Savings tips are a dime a dozen.
It’s hard to find one these days you haven’t already heard of, or that hasn’t made someone’s round up of 100 ways to save money fast.
I did a quick google before writing this post and under the search term for “number one savings tip” there are around 86 million search results. It took google a whole 0.58 seconds to bring me the answer to saving more money.
There is never any shortage of ways to save money. If you want to, there is likely to be at least a handful of really great ways to save more money that you could currently put into action.
So why then if there are so many ways to save money – do we all still struggle to do it!
For one – every new savings tip requires you do change the way you do things currently or do something different altogether.
Take growing your own herbs for example (a tip of mine actually). A great way to save money, but you need to do a few things regularly in order to make that work for you. Not only do you have to set your herb garden up you also have to maintain it.
Or another one – save your $5 notes. A good one too. Easy, reliable way to save more money, but requires you to think about it and actually do it. That is, put those $5 notes aside and then resist the urge to spend them on your morning latte.
Make your own laundry powder. Not one of my favourites and not something I would ever do – but again an example of DIY ways to save money.
The problem is, it gets to the point where you need to start a list just to remember all the ways you’re supposed to save.
You get so bogged down in remembering the individual little ‘’things’ you’re supposed to be doing to save money that it all just becomes too bloody hard!!
My Number 1 money saving tip
Stop thinking about all the various ways people tell you to save money. Instead focus on your mindset. Specifically, how you spend money and how you can create a barrier to your spending habits.
The easiest way is to adopt a single thought process that goes before the decision to buy something.
Start thinking about your spending in terms of ‘opportunity cost.’
This means, if you buy the thing you want to buy, what then can’t you buy as a result of buying that thing. What is the opportunity lost from what you intend to buy.
I apply this principle specifically in relation to what I call my ‘lifestyle’ expenses. My spending money essentially. Every week my husband and I give ourselves our ‘spending money’ which is basically our lifestyle money outside the household budget.
Every time I go to buy something I ask myself how this will affect what else I am able to buy this week.
Will it mean I’ll have to sacrifice something else I really wanted to buy?
Will it mean I’m going to run out of ‘fun’ money before I allow myself some more next week?
And on a bigger scale, will it mean I’m stalling our savings goals for a holiday for example?
Why this works….
It takes the focus of all the little things you need to be doing to save money, and gives you ONE single spending mantra if you will to guide your each and every purchase.
It means that you don’t have to change the way you spend money – you just have to practice that art of prioritisation better.
Instead of starting to make your own laundry detergent or stopping your morning latte (things you’re not going to do, let’s face it) you simply have to pick which new top you want to buy instead of buying them both!
You can spend your money on the things you value and enjoy; you have to be able to decide if you really value and enjoy them first.
Too often we spend money on things we don’t really care for, or could have done without, simply because we don’t give it enough thought.
This is an important skill when it comes to management of your finances in all areas anyway, so worth investing the time in applying it to your spending habits.
Spending money is a lot of the time a habit. Habits can be broken you just need to recognise it’s a habit and create a new one.
If you make asking yourself what the opportunity cost of you spending is, I bet you will see a decline in what you spend.