Small Changes Yield Big Results
Posted by Steph Perine on Sep 06, 2019
For someone who is already living frugally, finding more money to put into savings or pay down credit card debt can feel impossible. Yet sometimes all it takes is a series of small changes to add up to big savings.
If you are looking to spend less and save more, but feel that your budget is already as strapped as it can be, consider these small changes.
1. Give Yourself a Waiting Period
Unless a purchase is absolutely necessary, wait at least 24 to 48 hours after you have the impulse to buy it. You will spend less and save more with this strategy, because often the impulse will pass after that waiting period. If, after the waiting period, you still find you could benefit from the item and can truly afford it, then buy it without regrets.
2. Meal Plan
Meal planning is not only good for your waistline, but it’s also good for your budget. When you plan for a week or two, and only go to the grocery store one time, you spend less on groceries. When you already know what’s for dinner, you spend less on emergency trips through the drive-thru. Consider keeping a few cheap but easy things on hand, like frozen pizzas, for those nights when your cooking plans go awry.
3. Change the Habit of Going to the Store
The habit of running to the store when you need something may not seem like a big deal, but how often have you purchased something new because it was convenient instead of searching for a more affordable used option. Many items do not need to be purchased brand new. You can get furniture, toys, clothing, sporting goods, and even tools second hand and save significantly. Learn to shop through Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, Swap.com, and other online venues that provide a one-stop shop for quality used merchandise. Make a habit of looking for used first, before running to the store.
4. Question Your Recurring Bills
Companies love to set their customers up for recurring payments, because it means they get paid each month and customers don’t think about what they are paying. However, you can save on these recurring bills if you just take the time to question them. Sometimes, calling the company and asking to remove a particular service or offer you the “new customer” rate is all it takes. For your cell phone, switch to a discount provider or prepaid plan. Examine your bills, and then take a little bit of time to make some phone calls. This is a small change that could add up to big savings.
5. Switch to Cash
Pulling out the debit card to pay for purchases means little thought about those purchases. Switch to using cash, and you will have a visual representation of how much money you have and how much you’ve spent. Pulling out your cash is a bit more work, and will cause you to think more about what you’re buying. You will naturally spend less as a result.
6. Use the Money You Save Wisely
Once you’ve found ways to save that work for your budget, don’t simply add the saved money into your free spending funds. Instead, use them towards your debt settlement or credit card debt goals or use them to build up an emergency fund, so you will be prepared the next time you have an unplanned expense. This is a small change that will yield big results when you are well prepared for the unexpected events of life. Then, pay down credit card debt and start saving for retirement. Remember, you don’t necessarily need to make more money or make huge changes to start saving money. With these small changes, you can free up more of your cash for savings, and start enjoying less stress and worry in your life.