Sometimes, the simple act of resisting the urge to buy something frivolous can give us the confidence to start saving. But, say financial editors at the Huffington Post, some of us need to take concrete steps to establish money-saving habits.
While these financial ploys are far from life-changing, they offer a few good ways to get your savings bug rolling:
- Review your accounts – Are you paying a monthly fee for your checking account? Is there an annual fee for your credit card? With so many cost-free options available, switch to no-fee providers.
- Negotiate lower rates – If you carry a balance, call your provider and ask for a lower rate. If you can't get one, move the debt to a provider who offers a low- or no-fee card. You may even be able to negotiate lower rates on things like gym memberships, internet and cell phone contracts – especially if you have a good payment history.
- Just say delay – If you're into impulse buying, put a lid on it. Don't tell yourself you can't have it, only that you're going to wait a week or two. Sometimes, this self-imposed 'cooling-off period' is all you need to resist.
- Buy quality – When you do buy something, be sure of the quality. Buying cheap can mean frequent replacement, while quality goods tend to last longer.
- Buy great food and cook in – You may pay $10 to $12 dollars for a pound of good ribeye steak – but that's a lot less than the $30 bucks or more you'd pay to eat it in a restaurant. Make a habit of grilling or cooking good stuff at home at least several times each week.
- Be truly energy efficient – Turn off the lights when you leave a room, use LEDs or energy-efficient lights, and install a programmable thermostat. An online visit to local utility companies should yield even more energy saving tips.
- Spend more time with the kids – Make it quality time, shooting hoops, playing catch or board games, riding bikes or visiting free museums. The more fun time you spend with the kids, the less you'll be out spending money – and everyone benefits.