I was poor for most of my life. Now, while I’m certainly not in the 1%, I am doing better every year financially. The main reason for this is because my thoughts around finances have changed. I’ve intentionally taken on 3 habits that are saving me money.
I weigh purchases against something I really want
When I go to buy something I measure it by raspberries. This sounds odd, but it works. By asking myself how many pints of raspberries I could buy instead I am able to determine if I really need something. Those little berries are expensive, no matter what season. So when I’m looking at a fun pair of boots or a wacky dress that I do not need I ask myself, “Would I rather have this item in my closet or 20 pints of raspberries?” Those little ruby beauties almost always win.
Realizing you can only do so much with the surplus cash you have on hand after rent and bills are paid helps to limit extravagant spending. Most of us can’t have it all, so have a conversation with yourself when it’s time to choose. Chances are you will end up saving money, as you get in the habit of not impulse buying just because you can. Once that happens you’ll never have to leave the grocery store without at least one pint of berries, or whatever your guilty little pleasure may be.
I Set a goal and keep a reminder within eyesight
I have pretty cringe confession. There is a clear jar labeled, “Paris trip,” in my apartment. I know! It’s cliché, but I want to go to the most romantic city at least once in my life. My partner agrees as long as I can pay for half the trip. Thus the jar came into being.
To make the chances of success greater, I placed the jar where I can see it the moment I arrive home. It reminds me to put my loose change in there as well as a dollar or two that remains from my daily cash allotment. When I spend my emergency money on something frivolous (let him who does not love smoothies cast the first stone) I feel terrible looking at that hungry jar.
Most financial advisors agree that writing down goals is an important step to manifesting them. It’s about accountability. I can say, “I want to go to Paris,” all I want, but if I don’t see the money in that jar go up after a week, I have to question if I’m really willing to make the sacrifices necessary for the dream to happen. Once I reevaluate my goals, I feel a sense of determination that I will reach the top of that jar.
Give yourself a goal and keep a token of it somewhere close. Put it in your desk drawer, on your phone charger stand, written on the mirror, it doesn’t matter. Not forgetting is half the battle here.
I invest in things that save me time
Time is literally money for me. I used to spend hours cooking, editing, and getting things on social media. By the end of the day, I felt like I had so much left undone. This was because I’d wasted time with things that could have easily been automated for a minimal fee.
For example, my partner and I enjoy cauliflower rice. I am the rice mincer. Every couple of nights I’d spend an hour cutting up the bulbs and running them across the grater. That hour could have been spent answering emails or writing. Realizing this, I bit the bullet and bought a food processor. Now our sauces, fake rice, and similar food woes take a fraction of the time, not to mention less clean up. Spending a little money saved me money in the long run since I was able to be more productive throughout the day.
It’s the same reason I pay for my stock photos. I no longer take 30 minutes to scroll through the same site as everyone else, attempting to locate a photo of a happy woman that hasn’t been used to death.
You won’t save money overnight. Nor can you change habits in a week. However, if you work at it you’ll find that in a month you’ll have more cash in your wallet and a stronger belief that you can control your financial future.
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