We all can make a list of the things we want – vacations, cars, a new home or cottage, or a nice nest egg for our retirement but can you list even a few ways to save enough to get these things. there are simple and easy ways to save money. Does this mean that you’ll be jetting off to Europe soon, or buying a new Ferrari next month? Probably not. But with just a little effort and perseverance, you can eventually save for the things you want most.
Given the choice, most of us would opt to make more. It’s always easier to save money when you have more money. That option, however, is often out of our control. For most of us, saving money means spending less. There are several ways to approach this from making your money less accessible to finding ways to purchase less or better.
Here are five ways that you can try to help you save more money so you can afford the things you want.
Often called the Golden Rule of personal finance1, this concept has been around forever because it works. It’s based on the principle that you can’t spend what you don’t have. Arrange with your bank to have a specific amount of money (say $50 or $100) automatically transferred from your regular bank account where your pay cheque goes, into a separate bank account. Do this on the first of every month so the money is out of sight before you begin to pay your monthly bills and everyday expenses.
The interest on credit cards and utilities can be more than you bargained for and you get nothing for it except less money in your bank account. If you find that you are spending more than you have each month, consider switching to debit until you have your spending under control. At least with debit, if the money isn’t there, you can’t make the purchase.
Impulse purchases can eat up a lot of your hard earned money. Retailers know how to make their goods and services extremely tempting and will try every trick in the book to get you to buy what they’re selling. Give yourself a 24hr wait time to make any “unscheduled” purchases. If you didn’t know you needed it before you went into the store, then you probably don’t and you’ll realize that when you have time to get over the advertising and merchandising hype.
There are some items that you need only once, or for a specific amount of time. Think of lawn mowers, snow blowers, power tools, etc. These are items that are easy to share with family and friends. Set up a “sharing” network for these things. If you have, say, a snow blower, offer it for use to neighbours who might have a seldom-used item that you could benefit from like a carpet steamer or power washer. If there is something that you must have, consider buying it used on a site like Craigslist or Kijiji.
Eating out at a restaurant, even a few times a week, can really add up. Try having friends over instead of going out and pack your lunch for work as often as you can. And if you enjoy television and movies, get rid of your expensive monthly cable and subscribe to a service like Netflix that gives you unlimited access to movies and television shows for a mere fraction of what other services cost. Remember to put the money you’re saving into a special account that you do not have easy access to or invest the savings in long term vehicles for your future.