Unusual Strategies and Habits for Saving Money



Fundamentally, to save money, we have to do five things: have a budget, control spending, set clear financial goals, be accountable and reward success. It sounds like an easy list, but if it were easy to do, everyone would do it and be successful.

First of all, with a few exceptions, the only sure way to become wealthy is to spend less than what you make. It does not matter how much you make, what’s left over at the end of the month and year is what counts toward building wealth. It’s easy to say, but hard to do. Here are some ideas on how to achieve this goal.

Make alternate choices.

Each time you pull out your wallet/credit card, make a conscious decision about what you buy. This strategy does not say, “Cut out spending,” but rather, “If I want to make the purchase, how can I purchase it for less?” Alternate choices can make a big difference. When going to the market, buy veggies only when they are on sale or under a set price—$1 per pound, for example. Buy alternative items that may be less expensive such as turkey instead of chicken. Choose a less expensive restaurant. Every single day, these decisions we make will make a huge difference in the long run.

Cut out waste.

There are lots of areas where reducing waste makes a big difference in the long run. Turn off lights when leaving a room. Don’t buy food in bulk if it can’t all be eaten by the expiration date. Check the freezer to see how many items are too old to eat; keep the fridge and freezer nearly empty to avoid throwing food out. Choose to drink water at a restaurant instead of iced tea—just this tip will save you $3 per person each time you go out. Avoid late fees on credit cards or bounce fees at the bank.

Is your spending necessary? Is it a want or a need? 

Stores are full of enticing but useless items that are hard to resist. Do you really need all the stuff that you have accumulated? To keep spending in check, use an internal reminder to find out if the purchase is necessary such as: “Will I take this item if I have to move to another state?” If the answer is no, don’t buy it. Basically, you have to find the one question that works for you, so that saying no to yourself will mean not buying the item and leaving you feeling better for this decision. That will leave you either with more money at the end of the month or more money for items that are truly necessary.  

Learn to love the results.

The beauty of each of the above strategies is that slowly, you will accumulate leftover money at the end of the week/month/year. You will learn to love these leftover funds and cherish them in a separate account. Consider these funds untouchable by anyone, even to yourself, and you will feel real pleasure watching the balance grow.

Viviane Thompson is a Certified Public Accountant at Thompson Accounting Company, PLLC. Connect at 520-822-8208 or VivianeThompson.com. See ads, pages 9 and 29.

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