I recently hinted to my decision to go on a financial fast as part of my New Year’s resolution. I’ve never been a big spender, often leaning on the side of frugality rather than excess, but I did notice that I saved very little and didn’t understand why.
I decided to cut-off the fountain. I wanted to see what would happen if I refused to spend money on things that weren’t necessary. That meant no more eating out, no more online ordering (Bye-Bye Amazon Prime), and no more compulsive spending. Although I’ve never been a big spender, I discovered that those little purchases at $10 here, and $20 there, really added up. And if I was going to save, I would have to give those up.
In my first two weeks I spent $26 unnecessarily, not quite $0, but significantly less than normal. Here is how I saved money these two weeks:
I unsubscribed from those tempting emails from Amazon, Express, etc. You know the ones that use clever subject lines to draw you into spending. Without the temptation, it was much easier to avoid spending online.
2) Eating Leftovers
I didn’t buy lunch, but brought leftovers and sandwiches.
3) Took advantage of freebies
My workplace offers free cereal– so I ate that rather than going down to the cafeteria. I also prepared breakfast from home.
4) Repurposing funds
I ordered a pair of shoes from Target, but didn’t really care for them. So I returned them and used those funds to purchase a birthday gift for my son’s friend.
That birthday gift I just described, I shopped the toy clearance aisle at Target and was able to find two small gifts for less than $5. Normally, I would’ve spent $20 on those items.
6) Doing things for myself
Instead of heading to the car wash, I washed both of my cars by hand– saving $16-$30.
7) Changing old habits
Instead of heading out to eat on Saturday morning, we stayed in. Usually dining at our favorite breakfast spot costs $60-$70 to feed four.
8) Moving my savings out of my way
As soon as I got paid, I paid bills and immediately transferred funds into a savings account not connected to my checking account. Having it out of my checking account, forced me to be realistic about what I actually had to spend.
9) Shopping with a plan
I prepared a grocery list for the entire month, and stuck to it. Two weeks into it, the food is lasting, although I did have to buy some more eggs. I’m not sure if my planning was adequate enough to last the entire month, but we should get through at least 3 weeks without having to head back to the store.
By taking these small money saving tips, I managed to save $220-$360 in these last two weeks. This may seem like a small amount of money; why deprive yourself of happiness just to save a few bucks? I would normally agree, that’s why I’m saving with a purpose. I am saving for a vacation later this year. I also find it gratifying to add to my savings, and become more financially competent and confident.