Have you ever stopped and thought “where on Earth is all of my money going?!” And then stopped again to realize you either ate it, put it in your closet or (in my case) on your bookshelf.Spending is something I struggled with. My parents never really had anyone to guide them through their finances and in turn, they didn’t have much knowledge to pass down to me. One thing they’ve always stressed is not trying to live beyond my means, which is why when I had the chance between renting my current studio that came in under budget and a dreamy apartment a few blocks away that was $100 over my budget, I opted for the former.
And I’m much happier for it.
I wouldn’t consider myself a financial guru by any means but over the past two years, I’ve gotten much better about monitoring my spending and saving.
So today, I want to share a few quick tips that help me spend less and save more without feeling like I’m depriving myself.
Bringing cash for running errands
Especially when heading to Target, aka the most tempting place on Earth. Before you head out to run errands, know exactly what you’re going to get and about how much you’ll be spending. It makes it much harder to pick up a few of those dollar deals near checkout or that new face mask you saw on display. It will also save you time, because let’s face it, we spend more time wandering the aisles of stores to see what’s new and worth picking up than actually focusing on the items we need!
And on a similar note…
Never go shopping without a list!
The only the worse than heading to the grocery store hungry is going without a list. You’ll end up with lots of stuff that takes up place in the fridge but may not be what you want or need to actually get through the week. When grocery shopping, I build my grocery list after deciding what meals I’m making for the week. That way I know exactly what and how much I need of everything and don’t waste money or food.
Have savings taken out automatically
Even if you trust yourself to set aside a certain amount of money each paycheck, I recommend automating it. Each pay, I have a certain amount put into savings without even having to think about if it’s there. Since it’s not up to me to put the cash aside, I can always trust that it happens. It makes saving that much easier and likely to happen when you remove yourself from the equation.
Loading my SEPTA card consistently
I walk almost everywhere I go when I run day-to-day errands or go to work, but any other time, I try to hop on the bus or subway more often than into an Uber or Lyft. Each month, I make sure to add money to my SEPTA (Philly’s public transit system) card to make getting around easy. I never have to worry about having money to get places and because I load the card in advance, that money is spent and I’m less likely to spend it on a rideshare.
Delete those tempting apps
Grubhub. Postmates. Caviar. GoPuff.
Living in the city has its perks but the fact that you can get almost anything delivered to your door makes spending super accessible. If you find yourself taking out too often (or developing personal relationships with the GoPuff delivery man who brings your ice cream….) delete those apps and stick to what’s in stock at home.
Change how you buy
As my schedule and work flows have changed, the way I shop has had to change as well. It’s not only helped me manage my time better, but has saved money in the long run. When I’m traveling or have a slammed week, I’ll order groceries and get them delivered instead of trying to squeeze in a rushed store run or (more likely) eating take out for a week. I get some household staples auto delivered from Amazon like dish soap and laundry detergent so I don’t even have to think about it. Making a quick change like this could do wonders for your wallet, too.
How do you track and control your spending? And if it’s something you struggle with, when do you find you’re overspending the most?