One of the most important aspects of a lasting routine, is not only the addition of new habits, but also the exclusion of old ones. Finding ways to reduce the habits or stress triggers in your life will open up space in your mind and allow you to be more generous when trying new things
1. You have a gym membership you never use
Let’s face it – we’ve all signed up for the gym on January 1, ready to face reality and do the work. But around February 15th the motivation fades and your schedule picks up, leaving less time to plan and get to the club. Gym membership fees can run you anywhere from $20 to $80 dollars per month, and unless you’re really working that space into your daily or weekly routine, you’re probably not getting the value out of it that buying a good pair of running shoes or some bar bells for home would give you.
2. You are constantly buying trendy or limited use clothing
If you’re a shopaholic, you need to give it a break, or get more committed to window shopping. If you’re trying to save money, a change of mindset towards buying investment pieces that are going to last a while and go with a lot of different outfits is imperative. There are two specific problems to look out for here:
- You spend too much on things you don’t need – don’t spend money on frivolous items that you’ll only wear to one party once. Make sure your purchases focus on classic, stylish pieces that dress up and dress down, and that will fit the trend for years to come.
- You spend too little on things you do need – there are some items a good wardrobe just can’t do without. Make sure you’re investing in the items you’ll where daily and need to last a while!
Check out this article on Refinery29 for the story of one woman finding ways to keep up her wardrobe after going broke in New York.
3. You don’t have automated savings
As with a lot of things on this blog, in order to have enough money on hand when you need it, you need to plan ahead. Automate your savings so you’re saving a little bit from each paycheck into a savings account. I’ve been using SmartyPig, now powered by SallieMae, for about seven years now and I love it! High interest rate for savings and I can set it and forget it – it’s how I saved up for a car down payment and someday will have enough to look at buying a home!
Whether you’re saving for a house or a fantastic pair of jeans, finding more ways to save without thinking about it will get you there faster.
4. You buy too much in one trip at the grocery store
It’s easy to do, but not having a plan when you go to the grocery store can make a huge difference in your monthly bottom line. [Link to article on tips for spending less on food] Take a moment before you head into the store to think through what you need for the next few days. Pick up an ad sheet and check what’s on sale. Try to go to the store a couple times a week and don’t buy anything perishable that’s not on the menu. Select a couple days a week to be your shopping days to take advantage of deals as they change throughout the week. Most importantly, don’t buy anything just to “have around”. If you don’t need it, leave it at the store.
5. You go out to eat or drink too often
This is one I have struggled with a lot. I love good food and a nice drink now and then, and sometimes now and then ends up getting me into a $60 dollar meal a few times a month. Having an idea of what I’ll be eating for the week, having a plan for emergencies when I can’t make myself cook and don’t have a ton of great options on hand has made a huge difference in my budget in the past year. Try limiting high dollar meals to special occasions and finding some new ways to spice up your menu at home.
Main take away: What each of these points addresses is that if you want to have more money around for saving or travel, you’ve got to make it a priority. Assess what you spend money on and whether it’s essential – get rid of what you don’t need and make intentional decisions to grow that savings balance.