It is said that money cannot buy happiness, but it surely helps support the lifestyle that makes you happy. It is not necessarily about avoiding buying baubles or gold but instead being economical with commodities such as your time and your health. Everyone wants to strive for a better life, and in a capitalist society where the consumer is king, it can be hard to save money in the short term to live better in the long term.
Fear not, for even with today’s high-interest rates, inflation and job uncertainty, there are still creative ways to save money.
How To Save Money and Live Better
It may seem like there isn’t much to spare for storing away but there are a few clever ways to save money. It is time to avoid impulse buying, make healthier choices, start saving and live a little better each day.
1. Money-Saving Challenges
Life bettering benefit: The money you save could be used for a down payment on a big purchase like an appliance or car.
There are many money-saving challenges that not only help you save but also are fun to participate in. Saving money is a side benefit of challenging yourself or possibly friends or family members to work towards a goal.
These games or challenges can also be a great way to show children the value of saving and some fun ways to do it. Here are some examples of challenges you should try on your own or with your family:
- 30-day rule: This is a no-spend challenge that is great for your monthly budget. You simply stop spending on anything non-essential. This cuts back on impulse buying or purchasing something you don’t need. At the end of 30 days, if you still want something you didn’t get, you can, but at least now you have thought about it and saved a little money. You may be surprised how quickly those little things add up in a month.
- The pantry challenge: Think of this like a cooking show for you and your family. This challenge makes you use items in your pantry to cook meals instead of heading to the grocery store. Not only is this a creative way to cook and share an experience but it also spares you from your never-ending grocery list.
- 100 envelope challenge: This challenge helps you save $5,000 in 100 days. That’s right, imagine saving thousands in just over three months. Take 100 empty envelopes and write the numbers 1 to 100 on them. Every day, for 100 days, randomly choose an envelope and whatever number is on the front, you put that amount of money in the envelope.
2. Lighten Up on Expensive Habits
Life bettering benefit: You can become wealthier and healthier.
Sometimes it is mentally easier to think of doing something less than quitting it altogether. Think of some of your everyday habits that might be both unhealthy and expensive. Cutting back on the following things now can lead to a healthier and wealthier you in the long run:
- Go meatless: By skipping eating meat one or two times a week you can not only save money as those items tend to be more expensive in grocery stores and restaurants, but it also makes a positive impact on the environment. Going green can start with what you eat.
- Skip cocktail hour: A nightcap here and there can be nice, and sometimes even needed, but those drinks can add a lot to what you’re spending per month. One drink at a bar two days a week might be costing you more than you think. If the drink is $8, plus tax and tip, you may be spending around $10 per drink, which is $20 per week and ends up at $80 per month.
- Stop smoking: Smoking is one of the most expensive habits you can have, and according to every doctor past the 1960s, is quite bad for you. Stopping now will not only improve your health and wealth but also possibly save you from expensive medical bills later.
3. Streamline Your Budget
Life bettering benefit: Allows you to save for a special occasion like a vacation or wedding.
Once you actively start noticing where you are spending it helps you to edit how you are spending. Here are two great ways to help streamline your budget:
- Cancel unwanted subscriptions: Go through your phone and see what subscriptions you are paying automatically every month. Many of these you may not even use regularly. Canceling your unused subscriptions will free up some extra cash but also some extra time which is always a good way to live better.
- Negotiate your bills: You will always have monthly bills, but there may be some wiggle room for how much you are paying. Call your credit card service provider and you could negotiate your payment to a lower APR or have late payment fees waived. Speaking with a representative could possibly save you money on cable, internet or home insurance.
4. Avoid Impulse Buying
Life bettering benefit: Gives you a cushion for the unexpected like emergencies or unemployment.
A clever way to avoid impulse buying is to remove temptation by unfollowing brands you often purchase from or unsubscribing to emails from companies where you spend a lot of money. This is good for both your financial and mental health as when things are out of sight, out of mind, you may realize how many things you don’t miss buying.
5. Automate Your Savings
Life bettering benefit: The amount of money you save now can determine when and how you retire.
Whether it’s a company-provided 401K, IRA or just an emergency fund savings account, it is important to invest in your retirement. Putting money into something you can’t immediately touch also has its benefits. Automating your savings now will greatly improve your quality of life later as how much money you save will determine both how and when you retire.
6. Lean Into Being Cheap
Life bettering benefit: The little corners you cut consistently can lead to big dreams coming true such as home ownership.
Being cheap used to be an insult, but now you can laugh all the way to the bank. Cheapness can almost become competitive for those who can get the better deal. A few great ways to start to cheap out include the following:
- Generic brands: Switch to generic brands instead of name brands when grocery or clothing shopping.
- Thrift shopping: Shop for home goods and clothing at thrift stores. This is a great way to save but also upcycle things that may have been discarded otherwise.
- Free events: Find free events on community boards at libraries, music venues and local bars and restaurants. You find everything from live music to book readings to art shows. Many of these events are free and a great way to get to know your community.
Final Take: Save Money, Live Better
There are many ways saving money and living better go hand in hand. By just tweaking a few choices here and there you can greatly improve your mental health and your bank account. Even small steps can go in the right direction.
FAQHere are the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about saving money.
- What company says "Save Money Live Better?"
- The company credited for coining the slogan "Save Money Live Better" is Walmart. "Save Money, Live Better and the Full Potential of Walmart" is on the company's website.
- What is the 30-day rule?
- The 30-day rule is a no-spend challenge where you stop spending on anything non-essential for 30 days. This cuts back on impulse buying or purchasing something you don't need. At the end of 30 days if you still want something you didn't get, you can, but at least now you have thought about it.
- How can you save money and still live your life?
- If you don't want to feel the full impacts of a strict budget to help you save money, you can try a few other methods. Consider a money-saving challenge, like the 100 envelope challenge, where saving money is more like a game. Lightening up on your expensive habits can also lead to decent savings and lastly, try to avoid impulse shopping. When you want to buy something, think it over for a few days and consider its true worth.