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Spend less, start saving

Everyone’s goal seems to be spending less and starting some kind of a savings program. However, this dream seems to be like trying to eat less and lose weight – you really want to do it, but it’s just such hard work. For many people there is a trick – or three – to successfully saving money.

First, they cut down in areas that do not noticeably affect the quality of their life. Second, they often earmark the money that they save for a specific goal. And last but not least, these people seem to really enjoy life, often much more than the folks around them do. How do they do it?

Cutting Down

Cutting down rather than cutting out is the key to saving money painlessly. Here are some suggested areas of your life where you can easily cut down on the amount you use and therefore on the amount you spend:

  • Consume less electricity. Turn off lights and appliances when you are not using them. Dine by candlelight once a week. Install a programmable thermostat for your HVAC.
  • Buy less and shop with a list. Never go to the grocery store when you are hungry. If impulse buying of small items gives you an enormous amount of pleasure, set a “recreational shopping” budget limited to a few dollars a week to indulge in this habit.
  • Buy for less. Be a conscious consumer. Shop the sales and clip coupons. When looking for appliances and other major items, check for the best prices on line before you ever set foot in a store.

Setting a Goal

Saving can be a pleasure when you know what you’re saving for. There are two types of savings goals – an intended use or a targeted amount. They work like this:

  • Choose an item (for example, a new car) or a plan (such as retirement at age 45) that you would like to save towards. Find fun ways to remind yourself to keep this goal in mind. You could use hang a travel poster for a place you’d like to visit when you retire next to your front door, or add a BMW fob to your key chain.
  • If you prefer to focus on saving a certain amount of money, make up a thermometer chart like they do for fund raising telethons. At the top, write the sum you’d like to come up with. As your savings add up, mark the dollar figure on the chart with a bright red marker. A steadily rising red line will give a visual incentive to keep moving forward.

Enjoying Life

It’s not all about the money. Even if you are trying to spend less, you can still enjoy plenty the pleasures life has to offer. Keep an open mind and a sense of fun. For example, if you’re opting for a picnic in the park to save money on restaurant bills, do it in style, with an elegant (washable) tablecloth to spread on the grass.

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Grace Chen
Grace Chen - Writer & Editor
A graduate of the Haas School of Business, University of California, which is one of the top three (3) business schools in the U.S., Grace Chen has 10 years of experience in this field and have been delivering stellar business content through her written word. She’s the chief editor of Communicate Better and has written and edited thousands of content published in various online and printed media, including the NYSE-sponsored research studies and MEC Global. Connect with Grace on LinkedIn, https://www.linkedin.com/in/grace-chen-9254ab8/