In my experience, there are two types of people: those who are very good at saving money, and those who are not – it’s hard to find someone right in the middle. I, unfortunately, am one of the people who is embarrassingly terrible at saving money. I think this is partially because I have a dangerously lax attitude about money, and partially because I have impulse control problems (my therapist used to say my shopping issue was due to anxiety, but that’s a story for another day!). The reasoning doesn’t really matter – the fact is, putting aside cash instead of immediately spending it is a serious struggle for me, one that is just now starting to negatively affect my life. And because I don’t want you all to be in the same sinking boat as me, I wanted to share this Ask Reddit post that asks users for some money saving tips that actually work.
When it comes to advice on how to build up a savings account, things tend to get really repetitive. You’re told to create a special account that is difficult to access, to make your own meals instead of buying food, to set a strict plan on how much you’ll put away every paycheck, and the worst advice, in my opinion: to simply stop spending money on unnecessary purchases. It’s not that these are bad tips – you have to have a savings account, cooking is absolutely less expensive than buying food every day, and a strict plan will help. As for the last tip? Obviously you have to stop spending on non-essential items, but that is way easier said than done.
If you’re sick of hearing the same thing, over and over again, to a point where it sounds patronizing and obnoxious, this is the post to read. Reddit users gave some really clever tips on how to save money that you probably haven’t heard before. Try out a few of them to find one that works for you – and let us know if you have any thrifty ideas of your own!
Think In Terms Of Time Rather Than DollarsIf you have a very relaxed attitude about money, like I do, then thinking about throwing away $100 on a shirt probably doesn't really bother you. If that's the case, then you should start thinking about a purchase in terms of your time rather than in terms of cash. User diddlesdiddles explains, "A trick that always works for me is to think about how many hourly wages I am spending on something. As someone who previously had a huge spending problem, this has helped me realize that I've worked hard for my money, and I'd rather be working my ass off for a stress free life financially than living pay day to pay day buying meaningless shit." So, the next time you want to buy a $100 shirt, don't think, "It's just $100, I'll make it again." Think, "Hm, that means I just worked three hours to buy one shirt." It puts things in a different perspective, and might help more than you think. Source: iStock
Only Buy Things At The End Of Your Pay ScheduleAfter getting a paycheck, the average person looks at the money they just made, gets excited, and finds things to spend it on. At the end of the week or month (or whatever your pay schedule is), the person is left broke or almost broke, waiting for the next check to repeat the cycle. Try flipping that around and doing things differently - wait until the end of your pay period to buy unnecessary things with whatever money you have left, rather than making those things a priority. User DarkangelUK explains this: "I was quite bad for really wanting things and buying them as soon as I got paid, of course as the end of the month came near I had barely any money left and struggled. To fix this, instead of buying things at the start of the month, I decided to buy things at the end of the month if I still had enough of that months wages left over to do so. If I didn't then I did the same again and wait till the end of the next month, and of course last months leftovers plus the new months wage by the end of the second month I had enough, and sometimes saved money as the item was now cheaper. Basically patience and timing means I can still have the things I want and not be struggling near the end of the month, I'm in a much better place financially now." Source: iStock
Save All Your Five Dollar BillsSometimes you need to take baby steps before you can get really good at something. Before you start saving large chunks of money, try just saving a certain amount. User rackfocus says, "I saw someone on here who put all their five dollar bills in an envelope for a year. I started doing that in February. I'm not going to count them until next February. That envelope is already getting thick with bills!!!" A five dollar bill is the perfect amount to try this with - it's small enough so that you won't miss it, but it's enough that it will add up pretty quickly. Aside from that, you probably won't always have them, so it's not taking too much away from your spending money. Source: iStock
