One of your new years resolutions this year might be to get better about money. For me, its an ongoing resolution that usually just ends up with me feeling guilty for buying anything.
But, not spending money doesn’t have to be your only money related goal. Some of my major money goals is to increase my 401k contribution by 1% each year. Since this usually happens around the same time I get a yearly raise at work, I hardly even notice it. This year, I also met with a financial advisor to review my investments, and make savings goals for the next few years. Having concrete goals is much better than “just don’t buy stuff”!
My biggest money-related recommendation is to meet with a financial advisor. Even if you think you have nothing to save or invest right now. They can help you make a plan for the future that can pay off big time down the road!
If you’re in the mindset of wanting to trim spending each month, there are a few easy places you can start that you might not even miss.
- Review Your Food Habits: Monthly box subscriptions, eating out, take out— it all adds up. What is important is to prioritize when you truly want to treat yourself. I used to do a twice a month meal delivery service through Hungry Root and realized I wasn’t really enjoying it or even using all of the food. I cancelled it a few months ago and save over $150 a month. I realized I could splurge more at the grocery store and still be just as happy. $150 is a lot of extra money back each month!
- Entertainment Spending: During the pandemic, this may seem like an off limits category, but its again important to think about what you pay for vs. what you actually use. I had Netflix and Disney Plus and I hardly ever used them. I’m not a big TV person, and would watch a show at night and fall asleep anyways. I decided to cancel both subscriptions and really haven’t missed it. This only saves about $20 a month, but it was money that I would rather have in my pocket! Its easy to say its “only” so much a month, but it adds up! This also applies to things like cable, and music streaming services. Even if you don’t cancel them, its good to remind yourself how much they cost each month and really consider if its worth it.
- App Store Subscriptions: Monthly app subscriptions are sneaky because they renew on their own, and you might not even realize or remember you are paying for them. Its good to review just want you spend each month on renewals. For apple users, head over to your account on the App Store and click on subscriptions. I recently realized I was paying $20 a month for a premium dating app and another $20 a month for a premium run coaching app– neither of which I was actively using. YIKES!
- Impulse Online Purchases: One of my biggest goals each year is to curb impulse buys. I have a pretty bad habit of finding sales online and urgently thinking I need to buy something before it’s gone. But if it’s not something I was actively looking for, do I really need it? Last year, I did an entire no spend January, but it wasn’t a sustainable change. To help stop the habit this year, I plan on waiting 24 hours before buying something. If I still want it the next day, I can go back and reconsider. Most of the time, it doesn’t seem worth it!
- Impulse Store Purchases: I have made big improvements on in store spending this year, since I don’t spend as much time wandering around stores! Doing things like order pickup at Target helps me get what I NEED each week, without browsing a bunch of clearance endcaps and convincing myself I should buy things I didn’t know I wanted. I’ve also tried to be more intentional with purchases like new home decor. For the holidays, I first laid out what I already had, before going to the store to buy anything. This way, I knew exactly what few things I really wanted to purchase.
Most of these recommendations aren’t saying you can’t or shouldn’t spend, but that you should be aware of the money leaving your account each month, and then deciding if the purchase is really worth it to you. Sometimes we fall into spending habits that we just keep doing without considering if its really worth it over time!