Sometimes the subject of personal finance seems so overwhelming, but there are simple steps to save money that can have an immediate impact on your finances. Today I’m going to share 4 things you can do to save money almost immediately.
Track Your Spending – For 30 Days
So many people cringe when they hear the words “spend” and “tracking” in the same sentence. Spend-tracking can be overwhelming at first, but more on a emotional level than anything else. The logistics of spend-tracking are easy: you grab an Excel spreadsheet, a tracking app such as Mint, or even a simple notebook and pen, and simply write down everything you spend, every day, for thirty days.
The problem that people have with spend-tracking is that they see it as some sort of authority waiting to shame them for spending. Grayson has talked about credit cards being inanimate objects: they cannot make you spend money. It’s the same with a spend-tracking system: tracking your spending cannot force you to spend less if you don’t want to. However, it is a terrific tool for giving you a clear picture of where your money is going, and that, my friend, means nothing but freedom for you: freedom to gain a clear picture of where your money is going so that you can adjust your spending to better fit your true life desires. Tracking your spending is a simple step to save money that you can spend on something you really, truly want! This means that you can spend – if you choose – the $500 a month you’re spending on happy hour on a new car, a vacation to Italy, or to pay your mortgage off early instead. For many, spend-tracking, instead of being a chore, can mean the equivalent of winning the lottery in terms of extra cash, so make a commitment to spend-track for 30 days, and see where you want to go from there.
Start an Automatic Savings Plan
Even if it’s just with a small amount of cash, start an automatic savings account today and commit to not touch the money. In the book, The Millionaire Next Door, one of the people the author interviews talks of his amazement of the automatic savings plan. He talks about how he and has wife started putting away a measly $10 a week years ago, and how he never imagined that the small amount of money he was putting away would help usher him into millionaire status. But it really does add up. If you’re looking for simple steps to save money, you can’t find one simpler than starting an automatic savings plan.
Look for Ways to Reduce Expenses
Can you find a cheaper cell phone plan? A cheaper car insurance policy? Can you brown bag it to lunch a few times a week? Are you willing to live without cable TV for a year? With a little ingenuity, nearly every expense you have can be reduced by at least a little bit. If you spend a lot of cash on going out to eat, choose to cut eating out down to once a week. Turn off the lights. Lower the heat or raise the A/C temperature by just a few degrees. Those little changes, when done over long periods of time, add up to huge cash savings. Always remember to shop around before you buy.
Get Rid of Unwanted or Unused Stuff
You can save money a few ways by doing this. First, you can rake in some cash by selling those unwanted or unused items. Second, by getting rid of those unused or unwanted items, even if it’s for free, you’ve got less stuff to maintain, repair and store. This can free up your time and money for other money-saving adventures or ideas in the future.
If you’re looking for simple steps to save money, start with one – or all – of the four steps above, and see how much cash you can save after thirty days. The numbers might surprise you.
What are your best tips for easy money savings?