Despite the fact that we all know it’s important, saving money is often a painful chore most people find tedious or even impossible.
Fortunately, being financially responsible doesn’t have to be this way.
There are a number of practices you can put into play that will not only bring more money to your bank account, but also help you enjoy getting it there in the first place.
1) Collect $5 notes
Just about everyone I know collects something. Many people collect stamps, coins or sports memorabilia. I, however, collect $5 notes.
The main advantage to my hobby is that they don’t have to come from a certain time period, be in a certain condition or have someone’s autograph. They’re all valuable and I know exactly how much they’re all worth.
This practice is more like a game than a hobby though. The way it works is this: every time I come across a $5 note, I hold onto it and fight the urge to spend it. That note remains in my possession, far from the reach of any cashiers, until six months have passed. At that time, I deposit it in my bank account.
Obviously, there are a number of benefits to this little pastime of mine. The first one is that I get to put hundreds of dollars worth of notes into my bank account on a regular basis. You don’t get that from bird watching or building model cars.
However, I’d have to say that a strong secondary benefit is that I get a real sense of satisfaction and accomplishment every time I deposit a pile of notes that I know represents my discipline.
I’ll tell you something else, it makes being responsible all the more easy in other ways too. If I can hang onto hundreds of dollars worth of five dollar notes for six months at a time, I can also resist the temptation to buy things I don’t need or otherwise spend my money irresponsibly.
2) Make subtle changes to your lifestyle
There are countless reasons why it pays to pursue a healthier lifestyle – something most of us should really do. One simple benefit is that it’s far more affordable.
Yes, there are all kinds of ways to spend money in an attempt to get in better shape: you could start buying organic food, join a gym, hire a personal trainer, purchase fancy gadgets, etc. But if you’re living an unhealthy lifestyle, you’re probably already spending that money on things like cigarettes, beer, processed foods and all kinds of purchases dedicated to helping you spend more time on the couch.
You can make any of a number of subtle changes in your life which will benefit your health greatly and help you save money at the same time.
Just one example would be preparing your own home cooked meals instead of eating out or ordering food in. By purchasing ingredients in bulk, you can afford higher quality and get a number of meals out of them.
Many people take this a step further by following their favourite cooking show and attempting as many recipes as possible. Again, so long as you buy in bulk, your budget will remain intact and your taste buds will thank you.
3) Pick your own goal
If none of these options sound appealing, feel free to come up with your own financial milestone to chase.
Start by picking a goal that is attainable, yet challenging. Don’t attempt to become a millionaire in 30 days; that will end in disappointment. But don’t challenge yourself to save a whole $10 either; that goal doesn’t make a real difference.
Ideally, you want a goal that will both make a real impact on your finances and give you that personal sense of satisfaction I mentioned earlier.
Pick either 30 or 90 days to meet your milestone, whichever is most appropriate. Then, begin tracking your progress.
This step can’t be underestimated in terms of its importance. It will ensure you constantly stay in touch with your goal along the way, instead of letting it sneak up on you when there are only a few days left.
We all know saving money is important, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy. However, if you apply the above tips to your life, both you and your savings account will be happier.
Do you have any tips on how you save money? Please SHARE in the comments below.