Don’t keep up with the Joneses, is one of the best financial tips you’ll ever get. If you are into money saving or just want to get out of debt and, maybe, start your retirement fund, not trying to compete with others is a great idea.
Do you struggle with debt? Do you want to pay off your mortgage earlier? Save money more aggressively? Start investing for retirement?
Whatever your goals are, living within your means makes a lot of sense.
Here are 3 money saving strategies to achieve financial independence:
Understand where your money is going every month
Keep a budget. Even a simple one. Track your income and expense for at least 30 days to the last penny.
Ideally, in the future, you’ll probably use other budgeting systems that are easier for you to manage (such as the envelope budget system or the 50-20-30 budget rule), but at least for a month, do it the hard way: write down every dollar spend and earned.
After a month, if you diligently tracked all your financial moves, you’ll be able to see exactly how you manage your money and what mistakes you tend to make.
Maybe you spend too much money eating out. Maybe you splurge on useless clothing items and gadgets. Maybe you can get a better cable deal or save money on rent.
Whatever you can improve financially, now you know how to act.
Start making small adjustments
Just like with weight loss, if you try to never eat sweets again, starve yourself and go to the gym 5 times/day, your diet won’t last that long. It’s because the changes you want to make are so drastic, they are felt like a huge shock all over your body.
And, in about 1-2 months, you’ll probably give it all up and start gaining weight once again.
What happens if you start working one time per week? It’s not such a huge change for yourself, but it will have a good impact on your well being.
After a while, you’ll ditch sodas and start drinking water instead.
Do this for weeks and then maybe visit your favorite junk food restaurant only one time a month, instead of one time every week.
All these habits, if given enough time, will allow you to enjoy a good progress, even if slower.
It’s the same with your money.
You won’t be able to do 5-10 financial moves at once and still enjoy life. But you can eat out less frequently for instance. Maybe once a week, instead of every day.
After a while, you can start learning how to better manage your coupons, do meal plans etc.
Don’t make huge changes all at once, your new lifestyle needs to last … for a life time. So, take it slow and see how these changes help you achieve your financial goals.
Surround yourself with frugal people
If your friends splurging makes you spend more money than you should, try to keep frugal friends around you.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you should stop speaking to people just because your financial habits are different, but try to shop without them and even tell them you are trying to save more money and stop spending recklessly.
You might find some of them are also trying to curb their spending and together you could think about new money saving strategies.
These are just 3 money saving strategies you can use to start living within your means. What else would you add?