Hello everyone. Today I welcome Katherine to The Green Swan with a contributed post on saving money. She has a couple tips on how to develop the mindset to start saving and to help it to form as a new life-long habit!
Take it away Katherine…
The first thing you need to know about saving money is that it is one of the hardest things you will ever do, at least at first. But like many things in life, what starts out as difficult and unpleasant can soon become a habit. You will find that saving money will quickly become the best habit you can ever form.
Whether or not you ever find saving money pleasant, there are still very good reasons that you need to gain the discipline. Life without a savings account can be pretty awful when bad times come your way. And they will most certainly come your way sooner or later.
When you need emergency funds, your options are all unpleasant. You will be looking at Payday loan alternatives, cutting back, donating plasma, and the like. It is not impossible to get through it. But all solutions are less pleasant than saving money for such occasions in the first place.
Companies like MaxLend do what they can to make alternative loan options a little less painful. When you find yourself in a deep enough hole, an emergency loan is about the only thing that will get you out. Borrowing from family and friends is usually not a good idea, and is often not even a possibility. So if you are not in the habit of saving money, here are a few ways to get into it:
Stop Using Cash
Cash is a little too convenient. If you have it on you, then you are very likely to spend it on something. Drink machines can often hit you up for $2.50 at a time. Food trucks and other impulse vendors are always enticing, and oh so willing to serve.
It is extremely difficult to keep up with your plant to limit spending when you are using cash. This is one of those times when you might need to ignore the experts and stop using cash. It is difficult to stay accountable to yourself when there is no record of what you spent, when you spent it, and what you spent it on. Savings requires accountability. And it is hard to look back and see what went wrong with heavy use of cash.
Stop Harmful Vices
No one wants to sound preachy. But if you won’t stop smoking for your health, you should stop for your budget. People who smoke often go through an on-again, off-again struggle to quit. Seeing a doctor and purchasing prescription medication to help you quit is still less expensive than purchasing cigarettes. A pack a day will run you a little over $2,500 a year.
That is not to say that you should stop investing that much money. It is just to say that once you stop smoking, you can put the equivalent of a pack a day into savings. $2,500 a year is a respectable amount by just about any standard. If you dropped beer consumption from a case a week to a six-pack, you will save well more than twice that much. The amount saved in vices alone can finance a whole new lifestyle. It is certainly enough to power a healthy savings account.
Purchase Quality Products
When it comes to consumables like napkins and paper cups, go cheap. You will go through them just as quickly even if you buy the best. So don’t. But for items that need to last, spend more and save in the long term. Furniture that lasts for ten years instead of two costs you less, even if you paid a little more up front.
The same principle applies to smartphones, computers, pants, and automobiles. Quality counts when it comes to longevity. If you want to save money, buy products that last.
We all know why saving money is important because we have all been there. And we will very likely be there again. Finding yourself broke is not a sign of weakness or a lack of moral fortitude. It’s life. Be prepared to deal with it by minimizing the use of cash, harmful and expensive vices, and buying quality products that last.