8 Simple Ways to Save Money and Amass a Fortune in 2019Last Updated: January 1, 2019
People are smarter about cash these days, due to the ravages of the global recession. But personal finance never seems to have the focus and attention it deserves. Even the most minimal downward adjustment to cash outflow can have amazing consequences, not just for your bank account but also for your outlook on life. Try engaging with these 8 simple mindset-shifts and enjoy the results!
IT SHOULD never be forgotten—by entrepreneurs and the wider world—how important it is to save cash regularly. Being suddenly deprived of earnings is an unpleasant prospect; and without the safety net of savings, it can be quite terrifying. However, with a few attitude adjustments, there are simple ways to save money that can build you a nest egg of significance.
“Money, like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track.”
Safety and security are good things. There’s a book called The Great Pearl of Wisdom by novelist Bangambiki Habyarimana, in which he writes: “I used to say, why save money if I’ll die tomorrow. I haven’t died yet and I have nothing to survive on.”
While you’re allowing that thought to percolate as you reflect on your own attitude to money, you should also consider that this is not the only reason to save.
Author and inspirational speaker Natasha Munson comes closest to providing a broad, positive positive imperative, with a line from her book Life Lessons for My Sisters: How to Make Wise Choices and Live a Life You Love!: “Money, like emotions, is something you must control to keep your life on the right track.”
Money is one of those things that you seldom reap any tangible benefits from unless you learn to appreciate its value, and consciously control. The amazing thing is, that there is so much to be saved through so little sacrifice.
Even minor tweaks to your outgoings, and adjustment of the way you think about spending towards taking responsibility for things, will pay off—not just financially, but also in the positive energy and liberation that comes with being truly in control of your life.
Try to think of it not a question of sacrifice, but of you taking charge. Before we go further, here’s a brief video in which the famous financial adviser Alvin Hall talks about how his success stemmed from taking control of his personal finances.
Here are 8 things—all simple ways to save money—that you should do if you feel that you do not have sufficient control of the money you earn. One final word of advice before getting into the list. Modern IT innovations have led to the creation of personal accounting software packages that certainly help to relieve the monitoring and administration that’s necessary to hit your targets.
1. Set Practical Goals
Topping our list of the most simple ways to save money is pragmatism. In a previous AGENT post, we looked at the AARP story on American football star Alfred Morris, who was driving a 13-year-old Mazda—bought for just $2 from his college pastor—at a time when he held a $2.2m contract with the Washington Redskins.
That works for as long as it’s practical. Morris is clearly a lucky man. Things go wrong with 99.9 percent of older cars. When they start to cost more money than they save, you need to think about a newer and more reliable car.
Here is what Ian Lamont has to say (from his book, Personal Finance For Beginners In 30 Minutes, Volume 1) about the importance of realising when your economical ways are actually costing money and time.
“If you’ve driven new cars all of your life, the term “used vehicle” may conjure up images of a dusty old beater with missing hubcaps and no A/C, dragging a clattering muffler down the boulevard. Yes, such cars exist, but I am not advocating that you buy one. Besides the embarrassment, there are also safety concerns and additional maintenance costs associated with clunkers.”
Saving should not result in short-term discomfort. You need to think about the simple ways to save money that will achieve a state of equilibrium—not slashing, but adjusting your levels of spending downward to see more cash in your wallet. Focus on paring back the things that you really don’t need. Discomfort is bad. What you want to do is to give up the superficial luxuries of what you think you need in the short-term, to be able to actually afford true, peace-of-mind financial freedom in the long term.
2. Set Firm Targets
Anyone reading this is serious about the subject of business to a greater or lesser extent. But even if your interest is not profound, or CEO-grade intense, you should know that working to a plan is always the best way, and it’s among the most effective and simple ways to save money.
Think about what you are trying to do. You’re trying to have more cash. You can achieve this in the short-term (by not buying a particular item on one day), and medium-term (not buying it for a week), which will both have impacts on the long-term (a monthly budgeting target).
Stick to these targets. After achieving your first monthly budgeting target, look at what you have left over, consider your level of basic comfort, and see what else you can afford to save from ‘out of pocket’ expenses and impulse purchases.
