of buying bottled beverages
If you aren’t already, keeping track of your Expenses with Simple is a great way to gain a better understanding of where your money is going each month. Look through your recent transactions in each of your Expenses to discover things you might be able to cut.
Brainstorm ways to increase your income
Shifting your mindset towards saving and cutting expenses should put you on the path towards saving more money each month. But if you’re still just barely making ends meet, or you just want to have more of a financial cushion to work with, it might be time to look into ways to earn more money.
Saving more money each month requires effort, but it doesn’t have to take the fun out of everything. Figuring out what matters most to you, and then creating systems that help you save money automatically, can help you reach your financial goals faster with a lot less stress