For many of us, saving money requires the development of new habits. Perhaps we were never really taught how to manage money, or maybe we simply avoid thinking about it because the situation is so dire. In order to see things really turn around for the long haul, we need to incorporate some simple money-saving habits. Start with these four steps and notice how a greater awareness
of money helps you keep a little more of it in your wallet!
If we really want to save money, we have to increase our awareness of money. This means knowing each month how much we have, what we've spent our money on, what our goals are, and where we stand in terms of reaching those goals. To do this, we must take the time each month to balance our checking accounts. When we don't, we just continue to spend money, we avoid thinking about it, and then we feel awful about ourselves when reality sets in.
Here's another way to look at it: You're running a company - your family! You wouldn't own a business and not keep up with the books, would you? So let's start taking our family finances seriously by taking the time to balance our checkbooks each month.
Use Your Wallet
This habit sounds too simple to make any difference, but the act of sliding dollar bills and coins into your wallet can help you to be more aware of your spending. That awareness is a key part of having the resolve you need in order to save money. When we keep bills stuffed into a pocket, or floating around inside a purse, we don't always know what we have on hand, and it becomes easier not to think about how we choose to use it.
It's simple. When we don't shop from a list, we spend more money. So take the time each week to write down what you intend to buy from the store, and stick to it. This Printable Grocery Shopping List will help you plan out meals and avoid those mid-week trips to pick up forgotten items.
Know Ahead of Time What You'll be Serving for Dinner
Planning meals ahead of time will help you avoid unintentionally spending money on take-out food. There's nothing wrong with getting pizza once in a while or even once a week, but try to avoid impulsively ordering take-out just because there's nothing else on hand. Impulsive take-out can easily add up to be hundreds of dollars per month.
In addition, if you have older children, planning meals ahead of time makes it even easier to assign cooking duties. You can actually save a little money and teach responsibility at the same time!