Most people would like to have more money. Whilst earning more money is sometimes out of your control, and might not always be immediately possible, how much money you spend is within your control. By becoming more conscious of how and where you spend your money, you can make your money reach further for you. Here are ten suggestions on how to save money and transform your life:
1. Stop impulse buying. When you feel the impulse to buy something, stop for a few seconds and ask yourself ‘do I really want and/or need this’? If, after stopping to ask yourself this question, you still want to buy it, that’s fine. The point is to start building awareness about when you feel the impulse to buy something and how you are feeling when the impulse arises. What do you believe the item will add to your life and how do you think it will make you feel once you own it? Many people live their lives on autopilot. Bringing awareness to the choices you make can help you to make more conscious decisions and spend your money in a more conscious way.
2. Shop smarter. With the wealth of information readily available to most people, there are many opportunities for you to shop smarter. Ways to shop smarter include: buy items online and have them delivered; requesting a discount (where appropriate) instead of paying full price; buying your groceries somewhere cheaper; buy at discount stores or thrift shops; team up with others to receive group discounts; buy in bulk; reach out to your network on Facebook to find the best deals; or you could exchange your time (instead of money) for products or services. If it is important enough to you, you will find ways to shop smarter and save money.
3. Watch out for tricks used in marketing and advertising. Marketing and advertising campaigns are very clever at making you think and believe you want something you don’t really need. They are also good at convincing you to buy something simply because it appears to be a good deal. They pull on emotional strings and play on people’s weaknesses and insecurities. Building more awareness of the tricks they use helps you to resist their temptation.
4. Grow your own food. Grow your own vegetables, grow your own herbs, grow your own fruit. Not only will it help you to get outside and get in touch with nature, you know where your food is coming from, you are reducing transport mileage and you have the choice whether to grow organic produce or not.
5. Instead of buying, share items with your family, friends or community. Instead of always buying new clothes, why not try sharing with others. You could also do this for appliances such as lawn mowers, various tools etc. instead of buying expensive items you might rarely use. In Vancouver, there are multiple car share companies where car ownership is shared among many members, thus significantly reducing costs.
6. Downsize. Do you really need to live in a giant house, drive a big car or own a huge TV? When you downsize, you might find you don’t miss what you had. Downsizing is also good for the environment and promotes a more sustainable way of living.
7. Walk, ride or use public transport. As well as providing exercise, this could help you save money on gas, parking, tolls etc.
8. Utilise free resources. It could be things you are indirectly paying for through your taxes, such as borrowing books or taking free courses or workshops through the library, or free courses put on for unemployed people. Or it might be reducing your phone data plan and using more free Wi-Fi which is widely available at coffee shops, restaurants etc. There are many free resources available if you look around.
9. Cancel any unused or unneeded subscriptions or memberships. How many magazine subscriptions, gym & fitness memberships and other online memberships do you have where you are basically just throwing your money away? Either start using or cancel them.
10. Either drink less coffee or tea or take it from home. Buying a $5 latte each day adds up over the course of a year. In fact, spending $5 every week day over the course of one year adds up to $1,305! Or if you are unable or unwilling to drink less coffee or tea, try bringing it from home.
Once you become open to thinking more about how and where you spend your money, you realise there are many ways to be creative and resourceful to help you save money. You might even realise that you don’t need as much money as you previously thought to live comfortably. And by doing more with your money, and consuming less, you are doing your part to help the environment and humanity.
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