We all have to start somewhere and learning a new skill can be hard! It doesn’t matter whether that skill is something like baking your own bread or something as complex as learning to code websites, it can be discouraging, frustrating and at times, even make you want to walk away from it. Learning how to save money shouldn’t be like that. Below you’ll find 10 tips for the newly frugal. These aren’t tips for the hard core, already have everything down frugalistas, but more for those who are newly frugal, frustrated and about to walk away from frugal living.
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These first 5 tips will get you started on good, strong footing. The second half of them will get you started on actually cutting your budget and working toward a healthy savings account. Use them to give yourself a great start on your money saving journey!
10 Tips For The Newly Frugal
1. Budget – A budget is an absolute must when it comes to save anything at all. Without one, you’ve got no way of seeing where your money is going or how much money you actually have coming into your household. They don’t need to be complicated. Something as simple as a sheet of paper with income, expenses and totals can work just as easily as the more complicated ones. If you’re looking for an online tool to use, BudgetSimple.com (Basic) or FitFin.com are both free and easy options for those who want an “easy” budget.
2. The last penny – When you’re doing your budget, make sure that you’re budgeting right down to the last penny of income that you have coming in. If you don’t, you’ll have money that you don’t know where to send and that only leads to overspending. Give every dollar a expense category.
3. Get your family on board – I hate to say this, but if your family, specifically your spouse or partner are not on board with your savings efforts? You’re going to have a rough go at it. Sit them down and talk to them about why you want to save and how you will need to go about doing it. Chances are they’ll be right on board with you.
4. Don’t stress it – I know that when money is tight that our first instinct is to stress. I can tell you from experience though that stressing out about your budget is one of the worst things you can do. It will only cause you to feel defeated, overwhelmed, and want to ignore it. Then people tend to get down in the dumps and go in the opposite direction and overspend money that they don’t have to spend.
5. Don’t stagnate – When you’ve been working on saving money, it’s not hard for your efforts, your budget or both to stagnate. Picture a pond that doesn’t have any surface water moving at all. Eventually moss, mold and other yuckies will grow on the surface. Your budget can be the same way. It will stagnate at times and when that happens, that’s your clue to up your savings efforts.
Now to the actual savings part.
6. Write Your Expenses Out – I don’t mean write them out in your budget, I mean that you need to make a list. Write down everything you’re spending money on and look at it with a new eye. The goal here is to stop spending so much money so make sure you’re really thinking about what you really need to spend money on versus what you want to spend money on.
7. Once you’ve got a list of what you can stop spending on, start cancelling, turning off or getting rid of those things that are wasting your money. A piece of advice though? Don’t go cold turkey on something you’ve had for years. Instead, start with one item then once a month after add a new item. I’ve said this before, slow and steady wins the race!
8. Out of sight – Once you start building up a savings, keep it in a different savings account and not your regular one. The reason for this is out of sight, out of mind. You’ll be less tempted to spend your savings if you’re not constantly thinking about it.
9. Don’t forget the little things – Once you’ve got your main expenses paired down it’s time to take a look at the not so obvious ones. For most people, there is almost always room in your budget to cut down so don’t give up if you don’t see them right away.
10. Money Saving Ideas – If you’re stuck for ideas on where to cut spending, take a look at this short list. It may inspire you in an area that you’ve forgotten:
Places to Cut Spending
Hair Cuts – lengthen the time in between cuts, cut your husband/child’s hair
Cable (opt for Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or digital rabbit ears)
Replace your disposable items (like napkins, paper towels) with re-usable items
Groceries (try menu planning– it can really help your grocery budget)
Electric Bill – Turn off lights & unplugging things that draw electricity
Eating out more than you should – try planning ahead
Boredom shopping – try learning a new money saving skill instead
Impulse buys – stay out of your trigger stores and/or stick to your list
Like I said in the beginning of this post, saving money shouldn’t be a hard task. If you start on good, solid footing, you’ll quickly build a savings account that is well funded and there when you need it.
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