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Saving money is hard. It has been one of the hardest money skills I have had to master. After years of sucking at it, I finally have it figured out. Its honestly a mindset thing. If you can’t get your money mindset under control, you will never change. You don’t have to suck at saving money.
You need to ask yourself, how bad to do want it? Once I finally realized how bad I wanted my mindset to change I was able to overcome the obstacles.
Remember, i’m not perfect and you don’t have to be either. It’s all about the small victories that lead to bigger ones.
People tend to make excuses as to why they can’t save money. Some of them are real, but most can be changed with a different perspective on saving.
Why am I so bad at saving money?
Most people fall victim to other people’s expectations. I have fallen into this trap. Instead of worrying about myself, I was too busy trying to keep up with everybody else.
I had a friend group that was always going on trips or taking their boats to the lake to hang out. That’s great except I didn’t have the money to do either, so I constantly felt like I needed to do more but the truth is, I needed to step back and start focusing on myself.
I quickly realized that I don’t need all that stuff to make me happy. Instead of spending to keep up with others, I felt better when I was able to say “I saved a thousand dollars this month” or “I paid off a credit card”. My money mindset was shifting.
I found ways to enjoy myself that didn’t break the bank. Meeting my goals was way more satisfying than trying to be like other people.
Another reason people struggle is they think if they have money, they will have power. But the truth is, money doesn’t demand respect. Instead, you should be respected for who you are, not what you have.
People don’t make saving money a priority. You have to make the decision for yourself, that you are ready to take control and do the thing.
How can you save money when you are bad at it?
1. Save First
My most important tip is to save first. If you make it such a priority that you go ahead and set that money aside instead of waiting until the end of the month, it will be out of sight and out of mind.
2. Make it Automatic
If you automate your savings, you won’t even have to think about it and the next thing you know, you will have a stack of cash hidden away for your emergency fund.
There are ways to do this, you can set up an automatic deposit with your employer to put a set amount into a savings account. You can also check with your bank to have a set amount transferred out at the same time each month. If you do this, make sure it’s after you get paid.
You will never save unless you make it a priority because it’s too easy to make excuses not to.
3. Utilize Money Saving Apps
I love cashback apps. I feel like it’s just free money I can earn for the stuff I purchase anyway. The main one I use is Ibotta and the second one I use is Dosh.
You can also sign up for fuel rewards or a cashback credit card as long as you can pay the balance every month and it doesn’t tempt you to more debt.
When you earn cashback for these apps, and it’s time to redeem, just be sure to put that money into your savings account.
4. Set Goals
When you set a goal and add a timeline to the goal, it’s easier to reach. You could say “I want to save $500 by this time next year”. So to do that, you know you have 12 months. You will need to save $41.50 a month. I get paid 2 times a month so I could $20.75 per check. When you break it down, it seems so much more attainable as a goal.
5. Side Hustle
This is my absolute favorite thing. I love to side hustle. It’s one of the easiest ways to make money for saving especially if you have budgeted without this money in mind.
So, I’m a dental hygienist and I work school hours. This makes me able to side hustle. I have an Etsy shop where I sell digital products, I have this site, and another one where I make money blogging.
I also love helping and talking to people so I sell the health and wellness products that I take. These have helped me with my anxiety and my sleep. If you want to know more, you can message me at thebudgethustle(at)gmail.com.
I have also written a post full of possible side hustles, especially ones for people who are introverts. Side hustling has brought me in a good amount of extra dough this year.
6. Sell Stuff
I know we all have something laying around that we can sell. You can take your gently used clothes and sell them on Poshmark. If you use the code SSEAWR5923 you can save $10 off a purchase.
I have also sold things on eBay and Facebook marketplace for extra cash. This is a great way to make some money to put into savings that you weren’t expecting and haven’t budgeted for.
7. Interest Yielding Savings Account
What better way to build a savings or emergency fund than with an account that pays you interest. Bankrate has an entire article with the best accounts listed for this. I would recommend this one for sure.
8. Meal Plan and Eat at Home
This one right here is a return on investment. When I sit down and plan my week out before I go to the grocery store, I can save some extra cash. I make a list, check sales and coupons, then head to the store. This way I don’t get anything extra and I can also plan around the sale items.
It takes a little extra effort but it sure does pay off. You can also buy generic at the store. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that!
Need help with a grocery budget? Go here.
9. Do a Savings Challenge
Money saving challenges are a great way to get you motivated to save. It can make achieving your goal more rewarding and easier to reach. Make sure when you decide on a money saving challenge that it is one YOU can stick with. There is nothing more disappointing than not reaching your goal. Start small and increase the goal after every victory.
Clever girl finance has a great post with 10 different money saving challenges in it.
10. If you get a raise, act like you didn’t
If you get a raise at work and your budget is already balanced, you can put that extra straight into your savings account. This way it’s out of sight and out of mind. You didn’t have it before so you won’t miss it and it will be helping you build up your savings!
11. Cut your bills
This can be done in several different ways. We decided that we didn’t need satellite tv so I cut that cable and saved us $100 a month. I also figured out I was paying too much insurance on my cell phones so I went through and lowered that to the minimum. That saved me $300 a year right there.
Another way to cut your bills is to try lowering your thermostat in the winter and raising it in the summer. Energy.gov recommends 68°F in the winter and 78°F in the summer.
I have an entire article on saving money on utility bills here.
Create a Budget
Everyone needs a budget. How the heck else are you going to know where your money goes if you don’t have one?
My advice is to start simple. Take a bank statement and write everything out. You need to know your pay, when you get paid, and all your bills first. Make categories and then add up the amounts and set those categories. Then you can go back and make the other categories like entertainment, clothing, out to eat, etc.
I have some worksheets you can get for free here.
Wants vs Needs
Figuring out the difference between a want and a need will help you tremendously when trying to save money. You can always stop yourself and ask “Do I really need this or can I put the money I was going to spend into savings?”. I ask myself this question all the time. Usually it prompts me to set something back down.
My only weakness on this topic is my kids. I tend to spend a little more on them than I do myself. When I see clothing for them, etc. I have gotten better about it recently. I remind myself that their closets are full and they don’t “need” anything else.
Tomorrow may never come
You can’t use the excuse “Well, I’ll start tomorrow”. If you do, you will never get off that hamster wheel. Tomorrow may never come so you have to start today. It’s the only way you will ever move forward and start achieving your goals.
Frugal living is cool
A Frugal life is the best life. I find so much joy in knowing I get the best deals, save money and get to live a frugal life. Being intentional with your spending helps you prioritize and show you whats most important. This is the very beginning to a money mindset makeover.
You CAN make the most out of what you have while spending less and achieving your saving goal.
For more frugal living tips, see me on Pinterest.