3 Simple Ways to Save Money

October 29, 2017

I've always been the type of person who likes to have some money in hand, even back when I was younger. If I have $10, I would not spend it all at once – I would save at least $3. Having little savings makes me feel secure. Now that I'm living this adult life, saving is more important than before. I thought saving money was easy, like I just said, I always like to have some extra money in my hand. So for the first two years when I first started working, I wasn't doing anything special about how I save my money. All I did was tracking how much I earned and spent on an app. As the result, though I was not overspending, I didn't see a big growth in my savings account. I realized that I need to take some real steps to help me save more money.

 

These three simple ways are the most basic steps that I took to help me see the growth in my savings account. If you’re looking to grow your savings, hopefully you can take something away from this post, or maybe it can serve as a reminder for you to start finding your own ways to save money.

 

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Set a savings goal

This is the most important step. Although I was tracking my spending, I wasn't really saving. All I did was recording what I bought and not really controlling how much I should be spending. After realizing that I need to do something different to actually keep my money, I set a savings goal for myself. I looked back to my trackings and evaluated my monthly bills and other expenses like groceries. I then came up with a minimum amount that I want to save every month, and that is my savings goal.

 

I like having a savings goal more than budgeting how much I can spend monthly because 1. I get paid by the hours I work, and I get my paychecks weekly, so I don’t always make the same amount of money every month. Therefore, it’s hard for me to know exactly how much I would earn each month. 2. Some months I have expenses that don't happen regularly, such as an eye exam or someone’s birthday. Having a savings goal gives me more flexibility for unusual spending like these than setting budgets. By having a savings goal, I don’t have to budget my expenses every month. Instead, my budget is everything outside of that number. Super easy for me.

 

Cut down unnecessary spendings

Once I set a savings goal, I have to think more about what I'm buying. It’s so easy to go to Target thinking that you only need a toothpaste, but you somehow ended up in the Home Decor section, putting a picture frame in your shopping cart that you don’t even know when you got. This was me, all the time. After setting my savings goal, I took a closer look at my past spendings. I realized that I spent a significant amount of money on clothes, makeup, and eating out every month. I knew these were the categories that I need to focus on cutting down. Do I really need a new eyeshadow palette every month when I would only use two colors from a certain palette? Or do I really need this pair of heels that look super cute but are not practical at all, and I might not wear if I buy them? The answers were not surprisingly, no.

 

A lot of times I spent money on things I want, but I don’t actually need. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. It just doesn't help when I’m trying to save money. Knowing the difference between want and need is very important. So now, I would think twice before buying things that are not on my list when I go shopping. Most of the time when I didn't get something I want at the moment, I forget about it the next day. And at the end of the month, I could see the growth in my savings account by simply cutting out the unnecessary spendings.

 

However, this doesn't mean that I'm never getting things that I just want. If I exceed my savings goal for the month, I could treat myself to something nice! And this actually feels so much better than just buying the item when I want because I know that my savings is not hurting, and I’m getting a reward for meeting my goal!

 

Make your own food/meal prep

Another category that I spend a lot was on eating out. Having dinner with friends after work, picking up a quick meal from McDonald’s on the way home, or even just go to the cafeteria for lunch. They all look like a small amount of money at the time, but if you add them all up, the numbers might surprise you (it sure did surprise me!). To be honest with you, after I decided to cut down my unnecessary spending, eating out was actually not on my list because I thought I am already saving money from not buying more clothes and makeups. I decided to start meal prepping regularly because I want to control the food I eat. And doing this actually double the benefits for me. Not only was I able to know what I food put into my body, but I also save a lot of money from eating out.

 

As I mentioned in my meal prep post, I keep my recipes really simple. I only cook twice a week, and I go to grocery shopping once a week. It usually takes me about $15-$25 to get my ingredients for the entire week. Of course, the number might go up on weeks that I need to buy the meats or the fish, but they usually come in a big pack for me cook multiple times, so I don’t have to buy them every time. Really, the money I spend on buying grocery for a week is almost the amount I would spend on eating out for two meals. It’s crazy!

 

But just like cutting down the unnecessary spendings for clothes and makeups, it doesn't mean that I can never go to a restaurant again. Instead, I gave myself a limit on the money I can spend on eating out, so I can still grab dinner with friends after work during the month and still save money.

 

 

I've been using these three ways to save money for months and have seen a big progress. I will definitely keep on going! Of course, tracking your spending is also very important. It helps me to determine my goal and knowing what I should cut down. But that’s not the way to help you save. You’ll need to take some actions. In addition, saving money doesn't mean that you can never use it. Now that my savings account is growing to a certain point, I can start planning some vacation for myself soon!

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