3. Use Lists, Keep Receipts
The secret to a really successful day at the office is, for many people, starting out with a lengthy ‘To Do’ list that by home time has all of the items ticked off. Treat your household grocery shopping with the same focus you’d apply to a working day.
In this context, the grocery list is not just a reminder of all the things you think you need—it’s a check list of what you actually need.
Try to do this shopping on the same day every week, and devote some time to checking the totals, the fluctuations, and the prices of individual items. Are there large fluctuations? Why?
Also, if you shop in the same supermarket all the time, make sure to sign up for their in-store voucher schemes and watch out for any mail-shot promotional offers, or area store campaigns advertised in local newspapers.
Another area that requires close scrutiny is rates, terms and conditions of the various financial and service contracts that we pay every month. Make a conscious effort to renegotiate these terms and conditions with your providers. If you don’t, you could be foregoing opportunities to save significantly every month.
Here, once again, is what Ian Lamont has to say on the subject:
“We’re creatures of habit when it comes to mobile contracts and the wires piping high-speed data into our homes. It’s a pain to deal with transfers, installations, and customer service interactions, so we shrug and keep paying a premium.”
5. Be Vigilant About Entertainment
“I spent a lot of money on booze, birds, and fast cards. The rest I just squandered.” That was an end-of-life reflection by the great, and tragically flawed, soccer genius George Best.
It’s an extreme case, and Best never expressed any regrets, but on an objective level, it’s questionable whether it was in his long-term interest.
But the reality is that many of us spend a huge amount of cash on entertainment without really questioning whether we really need it. This needs to be watched closely, and strictly budgeted.
6. Conserve Energy
Burning of electricity is something we do almost entirely without thinking about it. Don’t leave lights switched on in unattended rooms. It is at once one of the most simple ways to save money, and one of the most overlooked. It’s about auditing areas where you are needlessly burning resources and spending money, and stopping the waste.
Another good idea is to consider replacing all of the traditional incandescent light bulbs in your home with LEDs—they cost more but last considerably longer, and use a fraction of the energy of incandescent bulbs.
Most people are not as focused as they should be on the heating or ventilation systems in their homes, and how just a marginal adjustment can result in significant long-term savings.
Also, for your laundry, why not try foregoing the convenience of the electric clothes dryer for the washing line. Airing clothes on a line is also ‘kinder’ to your clothes, and they will last for longer.
6. Try to Deal in Cash
Many prominent leaders are critical of cash transactions, for a variety of reasons. But from a savings point of view, dealing in cash is a good exercise in adjusting your mindset to dealing with money as a finite resource. This is among the most potently tangible and simple ways to save money. Perform an audit of all essential monthly outgoings that are conducted through direct debits, such as health and life insurance; property rent or mortgage; car repayments and maintenance, etc.
Then, allocate yourself an amount of cash from whatever is left for day to day expenses. Resist payments by credit cards [revisit the Alvin Hall video above to find out why], and live within the limits of the cash in your wallet. Whatever is left should be ring-fenced and saved. Of all simple ways to save money, this is the one that seems to bring the most visible results.
7. Treat Yourself and Your Family
There has to be some immediate reward for all the effort, but make it something that benefits you and your loved ones. A family meal at the end of the month is ideal. Try to keep this within the limits of what you have saved from your weekly budget, and set the remainder aside. This is about finding the most simple ways to save money. And one of the simplest truisms is that there has to be tangible payback for effort.
8. Feel Good About yourself
Finally, a veritable manifesto for simple ways to save money, Brigham Young one of the founding figures in the United States once wrote: “If you wish to get rich, save what you get. A fool can earn money; but it takes a wise man to save and dispose of it to his own advantage.”
There is an achievement in saving money. You are taking control of a key aspect of your personal life, for long-term benefit. That is a cause for celebration. But as ever, ensure that the celebration does not trigger the reflexive impulse purchase.
It’s appropriate here to conclude with the words of Ingrid Roper, from her Moneymakers: Good Cents for Girls.
“Ever see something in a store that you gotta have? How about those rainbow suspenders you wore only once? Prevent the ”wish-I-hadn’ts” by asking yourself these questions:
• Will I use it or wear it often?
• Will I use it or wear it a couple months from now?
• If I get it, will I have enough money for what I’m saving for?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, you might want to think twice. If you still aren’t sure, try waiting a week to see if it has the same appeal.”