Every Little Bit of Savings Adds Up
Living on a budget is the key to financial freedom, but getting started can be frustrating. For many of us, we grew up in a low income home, where our own parents lived paycheck to paycheck. So we didn’t exactly get to learn how to save money or about the process.
Breaking the generational poverty cycle can begin with you. Learning about financial literacy will help you become more financially stable. Saving money is hard and since it can be a long process for us, we lose hope. Today you will make the commitment to yourself that you will make it a non-negotiable to save money, even if it means saving little by little.
When we look at our expenses and see all of those bills we’re paying every month, it’s easy to throw our hands up in disgust. But what about all those little expenses we incur? You might be surprised to find out just how much they amount to. You know the kind when you are at the register or shop while hungry or a simple trip to the dollar store, it all adds up.
We always say to ourselves to justify a purchase… “it was only $1”; but how many times have you done this? Now flip the script, “it was only a $1” and instead of it going to purchases, you placed it into your savings instead. Now your narrative will be very different. Yet it will greatly be a benefit for you in the end.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on little things. A few dollars a month won’t make a significant difference in the big picture. But a few dollars here and a few dollars there adds up to a few more dollars. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
Waste Not, Want Not
One thing we can do that is good for the budget is stop wasting so much. This can apply to many areas in our lives. From eating to home heating, waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.
Cooking for the family instead of eating takeout or dining out is a great way to save money. But if you’re throwing food out, the benefit is reduced. So if you have leftovers, don’t let them end up in the trash. Some dishes freeze well, and this makes for easy dinners when you don’t have time to cook. You could also eat dinner leftovers for lunch the following day.
If your home is not well insulated, you’re probably wasting lots of money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost some money up front, but it will pay for itself quickly. If you have drafts around windows and doors, weatherstripping can help maintain the temperature of your home.
Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. This can be prevented in part by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them, and open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day.
Each dollar you saved must go into your savings account. Some examples are:
Electricity bill last month was $250, so you began being more aware of lights on, turned them all off, using dimmers, nightlights and natural lighting when possible. You reduced your next months bill by $25. That $25 savings must be placed into your savings account.
You started making and drinking only drinks you have made at home. This allowed you to save $60 for the month. That $60 must be placed into your savings.
You used all leftovers, not throwing out a single plate of food. If each plate of food costed $3, and you typically wasted 15 plates of food per month, this costs you $45! By not throwing out them leftovers, you then saved $45, which must be placed into your savings.
Do Yourself a Favor: Do It Yourself
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself, you’re spending money unnecessarily. This applies to little things like buying coffee instead of making your own, as well as to larger expenses such as home repairs.
Many of us buy coffee or a soft drink from a convenience store or coffee shop on the way to work in the morning. This can really add up over time. Instead, make your own coffee, or buy soda in 2-liter bottles and pour some into a smaller bottle or cup to take with you. The same applies to lunches. Instead of springing for fast food, take a sandwich or something microwavable to work.
While we’re not all good at all types of repairs and maintenance, most of us can do some things for ourselves. Maybe you could change your own oil instead of paying someone else to do it. If the walls need painting, consider getting friends and family to help you do it instead of hiring a painter. Things like these can save us a noticeable amount of money right away.
When you add up the savings, little things can make a big difference to the budget. So take a close look at your budget and see what small expenses are lurking there. If you can eliminate or reduce them, it could positively impact your bottom line.
Saving Money Is a Slow Process
Dollar by dollar, it adds up. Do not lose hope, motivation or interest. You will get there, your savings goal will be met. Do not look to the person on your left or your right, their own journey is not yours. Your personal money savings journey is your own, you determine its outcome.
Set up a monthly, quarterly and yearly goal to meet. Then find out what you spend money on, then cross off all the items that are a waste. What is on this list for each person is different, since we all determine for ourselves what is a money waster and what is not.
Become ok with the process of slowly saving. You will not wake up tomorrow and have met your goal. You need to be disciplined, determined, and committed to saving your money. If you can save $0 per week during off-seasons and only $30 per week during peak seasons, acknowledge it and just do what you can. Being ok with how much you can save is going to be how you stay focused and committed.
For some of us, we get paid bi-weekly, and can only save $25 from one check per month, this is ok, at least you are still working towards your savings goal.
The point is to save money, whether it be $5 per week or $100 per week, save that money.