It seems to be so much easier to spend money than to save money. I’m a sucker for pretty little things that I know I have no use for, but are just so adorable I can’t pass them up.
Stationary stores and home good stores are my weakness. BUT, I know that I need to save money so I stay far far away from these stores.
See, I save money because I want to reach financial independence one day. While I’m passionate about the day-to-day work that I do, I understand that having enough money stashed away is super important in case life ever goes wrong.
I also love the idea of having the freedom to be able to wake up every morning and go to work because I actually want to, and not because I feel like I have to.
So with this long-term goal in mind, I’m always looking for ways to save money every month. I check in with my budget and goals once a month, and will usually schedule time to do some of the things below during this check-in time.
Here are some habits that you should start building and implementing every month to save some money.
1. Track Your Expenses
Yes, really. You should track your expenses every month. Tracking your expenses is paramount if you want to get control of your money. You can’t save money if you don’t know where your money is going every month.
Without knowing your full financial picture, you won’t be able to know if you’re paying for unnecessary stuff, or are spending a small fortune every month on a small arsenal of office supplies (true story.)
There are many ways different ways to track your expenses. I use a combination of paper and electronic tracking depending on my mood that month. Paper tracking is great when you’re using a lot of cash, or if you pay for a lot of things and then get reimbursed.
Paper tracking also makes you be more present in your tracking. Having said that, sometimes I prefer the convenience of electronic tracking. If I’m having a busy month at work or at home, I use Mint and Every Dollar to check in with myself and my preset budgets when I have a spare few minutes.
If you’re into paper tracking, make sure you grab a my free expense tracker printable!
2. Renegotiate Your Bills
When’s the last time you shopped around for car insurance? What about for your internet? Cell phone? For most people, the answer is probably not for a long long time!
Here’s the thing, renovating your bills can save you a bunch of money. Think about saving $10 every month. on your internet bill. Doesn’t sound like a lot, right?
Well those $10 every month add up to $120 every year, and that’s just for one bill alone. More often than not, you’re overpaying for most of these things.
When I shopped around for cars insurance six months ago I was able to keep my same coverage and drop my bill by over $50 per month.
The thing is, it’s cheaper for most companies to keep their current customers than it is to get new ones. Use this to your advantage, and make them work to keep you by saving you money.
I know the first time I negotiated my internet bill I was really nervous but I ended up cutting my cost in half by getting my internet provider to match an offer that another company was offering new customers!
Here’s an article that walks you through step-by-step the process of negotiating your bills.
At the very least, please shop around every now and then. You can sign up for services like Gabi that does the search for cheaper car insurance for you.
3. Cancel Unnecesary Subscriptions
Be honest, how many subscriptions do you have? Between Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and all the subscription boxes that keep popping up, it’s possible you have subscriptions that you’re not even aware of, costing you a bunch of money each month.
Go through your credit card and bank statements and look for any recurring charges. Make a list of the subscription name, the company, and the amount that you’re paying, then cancel all of the subscriptions that you don’t need or can share with someone else.
Do you live with roommates? One of you can pay for Hulu and the other for Netflix. Have a gym membership that you never use? Cancel it. Don’t keep it around in hopes of it encouraging you to go to the gym.
Be ruthless in canceling these subscriptions. If it turns out you absolutely need it later you can always sign up for it again, after you’ve saved some money already.
4. Plan Your Meals
If you’re like me, most of your expenses probably come from eating out. While I love to cook, meal planning isn’t something that I’ve gotten into until very recently.
I like cooking on the fly, seeing what I’m in the “mood” for. Because of this, I often end up eating out because I don’t have the ingredients on hand to cook what I’m in the mood for, or I’m too tired to bother cooking when I get home.
Get ahead of these problems by meal planning. You’re so much less likely to stop at Chipotle on your way home if you know that you have food waiting for you already.
You’d be surprised how much easier it is to say no to going out to lunch at work if you have brought food with you.
If you think you’re saving money by eating fast food, think again. Not only is your fast food habit costing you a bunch of money, it’s also totally messing up your health.
If you still don’t believe and have to see it for yourself just track your fast food expenses for a month and see just how much you’re actually spending out.
Ready to Save Some Money?
Saving money always seems like such a daunting task but it doesn’t have to be. There’s so many tools you can use to save money. Stay on top of your finances every month and find a budget that works for you and go from there.