Unfortunately, not everything in this life is easy and straightforward. For example, learning to save money is a long process that requires self-discipline and organization. Experimenting for a couple of days and then stopping, in the hope that you have learned to value money and spend it more wisely, will not lead to anything. Saving should become a daily habit, such as brushing your teeth or taking a shower.
We present you with a step-by-step guide for a week to introduce the habit of saving into your life. Bonus: several life hacks that will help you protect your budget without drastically changing your life.
Day 1. Control spending
Saving money is somewhat like putting on extra weight by counting calories if you imagine that weight is money. That is, to increase value, you need to spend fewer calories than you consume. This means that to save money, you need to know how much Finance you are spending.
This also applies to situations where people live clearly by income and know exactly the amount spent for a week or month. In such cases, accounting for finances can come as an unpleasant surprise: usually, there is unnecessary spending that eventually eats up the lion’s share of the salary.
Please do not throw out receipts after purchases, but put them in your pocket. Get a notebook in which at the end of the day, you will write down everything, even minor expenses. Alternatively, please install one of the Finance monitoring apps on your smartphone so that you can add costs to it during the day.
Day 2. Count your profits
You can answer the question: how much money do you have now? It means everything: cash savings, funds on cards, put aside for a “rainy day,” change or large bills in the pockets of jackets and trousers.
If you know the exact amount, you only need this article to prove yourself because you are a master in saving money. Well, or you have 154 rubles left before your salary, which is easy to calculate. As a rule, people answer this question approximately, and it turns out to be far from the real state of Affairs, which is terrible for the family budget.
It is useless to plan expenses if you do not know how much income you will have. What is the use of scheduled purchases if there is no money left? Therefore, you should always know how much money you currently have.
Start recording your income. Remember that these include not only your salary but also money in an envelope given as a gift on a holiday, lottery winnings, or tax deductions.
If you are a freelancer or have a floating salary that depends on the month’s performance, you need to calculate your average income. To do this, calculate the total earnings for the year and divide by 12. This amount is what we need to start. Also, analyze your smallest salary for the year: why this situation occurred, whether it can happen again and whether you can live on this amount. Maximum income also requires thinking about what contributed to financial success and how to repeat it.
The final step is to count all your current funds: clothing pockets, bills and cards, and cash in your wallet. By the way, if you find money in unexpected places, immediately put it in the piggy bank. After all, you have forgotten about them anyway, so temporarily giving them up will not cause internal resistance.
Day 3. Looking for motivation
Without proper motivation, a successful outcome of the case is impossible. If you set a goal of saving money, you will probably quickly abandon the process itself. Because, daily limiting yourself to pleasant little things and counting boring finances, you risk not reaching the goal. At some point, it will seem too global and distant. And then you didn’t record one purchase, the second, and then you stopped doing it altogether.
It is another matter when saving becomes a means, not an end. That is, calculating the budget and limiting yourself are small steps on the way to buying an apartment/car/your business/your option. In this case, saving is a helper on the way to your dream.
Decide on your goal: what you want to achieve with savings. Try to think logically: do not flatter yourself that with a salary of 60 thousand rubles, you can save for an elite apartment in the center of Moscow. But you should not drive yourself into a rigid framework: if you do not hold for an apartment, then you will get your own business. But the profit from it can eventually go to the purchase of housing.
Don’t be afraid to set long-term goals. In any case, they may change over time: when the desire becomes irrelevant or another option appears. Reviewing your goals from time to time and setting new ones is a good habit in all areas. After all, the sooner you realize that you are going the wrong way, the easier it will be to change direction.
Day 4. Looking for ways to save money
To save money, it is not enough to cancel a purchase once. To systematize the process, you need to analyze your spending. For example, if you refuse to buy another dress once, you will save about 5 thousand dollars. But if you stop smoking, you can save 36-45 thousand per year.
You can find your ways to save money in stages:
- Identify your regular spending habits. These may include dining in a cafe instead of eating home-made food in a container, Smoking, or taking a taxi instead of public transport. Calculate how much money you can save in a month or year if you give up these habits.
- Secondary expenses. For example, you pay large electricity bills every month because you forget or are too lazy to replace conventional light bulbs with energy-saving ones. Or don’t fix the faucet, which is constantly leaking water, and at the end of the month, pay for the extra “dripped” cubic meters.
Think about what habits and rituals you can replace with less expensive ones or get rid of them altogether. Start with one routine and one minor expense, and add one more item to each method after a week. So, you will gradually change your life without causing yourself adverse psychological reactions.
Day 5. Lists
Lists are an essential attribute in any planning process. It is impossible to remember everything and always. Therefore, making a shopping list before going to the store helps us refrain from reckless spending and purchasing unnecessary things. A calendar that will mark the dates of payments on loans and utility bills will save you from fines and penalties.
