Are there any easy ways to save money on a monthly basis?
Looking for different savings options is often a priority for both the financially independent, as well as for those living paycheck to paycheck.
Some ways to save are downright obvious. Cook at home to avoid spending on restaurants or turn off the lights if you’re not in the room.
Other times though, saving money doesn’t come easy. And the reasons vary from household to household.
Lack of financial education is clearly a good explanation as to why many have no idea how to save on a regular basis.
Being in debt often stands in the way of setting money aside for a rainy day.
If saving more money is something you’re serious about though, know that it can be done!
Here’s a simple plan to help you save money on a monthly basis.
1. Set monthly money saving goals
Setting long term goals isn’t something only successful businessmen do.
If you’re looking to save on a monthly basis, defining your own financial objectives should definitely be your first step.
Do you have a purpose for which you need to save?
Buying a new car with cash is an example. Saving for a down payment on a house is also a valid reason to start saving.
Regardless of why you need to stash away your cash, having a full-proof plan to reach your goal is a S.M.A.R.T. thing to do.
Yes, that’s right. A specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time oriented thing to do.
If you’re looking for easy ways to save money on a monthly basis, start by setting monthly goals.
Just make sure they’re smart, so you can follow your plan without too much hassle.
2. Create a budget to match your goals
Often times, budgets are perceived as boring, financially constrictive, complicated, or – my favorite excuse of all not to budget – useless.
However, by spending all your monthly income without prioritizing what’s important, you’re probably never going to reach your goals.
Say goodbye to your new car and hello to debt. Worse, say goodbye to a substantial down payment and hello to ridiculous mortgage interest rates!
Budgets are nothing more than helpful tools you ‘design’ yourself.
If you’re looking to save money on a monthly basis, you should find a way to make it a priority.
By tracking your income and dividing it into budget categories, you can definitely take control of your own money and use it in your best interest.
Knowing how much you’d like (or could) save on a regular basis should help you tweak the other budget categories accordingly.
3. Curb your spending
On to more serious money saving matters. Curbing your spending so you can save month, after month, after month.
Now that you have a plan in place (and, hopefully, a savings account or an alternative to it), it’s time to figure out where can you spend less, so you can use that money for a more important purpose.
First, know which are your biggest monthly expenses.
If it’s debt, maybe it’s time to tackle it aggressively and get rid of it.
Is your rent more than you can afford? See if you can find a way to downsize.
Monthly bills usually play a big part in a household’s monthly budget as well.
Find ways to save on electricity and other utility bills. Slash your cable and phone bill (renegotiating or switching companies usually do the trick). Let go of subscriptions you can live without.
As far as food goes, try cooking at home. It’s a serious money saver and with so many free resources to learn even the most basic recipes, anyone can learn how to prepare their own meals.
Once you figure out ways to reduce your household expenses, focus on your other spending habits.
Looking (or waiting) for sales is a great way to spend less on items you need!
Using coupons if often a great way to save. As long as couponing doesn’t take a whole lot of your time, you could take advantage of them and redirect the ‘extra’ money for even bigger savings.
The biggest trick to save money though, is to not spend it at all. If you see something you’d like to buy, think twice before deciding to purchase.
Sleep on it, if it helps.
Often times, objectively separating the wants from the needs is a difficult task. If you truly want to save money on a monthly basis though, learning to say ‘no’ from time to time helps a great deal.
Finding ways to save can seem difficult at first. But with perseverance, proper planning and budgeting, anyone should be able to find plenty of easy ways to save money on a monthly basis.
Adriana is an experienced web content writer, passionate about everything personal finance. She blogs about the topic over at moneyjourneytoday.com, where she covers everything from saving money and frugal living tips, to real estate and investing.
Featured image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Would also like to add in addition to setting monthly saving goals that it’s also helpful to ‘pay yourself first’. If you want to save $100 each month, go ahead and move $50 right after getting your first paycheck for the month and then do the same right after getting your second paycheck. Going ahead and moving that money to savings now will a) help you achieve your savings goal and b) help you curb your spending as you’ve got less wiggle room with extra money.