From Spending to Saving-Change Your Money Mentality

A Change in Money Mentality

There’s no denying it, the ability to save money isn’t a trait we all innately have. It’s not as if everyone from year one has the ability to balance their budget.  Or even understand their budget completely for that sake. Many of us have been spenders up to this point, making blind impulsive purchases with little regard to our future. However, just as many of us would like to change these awful habits and figure this whole saving money thing out. It’s possible, too. It’s just a case of
changing one’s ideas of value and worth.

Tracking Your Previous Decisions

It may seem dishonest to call what are most likely mistakes “decisions,” however it’s important not to beat oneself up about things of the past, because we’re gearing toward the future. What needs to be done prior to that, though, is a thorough peek into the past.

  • Go over your activities between all accounts, recognize the patterns
    • When it becomes clear where the money is going, a better idea of what must be cut or what isn’t essential will form.
  • Once you determine what services can be altered or suspended, take the action required to do so.
    • Perhaps you don’t need that second or third gig of data after all, or maybe it’s been awhile since you queued up a TV show on Hulu.
  • This tracking of the past will provide data for the future.
    • If the investigation into spending is true enough, one will have a near-complete picture of their vices laid out in front of them, now is the time to internalize this knowledge in order to better combat these vices in the future.

Change Your Ways

Now that you’ve created a model of your spending and living habits, there are likely many more paths to growth over simply suspending a Hulu or Youtube Red account. A major source of savings growth, especially these days will likely be in the diet category.

  • Dining out is the quickest way to sap the money right out of your wallet, so it’s well recommended to limit take-out to as much as possible.
    • For some, giving up take-out is out of the question, due to time or other constraints, but limiting it to once a week will change your savings outlook drastically. You don’t need to become a chef to combat a fast food habit, a weekly visit to the grocery store and a simple meal plan will do the trick.
  • Even without take-out some struggle with excess.
  • Keep up to date with the waste you’re creating. If you tend to buy two loaves of bread at the beginning of the week, but are only consuming one and a half, it’s time to cut down to one loaf.
  • Leftovers are not to be forgotten in the back of the fridge. While that lasagna might not be as good the second time around, it’s food that cost money to make, and should be consumed. Think of it as one less meal to plan for.

Even with a sorted diet, in these times of social media pressure, it has become almost a game to share the best parts of our perceived lives with others, and often times this means paying lots of money on new and better looking clothing, extravagant living situations, or gadgets. This is, of course, a no win campaign. Trying to impress others (while it does provide a boost of endorphins), will often leave us empty afterwards. Remember, just as Frugal Rules states, when in debt “any money they’re spending is taking them further away from freedom”.

  • Consider minimizing your wardrobe.
  • Just as you combed over your previous finances, have a look in your closet and identify the articles of clothing that receive the least use, donate or sell these items.
  • While this isn’t an activity that will directly affect saving money, the act will shift your mindset on clothing purchases in general. Once you realize just how much you spend on pieces that are almost never utilized, you may decide against purchasing that green bomber that will sit next to your burgundy bomber for ¾ of the year.
  • Resist the upgrade.
    • So it’s been a year since you upgraded, and there are countless advertisements for the hot new phone. It does everything better than what’s in your pocket, but just how much more useful is it?
    • When you consider that the average phone retails for $585, is it worth the slight speed jump for the hot new phone? The answer is likely no.
  • Change plans entirely.
    • If you currently receive service from the big four (Verizon, Sprint, AT&T, or T Mobile), consider looking into Google’s Project Fi, Ting, Republic Wireless, Straight Talk, or many of the alternatives. They use the networks of the big four at a fraction of the cost.
  • Determine if your current housing situation is beyond your budget.
    • Maybe your largest issue is where you live. Generally speaking, for a place of living to be within your budget, it’s advised for the monthly cost to be ¼ of your monthly earnings. If you are beyond that, then it may be time to search for a new landing spot.

Adapt A Different School Of Thought

Even if it’s entirely logical to change your ways, making such a leap into the unknown can be nearly impossible. There are not many people who can change their diets, clothing, gadget habits, and on top of all that, their dwelling all in the name of saving. Some people require doing things little by little, enacting a system of sorts, an example could be the SMART system discussed by Simple.com. Others may just need the process taken out of their hands in a way.

In the case of these people, it should be suggested to give budgeting software a shot. While even the way of life changers should do so, software budgeting can offer the change-averse a chance to optimize over a more reasonable amount of time, while also slowly altering their thinking in a completely logic-based type of way.

There are plenty of budgeting options out there, many of them provided by, or backed by banks. Mint.com offers such backing, and comes with countless testimonials, for instance. An alternative, that is available for on a 34 day trial basis (after which is $50 a year), is YNAB. YNAB provides the perfect forecasting tools to see just how much money is going through your accounts, and how much could stay there instead, with the right mind frame.

Why You Must Save To Survive

Now more than ever, with the cost of living skyrocketing across the United States and in many cases the entire world, saving money is vital to securing sustainable comfort. While it may be easier to go out eating, and it may at first feel better to buy flashy items that make everyone envy your life, it is far smarter to look beyond at the future.

Your 20’s and 30’s need to influence your overall lifespan positively, because minor financial errors are no longer minor. Retirement will be here sooner than you think.

The most important thing to do at this point in time would be to look within. The waste and excess that occurs in everyday life make it challenging to do the things we may want to do the most. Instead of falling into these financial pitfalls, save up for that vacation that you dreamed up as a kid, and save to the point where that vacation will be a drop in the bucket of your lifetime budget.

You might hope that your peers witness this growth, but do it for yourself, and be proud of what you’ve earned by following your logical mind rather than your rash and hasty gut.  Your bank account with thank you!

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