We have been bamboozled by the lives of celebrities and those who have fame and fortune.
It has given the impression that in order to save money and make big moves in life you have to make a lot of money when this is actually a myth. The key to saving money and being a smart saver, outside of making thousands of dollars a week, is to establish a good set of healthy habits.
On Instagram, the most wealthy investors, even your favorite business gurus, stress the importance of having several streams of income, so that you are never left broke and unable to pay your bills and eat if unemployment or tragedy were to strike.
The point of stressing daily practices for becoming a money saving expert, even when you're a beginner and don't know the first thing about saving money, is to figure out how you can implement them in the smallest of ways.
With the price of city living rising, it became essential to figuring out what not to do when it came to managing my cash flow and saving.
As a full-time college student some of the ways that people were able to gain extra income such as picking up more shifts, working a second job, delivering for online services (UBER eats and Postmates) were not something I could comfortably do without experiencing burnout.
Keep reading to find out what habits I implemented to maximize how I use my money and became a successful saver.
Related post: How to set SMART financial Goals
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Planning for the future is something that we were all raised to do.
Whether this looked like saying you wanted to be a doctor, what college you would go to, what jobs you didn't want to do, or what your ideal family dynamic would look like, we as humans are always looking ahead.
In some ways it feels like we are trying to outrun time.
And only when we remember to be mindful in our daily spending and personal decisions, are we exercising our ability to choose where we invest our energy and time.
Think of where you want to be in X years
If you consider how middle school was 3 years, high school lasted for 4 years and college also lasts for 4 years (assuming you're not part-time) we are meant to go through life changes.
We are not suppose to stay in the same position or economic status for the remainder of our time on earth.
Being able to reflect on whether you want to buy a house by the age of 30 or afford a year to focus on career opportunities instead of worrying about losing income, is something that can keep you focused.
Helps you to determine your why
What is your why? How do you know what your purpose in life is?
It's the thing that keeps you going and centered when chaos seems to be stirring around you.
It's the thing that makes you want to volunteer in a crowded soup kitchen during the holidays or the reason why you return to a job that doesn't seem to appreciate you for sake of the clients you assist.
Wanting to help others
Creating new things
Having freedom to make your schedule
Having more time with children/family
Financial security (large savings, passive income, traditional retirement)
Being prepared for the unexpected
Saving can be hard when you like to buy things and you have cash sitting around in the form of an emergency fund.
Creating a financial cushion can be difficult when you are deciding whether to cook after a long day or spend $50-$100 on a delivery service.
You begin to test the boundaries of yourself and what you considered possible.
It forces you to remember why you are capable of eating out less, staying in more, and and avoiding window-shopping to benefit your future.
Shapes your current habits
Whether you're fresh out of college, just starting or deciding what you want to do now that you're approaching your 40's, you're able to see what you did in the past and reflect deeply on it.
stating what happened
how it made you feel at the time
deciding if there were any consequences of poor spending
and determining how that influences what you would or would not do again.
All without judgement if you find yourself teetering with thoughts that include putting down the version of yourself from a few years ago or walking through a path of regrets then you can change the way the conversation goes.
Pretending you're talking to a friend often sounds corny and pointless but when you consider how generous, kind, protective and caring, we are toward those we love, it makes it a powerful tool when shaping our mindsets.
The past can keep us in check.
But we're using it not as a tool to promote shame and hurt we're using it as a guide for not repeating past incidents.
I began my journey of Invisalign on a whim, no budget in mind, and a year of paying half of my check toward one bill left me broke, sad, and without any savings.
I love the way my teeth came out and while I don't regret the decision it should of been done with more planning in mind.
Buy things that make you genuinely happy not just for the time being but in the long term as well. What you should never do to save money is make the process of saving a second priority.
You can help yourself get to a position where you're okay living minimally for the time being and do not rely on external stimuli for happiness.
Minimize spending, maximize saving, boost your livelihood.
Determine why it's hard to save
I have an entire post dedicated to why you're having trouble saving money. You can read it down below.
Related Post: This is why you can't save money
For a lot of people it's a bunch of different reasons that are nothing to be ashamed of.
If you have $120 left after you paid all of your bills you may value being able to buy a cab once a week home.
Maybe as a single parent or hard working young adult you prioritize being able to provide for others in your family.
It can be easy to not save after you have spent money and paid bills because it doesn't seem like much.
But everyone has to start somewhere.
Owing money in the form of credit cards, money borrowed from a friend, or having to pay back a loan can take priority over everything else.
Many people hold off on saving until all of their debt is cleared.
When your balance is small and the payment plan is short term this is not a huge problem. However when you begin to wait longer than a few months and hold off on building an emergency fund for years... 2020 is a prime example of just how massive and sudden emergencies can become.
Saving money based on what is left over is not a good idea.
Learning to stash away $50 from each check or per month in the beginning is a great start.
Often we become guilty of not saving because it means we have to live below our means and shop bargains at the grocery store or when planning the holidays. It's easier to find ways to spend money than it is to save it.
We are use to high speed service, fast internet and for everything to happen as quickly as possible. Yet with saving unless you had thousands of dollars just sitting in your bank account untouched— it's going to take some time to get to where you want to be.
Have a budget
Now we've made some goals for the future and reflected on the past, it's time to make this into something that our current selves can do.
I am a HUGE fan of the no budget budget because I don't enjoy the process of categorizing my money. I'd rather automate as many of my bills as possible and pay the other ones on the day I get paid.
The money that is left over after you calculate your expenses can go toward investing, saving, and taking care of your other needs.
Pay yourself first
No matter what your situation is or if you are beginning your journey toward financial freedom by googling what are the weirdest ways to save money... you deserve the first cut of your check after taxes to go toward your desires and needs.
Before any bills are deducted, I recommend setting up a bank account where the money is automatically withdrawn and placed in a savings account or separate checking account.
The other option for saving is to have your job deduct funds in the form of different brokerage accounts that go toward your retirement.
Example brokerage accounts: Roth IRA ( pre taxed money) , Traditional IRA (taxes are deducted upon withdrawal)
Keep track of your spending
1. Set up notifications so that you are alerted when funds are deposited or deducted from your account.
2. Write down what you spent at the end of each day
3. Make sure you check your account balance daily
Control over finances begins when you know what is happening and aren't guessing or estimating where your hard earned cash is going.
You might even notice you have some expenses that can be cancelled or reduced.
Have an abundance mindset
Your mindset is EVERYTHING.
When you stop saying that you're broke or that your life is simply not going how you planned.
When you abandon the idea that you are destined to suffer through all that life is offering you.
You will decide that you don't like the noise outside of your window and that the sooner you can find an easy passive way to make money, the faster you can boost your income and afford the neighborhood you want.
Your mind begins to see possibilities and solutions where it once saw obstacles and impossible situations.
I manifest courage and the strength to make it through each day
How can you overcome a bad spending habit?
By acknowledging it's there and believing that one day at a time you can develop a plan to tackle your debt, increase your savings, preserve your joy, and work toward having the financial future you deserve.
Don't see saving money as giving up
You're staying in for dates? Not spending money on eating out? Navigating the waters of a new phone plan or new income?
All of these changes are temporary and are with your future self in mind.
You're swapping out one activity that cost money to still spend time with people whose company you enjoy
You are destined to save money and live your best life. Saving money isn't as challenging once you believe in yourself.
Think back to the last time you were faced with a difficult situation at work or when you had to learn something new that now feels natural.
Once you begin adapting habits and practicing them one day at a time they will become routine. Saving money is not any different.
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Let me know in the comments how you feel right now about saving money!