Contrary to popular belief, saving money isn’t just about restricting yourself from buying anything. Sometimes, small ways and simple habits can improve your finances in a big way.
Don’t worry if you find yourself overwhelmed at the thought of trying to get a handle on your finances. You’re not alone. You share this feeling with most adults who find it hard to “adult.” The good news is you can achieve big goals by taking small steps. So, whether you’re trying to pay off a huge debt or save for a new outfit, you can try out these small, simple ways to improve your finances in a big way.
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1. Track your finances for a month
Whether you use any of the many money-tracking apps or manually write down your daily spending in a notebook, try to track your expenses starting with one month to see where your money goes. In tracking, categorize each expenditure and make sure to take note of it down to the last centavo. Seeing where most of your money goes is the first step in making adjustments.
2. Unsubscribe from subscriptions you can do without
Do you need that extra cloud storage account? Even if it’s just a few dollars per month, you’d be surprised at how much you can save by doing without unnecessary subscriptions. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you have to do without Netflix completely. Instead, it’s about shaving off the excess, which would give you a little more breathing room with your finances.
3. Have better conversations
It’s no secret that it can be challenging to talk about money, even with our best friends and romantic partners. But it’s essential to take the first steps in doing this, not just to form a more profound and stronger bond but also to get more insight and perspective about how other people handle their money. You can start by opening up to your best friend or closest work colleague to know where their money goes. You’d be surprised — especially if you’re surrounding yourself with good people — about how inspired you can be in handling your finances much better.
4. Eat in and make it fun
There’s a certain thrill in having takeout or food delivery. But the fact is, dining out all the time does add up and can create a massive dent in your money. It’s time to try planning your meals and playing them up to keep it exciting. Research about simple recipes that require less than ten ingredients, which you can easily do in 30 minutes or less. Try doing it for a week, and you’ll get more appreciation for your ability to cook up delicious meals than having to browse through menus online for meh takeout food.
5. Spread out big purchases
Need a new couch? Looking to book that trip to the beach? Even if you can afford it right now doesn’t mean you should spend your money all at once. But, again, this doesn’t mean that you should restrict yourself. What you can do instead is to list down your top big purchases and spread it out over the year — maybe one every two months or maybe per quarter, depending on your income stream and the progress of your savings.
6. Treat yourself — but set boundaries
Yes, we believe in rewarding yourself. However, we don’t believe in completely cutting out Starbucks to pay your debts. What can help you, in the long run, is to practice setting boundaries. You can start by giving yourself a “treat budget,” which you can use maybe during weekends or for special milestones. You can even use it to make yourself feel good after a stressful situation. The key is not to lose control and still see that you’re spending within certain boundaries.