9 Money Habits to Keep in Mind

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“Save for a rainy day” isn’t just an adage; it’s an age-old advice that applies to everyone from all walks of life. It’s important to have savings because the future is unpredictable. Unless you’re already super affluent, extra funds come in handy when the time to use them comes.

Anybody can save, and for those who may not have much after paying bills, there are money-saving habits you can develop. Whether your goals are to establish a financial safety net, saving up for an investment, or something else, it’s never too late to learn how to be a better saver. Here are some habits that can improve your money management.

1. Sell What You Don’t Need

A quick and easy way to get cash is to use the things you have but don’t have a use for anymore. Nowadays, it’s easy to set up an online shop because of platforms like Shopify and other e-commerce websites. You don’t need to be a programmer or designer to use it since everything you need is there.

All the items you don’t need, like clothing, gadgets, shoes, and even jewelry can be sold online. Once the shop has been set up, it will only be a matter of time before someone buys the products. The payment you get from the profit is instantaneous too, and you can easily connect your Shopify account to your bank.

2. Use Coupons and Discounts

You don’t have to go out of your way to not spend for anything at the cost of basic necessities and even comfort. There are products that you need to purchase, and most of them are found in groceries. Using coupons and discounts is one of the best ways to keep your spending down.

It may take a bit of searching, time, and effort to find deals, especially for specific household items. You can find coupons and discounts on several websites and even local papers. Most coupons and discounts nowadays can be claimed using your smartphone, but if you see paper ones, cut them out and take them with you when you go grocery shopping.

3. Keep Utility Bills Down

Electricity and water bills are some of the most expensive things that you can pay with your salary. Collectively turning on lights and appliances without turning them off for a long time can really add up to the bills, and fortunately, there are ways you can keep utility bills down. In fact, you only need to simple adjustments and form the habit of turning off electronics when they’re not in use. Having a digital electricity meter can also help, especially if you decide to invest in solar energy.

Other ways you can save are by using energy-efficient light bulbs and making your appliances work more efficiently. If you have electronics that can be programmed to run for a few hours, set them up, and you won’t have to worry about turning them off if they have an automatic shutdown switch. Air-drying your clothes and even dishes can really help keep down the water bill as well.

If you’re looking into how much more you can keep the utility bills down, take a look at this article.

4. Go for Alternatives

Everyone knows that name-brand items can sometimes be more expensive. If you absolutely must have something branded, then go for those items that you want. If you are fine with less-expensive alternatives, the generic items are usually just displayed alongside the branded ones.

5. Avoid Takeout

You may consider eating takeout more than twice a week a normal thing for you especially if you don’t know how to cook. However, it is one of the biggest wastes you can do with your money. You can actually save more through meal planning and prepping, and you get to eat more healthily too.

A $10 takeout may not be extravagant for you, but considering you do it several times a week, the costs will add up. To make the most of your money, packing your own lunch and setting your breakfast and dinner for the week really help. You can even choose to snack healthily too, using choice fruits that are portion controlled.

6. Extra Money Goes to Savings

Anytime you score an incentive, get a work bonus, or basically get paid extra on top of your salary, delegate some of it to your savings. It doesn’t have to be everything; some percentage will do as you need to treat yourself some way or another for a good job done. You’ll thank yourself later when you see that your savings have increased when you have this kind of habit.

7. Gather All Spare Change

It is inevitable to have some spare change in your pocket or bags, especially if you use cash in your daily transactions. You may find it annoying jangling inside your pocket, basically weighing down your wallet or wherever you keep your money.

While it is good to keep some with you, put away some spare coins inside a jar or piggy bank, and let them accumulate until full. When you have enough, change them to paper money, and put them into your savings. You’ll be surprised by how much money accumulates in the form of spare change scattered around your home.

8. Automate Payments, Savings, Contributions

When you have the option to automate your paycheck, do it. What happens is that your bills will be paid, some money will be deposited to your savings account, and contributions to social security and others will be taken care of. It does good to check how the process goes every month to ensure that everything is as planned, and make adjustments as needed.

9. Plan Purchases Carefully

It’s easy to go to a store to buy what you need and add some things here and there, even items you don’t really need. To avoid that, make it a habit to plan and list down your purchases carefully so you can oversee where your budget is going. See to it that you stick to your list as much as you can so you can avoid sudden expenditures.

It’s a little bit difficult for online purchases, but yes, you still need to plan them out. Since the internet is very helpful in today’s world, utilize it by doing comparison shopping in different sites to see where you can buy cheaper.

It helps to know that, if it is not an item that is essential to your life, you should let a few days pass before making the purchase. You’ll save yourself a lot of money after finding out that the impulse to buy it will go away after a while.

Cut Back on the Unnecessary

Another great money-saving tip is to cut back on anything unnecessary. For some people, it could be their landline phone or cable service. Why keep a landline phone when you can use cell phones instead? Additionally, there a lot of better alternatives for cable TV out there as well.

If you already do some of the things mentioned above, know that there are many more ways to cut back on spending. You may need a little bit of tracking here and there to identify which areas you can save more on. Remember that small changes can make a drastic difference in your savings and other financials.

What money-saving habits do you personally love to do? Share what they are in the comments below.

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Samantha Acuna is a writer based in San Francisco, CA. Her work has been featured in The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, and Yahoo Small Business.