It can seem unrealistic to think that you could buy everything that you needed and still have money left over. Most of us find that we never seem to have enough money to buy everything and this can lead to unhappiness and debt. I could even mean that every month we are desperate for our pay check to arrive as we are not able to buy everything that we want. However, there are ways that you can manage so that you have everything that you need and still have money left, which you could put into a savings account or use to pay off debt.
Consider what you need
It is really easy to think that everything we buy are things that we need. We think that we need a cell phone, computer, Netflix, music downloads, cable TV, vacations, jewellery and things like this. However, these things will not keep us alive in the way that food, shelter and warmth will, but they are very much a part of daily life for most of us. Many of us could not contemplate life without certain things or would feel that we could not have a happy life without them.
It is an interesting exercise to just separate the items that we need from the items that we like to have but do not need. Do not be scared, I am not saying that you will have to go without all of these things, but you need to prioritise spending on the things that you need. Then you know where you can cut down on your spending. We also have different ideas about what we need and what for us, we could go without. Therefore it is a very personal choice. There may be things that you can manage without more easily than others.
Is it possible to cut down or reduce costs? This is the point where you can see whether you really want to buy everything that you spend money on. There may be subscriptions that you forgot you had, you could be paying for more cable channels than you watch, you may never have time to read the newspapers you buy, or things like that. Just think through all of the items and whether you really want them and what difference you think that it could make if you stop buying them. It can sometimes be difficult to stop buying certain items, particularly charity donations and gifts for family and friends, but it may be that if you cut them down rather than out or cut out other things instead.
It is also worth thinking about the items that you want to continue to buy and whether you can get them cheaper. There are many ways to save money on items, perhaps by switching to a different brand, a different retailer or provider, finding sales, cashback or other deals. It is worth keeping a look out for deals but also trying different brands and things to see whether you can still buy everything that you want without spending so much money.
It can actually get to be a lot of fun, hunting around for good prices and you may find that you discover new products, brands, retailers and suppliers that you were not aware of and suddenly find that they are really great and you wished you had come across them before. It is good to think of this as a challenge rather than a chore. Once you get used to comparing prices before you shop, it will be a habit and you will find it easy to do. You will also get to know where to find the best prices or value for money and so you may not need to always compare, but just change your shopping habits for good.
Focus on your goal
It is so important to make sure that you keep in mind why you are saving money. Think about all of the advantages that you will get as a result of it. Think about all of those dollars that you will gain and what you want to do with them It might just mean that you can manage more easily through the month or it might be that you will have some extra money that you can save and then as the months go by and you put more and more dollars into the account, you will be able to think about what you want to buy with it. It could be that you would like to save up towards a vacation, buy some new clothing, treat your family or put it towards gifts perhaps for the holiday season. Alternatively, it may be that you want to pay off a debt that you have, perhaps a credit card or a different loan and you could use all the spare money that you have to make overpayments on that so that you can eliminate that debt.
Having a goal is really important as it can help to keep you focussed on the task ahead. Writing it down has been shown to be a technique that leads to achieving a goal much more successfully and so this is something that you should consider doing as well. Reading that statement as often as possible, perhaps every day, will keep the idea fresh in your mind and mean that you will be more focussed on achieving that goal. You could stick it on a mirror or door that you look at daily so that you can have the opportunity to read it.
When you have to consider whether you really want something every time you spend money or spend time comparing prices, you may start to feel that you are not keen on doing this. However, if you keep reminding yourself of why it is so important and what a difference it really will make to your future, then this can keep you making the necessary effort and feeling happy about what you are doing at the same time.