I have been on a journey the last few months to see how much money I can save and I have discovered a few tips that have increased my savings!
1. Use Cash
In my case I find that I save so much money when I use cash instead of a credit card or debit card. At the beginning of the month lay out all your expenses (include your savings in your expenses) and then give yourself a weekly or biweekly budget for groceries, gas, and other expenditures. You will not believe how much money you save just knowing you only have x amount of money to spend.
(I spend so much less money when I have to see the cash physically leave my hand)
2. Collect your change
If you start using cash for everything then you will have change as well. At the end of the week I have a place where all my change goes. I have a set goal for what that change will pay for. So I save my change until I'm reading to pay that bill or whatever else I've designated that money for.
3. Pack your lunch
If you go to a 9-5 job every day the chances of you eating out at least once a week are high, but packing your lunch 4 days a week will save you a bunch of money! A typical packed lunch for me would be an apple and cheese and crackers. My packed lunch on average costs me between 1.5 and 2 dollars. An average lunch eaten out in my town costs at least $10.. I save about $32 a week by packing my lunch 4 days a week. There are so much great pack lunch ideas and they can be tailored to your needs!
4. Drink water!
This is a hard one for me too, but cutting out fountain pop, alcohol, and coffee house coffees saves a ton of money. If you have to have one of these things give yourself a limit of so many per week. I will let myself get a starbucks coffee maybe once a week but otherwise I make myself one cup of coffee in the morning with my french press (which makes incredible coffee) and I take that to work in a travel mug. If you have to drink alcohol have a few friends over and split the cost and make your own drinks!
5. Make a want list!
This is something I started doing when I decided to save money. When I see something I "want" versus I "need" I will put it on a list. I will then designate a future date (often a month) where I can buy this "want". I have to use my other money saving tips and if I have done a good job saving then I will have the money to pay for that item. Often times I find that once I have that extra money I want to put it into savings instead of buying that item. It's okay to splurge on yourself but sometimes our wants now are just that "wants now" and you will move onto bigger and better things. I don't want to be an impulse buyer so I set myself up to buy things on a "need" basis.
I hope that these ideas might help you in your journey to save money. Even if you just use one of these tips you'll be better off financially over time. The key is to know where your money is going. I hate getting to the end of the month and wondering how x amount of dollars got spent.
Have a great day!