Delete Your Credit Card Information EverywhereOnline shopping has made spending money a little bit too easy. Websites can easily store your credit card information, making it incredibly simple for you to add things to a cart and then pay without giving it a second thought. Google can even remember your info and store it for purchases anywhere, even a site you've never used before. This is scary because of identity theft, but also because it makes it way too simple for people to spend money without giving it a second thought. Instead of using this feature, make sure you never store your card info - having to physically put it in the computer will make you rethink your purchase. User Opheliac says, "Delete your credit card information from everywhere on the internet. Wherever it can be filled in automatically, just delete the information. That way when you want to buy something online, you have to take that extra step to get your credit card out of its hidey-hole and that extra hassle is usually enough to make you re-think what you're about to buy and whether you really need to spend an extra $30 to get free shipping." It's true - when I have to put my card info in, I'm definitely more likely to think, "forget it." Source: iStock
Wait A Few Days Before Buying SomethingWe've already established that I can't stand when people say to just not buy non-essential items, like it's a super simple thing to do. So, here's a better tip that's similar to that: give yourself time. User OpinelNo8 says, "Whenever you feel the urge to buy a non necessity, give yourself a couple of days before you buy it. Often times, the impulse will have passed and you'll be glad to still have the money." Only do this with non-essential items, of course - it really does work. I used to shop a lot more than I do now, and I would buy things the second I wanted them. This led to me having a lot of items I didn't even like that much - clothes I never wore, accessories that weren't practical. It made me angry at myself, so I started waiting a bit before making a purchase on something like that. Eight times out of ten, I decide not to buy it. If I really love it and can't stop thinking about it, I get it! Source: iStock
Look At Your Bank Account Every DayThis is such a simple tip that seems so obvious, and yet gets ignored a lot: keep an eye on your money. User tallish_possum says, "Look at your bank statement. Actually look at where your money goes." It sounds silly, but it really does work. It's so easy to avoid your bank account, and doing that makes it really easy for you to ignore your spending problem. I hate looking at my bank account. It stresses me out and makes me realize I don't have all the money in the world to spend on whatever I want - which I hate remembering. So, for years, I refused to look at it. I would go months without looking at my account, without any idea of what was in there. It was stupid and ridiculous. Now, I force myself to look at it at least once a week. It's a big reminder of what you can and can't spend. Source: iStock
Write Down EverythingYou don't need to have a bullet journal to create a spending log - and you should do it! User _velvetcoffin says, "Writing down everything you spend your money on." This is another simple tip that really, really works. Sure, looking at your account gives you a list of what you're spending and when, but physically writing something down makes it stick more. It's a more hefty reminder of where your money is going and where it should stop going.
Use Cash Instead Of A CardYou've probably heard this one before, but it's important: stop using your card so much. User Gcoal2 says, "Use real money not a debit card. Learned that from Dave Ramsey. Physical Money makes it easier to Feel the pain of spending. As a result you spend less." This is so true. Whenever I use cash, I'm much more likely to cut back on how much I'm spending. A card makes it so easy to just spend whatever without thinking about the consequences. Source: iStock
Save Half Of What Is Left Over At The End Of Your PaycheckHere's another way to use the money left at the end of your paycheck: save half of it. User cupcakejenn says, "On every payday, I move half of what I had leftover from last pay period over into my savings account. (Paying yourself). Sometimes it's not a lot but it has added up quickly." Get into this habit whether it's $50 or $5 that's left over. It will add up, like the user said, and it doesn't feel as horrible because you have money coming in. Source: iStock
Set Up Automatic Bank TransfersA lot of people don't realize that they can set up automatic transfers between savings accounts - and that can make saving super simple. User TheEctopicStroll says, "This will probably get buried, but set up a savings account that you don't have easy access to and start automatic transfers. I set up a secondary savings account at my bank that was not connected in any way to my main account (no transferring money) and set an automatic transfer of $45/week. Next thing I know, I forget about the account for 8 months and there's well over a grand that I forgot I had." Setting up something automatic like this makes saving a no-brainer. Just make sure you set the amount at something reasonable and realistic. You'll save without doing anything! Source: iStock
How do you save money? Which of these tips are you going to try? Let us know in the comments.