Almost everyone could afford to save a dollar. Especially with prices rapidly rising over the last year, there’s a few ways of consuming that are even more important than with a stable economy. With a little willpower and a good sense of what things cost, you can continue to save and grow your money in hard times.
One oversimplified rule of saving is to put it there and forget about it. It’s a good basic rule for those just learning how to control their finances, even if eventually you may want to be more strategic with that money. These rules and ideas follow the same general principle of keeping things simple and clean cut. Simply put, anytime you can cut costs or have more money than you thought, then there’s an opportunity to set yourself up better long-term.
A Little Extra Work, A Lot of Extra Money
The most difficult part of building your finances isn’t making the money, it’s being smart with it. Our lives are busy, our time is limited, some things are illogically expensive but feel or taste so good, the amount of marketing and sheer product volume cloud what really has value; there are reasons on top of reasons. These ideas are about eliminating that reasoning, however valid, to become a principled and disciplined consumer.
Upgrade by Downgrading
One of the easiest ways to save some money is to start taking a harder look at what you’re buying. Some products are exactly the same, or vary just slightly enough not to cause legal issues, but are branded differently. This results in people paying in at various price tiers for the same product. This is most easily identified in food where the ingredients have to be listed for the most, but you can be sure that it spans across many industries. Sometimes this is done through whitelabeling, a deal struck between two companies, other times companies are just using the same manufacturer.
Identifying when you’re only paying for a brand name is a form of buying power that actually feels empowering. Even in the grocery store aisle, it’s nice to know someone didn’t get a huge markup over on you, but when you start thinking about different services, home goods, cars and trucks, it really could be the difference between living comfortably or not. We make these decisions practically every day, it would be foolish to disregard that you can save in almost every category by being educated and by not being fooled by marketing and sales tactics.
This one doesn’t take as much work in the day-to-day as trying to identify which products are the same as others. Overestimate your costs. Depending on your situation, lay out the bare minimum of what money you need to survive or what money you need to accomplish all the things you want to do in your budgeting period.
Once you’ve consumed enough, you get a sense of the general range that things cost. Save an amount of money where you know there’s no way you’ll need more than that, then put away whatever is left over for something else.
Start to Identify Found Money
Found money is the concept that everyday-life presents opportunities for you to find money with little or no work. It’s not something to bank on, but it’s reliable nonetheless. As you move through life, different things will present themselves. Whether it’s just picking a dollar up off the street or selling something you barely put time or money into, found money is fast and easy. Once you realize the found money is making you as much or less than your actual work is in the same amount of time, then it’s no longer found money. Some ideal, realistic, and common found money items include home appliances, furniture, scrap metal, etc. Things you simply bring or post to a place and get money for. Once you start finding more money, you can save more.
Kiss Your Finance Troubles Goodbye
There seems to be a lot of people who overthink money. It can cause you to be too conservative or too loose with it, so maybe the best advice is to just, “Keep It Simple Stupid.” It may not allow you to buy Twitter, but keeping it simple and just recognizing easy factors that can only result in you saving or making money is a sure way to take a big step towards fulfilling your American dream.