One of the biggest changes I have made over the last few months is due to Ramit Sethi’s $1,000 challenge. (link includes all 30 tips) Ramit challenged readers to save $1,000 in one month and shared tips on how to do just that. If you are already pretty frugal, and not a spendthrift like some people (me!) you will probably be doing a lot of the things he recommends already. BUT, and this is a big point, consider his advice as a jumping off point. If you can’t save money by optimizing your cellphone bill, what other services can you optimize? Cable, Internet, or home phone? The whole idea is to look at everything you spend (even on bills) and figure out if it’s worth it to you.
Learn more: How We Cut The Cable Bill
The big change for me was when people started referring to saving $600/year or $500/ year. It was like the imaginary light bulb over my head suddenly shined bright and strong. I had been adding up our savings and expenses based on a monthly budget, mostly to avoid sticker shock. But I realized when I started adding up savings on a yearly basis it got me much more motivated to save money. $50/month doesn’t really seem like that much, but when you realize that’s $600/year it changes your perspective. (well, at least it did for me)
Could you use a budget planner? It doesn’t have to be fancy, but having a planner you love might motivate you to use it.
I used to spend a lot on little things, and occasionally big things. I never really felt like we HAD a lot of money, or we spent a ton, but adding it up over the course of a year or several years is REALLY eye-opening.
As a reformed spender my mind immediately envisions where that $600 would get spent (if we were debt free). The idea that I could conceivably take a weekend trip with the family, or purchase a new spring wardrobe, or buy 2 iPhones, or, or…whew, sorry for that, I got a little carried away!
Learn more: 10 Steps To Get Out Of Debt
What you need and what you want are very different things, and as our economy is slowing I see more people taking stock of what they are spending. The key is to figure out exactly what you want to do with you money.
When deciding if something is worth it to you, ADD IT UP! The numbers will give you motivation to save money.
I’ll show you how much we saved and how in my next post. (I have to add it all up!)