Want to get more mileage from your hard-earned dollars? The secret to save money is to set up a household budget and then to adopt an aggressive money saving mindset.
“If you are serious about getting out of debt, you’ve got to adopt a very specific mindset towards spending. Challenge yourself to save on every purchase and to find ways to generate some extra cash or to reduce your overall spending,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“In addition to finding ways to save money, make your budget the “boss” in your household. The only way to achieve your financial goals and to maximize your spending power is to stick to your budget daily,” says Schwartz.
Here are some easy ways to save money and to boost your budget.
Collect money instead of stuff
Are you a collector of treasures? Instead of spending and adding to your cache, it is time to put the for sale sign on your collectibles. The extra cash flow can really jump start your savings and/or your plan to pay down debt.
By the same token, declutter your home and purge unwanted items. You can post them for sale on used sites or have a garage sale.
Take advantage of every consumer reward program that you can- as long as it free. Paying fees just to collect rewards really takes away from the “reward”. You can use reward programs as part of your spending strategy, by cashing in for wherever your budget needs help (think summer vacation and merchandise for holiday gifts).
One of the best ways you can save money is to be patient. Avoid impulse shopping and only use cash for purchases. Credit use is all about immediate gratification. If you can see the benefit of waiting until you’ve got cash in the bank before you buy, you’ll be ahead of the game.
Don’t wait until your car is empty to fill up
If you own a car, you’re already aware of rising gas prices. Avoid waiting until your car is empty to fill up, because it is a bit of a gamble. You’ll be forced to pay whatever it costs at that moment in time for a full tank.
Cook from scratch
When it comes to feeding your family, time literally is money. You pay a premium for convenience foods. If you can find the time to cook from scratch (or close to) you’ll save a lot on groceries- and it’s healthier too!
Be on the lookout for ways to save money heating and cooling your home. Install a programmable thermostat. Don’t use the dryer this summer and hang clothes dry instead. Clean out dryer hoses and wipe the coils on the back of your fridge. Use a fan instead of the A/C to keep cool.
Delete credit card info
Do you have a habit of shopping online? “Unstore” your credit card numbers. Not only could storing your info online make you vulnerable to identity theft, it’s also much easier to spend impulsively. Taking that extra step to enter credit card numbers means that you’ve got time to stop and think before you buy.
Figure out what motivates you
Only you really know what will get you to achieve your financial goals and you need to tap into that style of motivation. Do you respond to visual cues? Try post-it notes with motivational tips around your home. Post your progress somewhere visible in your home, so that you are always mindful of your mission to save. Are you all about rewards for your best efforts? Budget for small rewards as you reach milestones.