Start small – create a menu for the next week and a shopping list for the next trip to the store:
- For the menu, you need to think through all meals and snacks, focusing on your desires, as well as the possibility or impossibility of frequent cooking. For example, you know that next week there will be a busy and irregular schedule that will not give you the time or energy to prepare food in the evenings. This means that even during the weekend, you need to prepare semi-finished products that will not take much time to prepare or prepare them for several days at once.
- After planning the menu for a week, it will be easier for you to navigate through the list of necessary products for shopping. Also, check the shelves in the kitchen and bathroom for anything else you might need: running out of toothpaste and no more washing powder. In the future, make a habit of immediately adding the finished product to your shopping list.
Day 6. Planning your budget
Planning a budget that considers all possible expenses and income for the year will help avoid any financial difficulties. For example, on the second day, we celebrated the months with the lowest and highest incomes. And the best thing that planning can offer us is to “move” some of the revenue from a good month to a losing one.
Let’s say you are a photographer, and your primary income is shooting at weddings. The most unfavorable months for you are May and January when there are many times fewer weddings. This means that in February and June, you will have a difficult financial situation. However, if you have calculated your budget in advance, you have saved money from more profitable months.
Another situation. You need to pay tax once a year – 12 thousand rubles. If you give this amount at once, it will significantly affect your daily life. But if you save 1 thousand rubles each month, then paying the tax will not burden your wallet.
Since you are just getting acquainted with financial planning, it will not be easy to include everything in your budget immediately. Start small: plan for a month and then a year. Try to remember all your income and expenses during this period and analyze which ones are expected of you.
With a planned budget, it’s easier to track your money’s receipts and expenditures. Changes may appear in the process, and you should also make them in the charts. After all, the main goal is the habit of accounting and planning.
Day 7. Summing up
So that all the previous steps will not be in vain, train yourself to pay attention to your finances once a week:
- Analyze the receipts and verify the authenticity of all expenses.
- Analyze purchases: what was spontaneous, some are necessary and which – due to the backlog of your other points (for example, planned menus for the week – finished food only lasted until Thursday, had Friday at lunch to go to the cafe).
- If there were revenues, write them down.
- Create a new shopping list for the next week.
- Calculate your savings over the past seven days and save this money or transfer it to a savings account in a Bank.
- If necessary, make adjustments to your budget.
Now you can analyze your spending and think about what else you can replace or remove from your habits. In the future, add new financial tasks to your lists by gradually adding new patterns.
When savings are firmly embedded in your life, you will begin to notice spending that you didn’t pay attention to immediately, or invent new ways to save your budget. But it will not be immediately. Therefore, we present you seven already proven life hacks that help you protect your account:
Ask for discounts. Always and everywhere. Note: if you asked for a bargain, but were not given it, then you will buy the product at the initial price. That is, you do not lose anything when you bargain, but if you are lucky, you save money. The easiest way to do this is at markets and small departments where the owner himself sits behind the counter. But do not forget to bargain when buying a car or apartment, where even a 1% discount can equal tens of thousands of rubles.
Cashback. Choose a Bank and card that are ideally suited to you: there is no point in opening a card that receives cashback in the form of miles if you are not a fan of traveling. Analyze the type of frequent spending and choose one based on it.
Give up bad habits. In addition to causing harm to health, such addictions also empty your wallet. At the end of the first week of savings, calculate how much you spend on cigarettes or alcohol (and its accompanying charges). The resulting result will surprise you unpleasantly, which may help you break bad habits.
Promotions in stores. Why buy a coat from a new collection for 50 thousand, if you can buy almost the same at a sale for 5? The same applies to products: of course, you should not take milk, the term of which ends the next day, but if the deadline comes out in a week, and you drink it daily, then why not? Also, stores often launch good promotions for products with an average shelf life.
The second side of the coin of the previous point is the impulsive purchases of cheap goods. Well-known stores at the same price collect long queues at the checkout because people are attracted to a small fee, and they impulsively buy cheap but unnecessary things. Tip: go to these stores only for a specific item, if you know that it is less expensive than others.
Do not buy bags at checkout. After purchasing a large number of products, purchasing a bag with a price of 5, rubles does not seem scary. However, if you opt-out of them in favor of an eco-bag, you can save an average of about 1,000 rubles per year. Also, this way, you make a personal contribution to the health of our planet.
Turn off electrical appliances. Follow this rule always, if you do not want to create additional expenses due to a short circuit of the electrical wiring.
Saving money is not always dull and boring. Turn the process into an entertaining game, the goal of which is to stop asking for a payday loan or save up for a pleasant thing for yourself or a trip. Remember that it’s hard only at the beginning of the journey, then your actions will turn into a useful habit that you will not want to give up.