As Thoreau wisely stated, “I make myself rich by making my wants few.”
Indeed, the fewer things we desire, the more content we are with what we have. But in today’s world – where we’re bombarded with product marketing and social pressures to have the latest and greatest – wanting less isn’t easy.
The good news is you don’t have to say no to your strongest desires in order to save money.
Instead, there are tweaks you can make to your daily routine that will improve financial standing over time. In saving pennies every day on little stuff that doesn’t affect your happiness much, you’ll have the money to buy the things (or even better, the experiences) that give you the greatest boosts in happiness.
Easy ways to start getting richer TODAY
Drink more H2O. Viewing tap water as the default beverage – and everything else as a treat – will do wonders for your health and your pocketbook. You don’t have to totally give up sports drinks, juice, and soda, but they shouldn’t be the go-to whenever you get thirsty. If you’re continually buying bottled water, make the 1-time investment in a reusable bottle – there are even ones that simultaneously filter the water!
Cut the suds. Experiment with using 1/3 less detergent the next time you do wash. We tried this and were amazed that a bottle of detergent lasted nearly a year, and our clothes came out clean every time! Similarly, be mindful of how much of other products you’re using – you’ll be surprised at how little you actually need once you start paying attention.
Kick the browsing habit. Window shopping – as well as the online equivalent – invites temptation and creates desires that wouldn’t have otherwise existed. If you want to make an expensive and non-necessary purchase, wait at least a month to determine whether your interest sticks.
Do-it-yourself. The more you do yourself, the better! In the age of the Internet, it’s easy to find resources for learning just about anything.
Drive less. Cars are big money wasters. Fixed costs like insurance, registration fees, and loan payments are inevitable; however, you can control variable costs of gas and maintenance by driving less (e.g., bundle your errands).
Cook Cheaper. Making more meals from scratch is probably the biggest way to save money. When grocery shopping, we rely on these 3 principles:
- The closer foods are to their whole, natural form, the cheaper they will be (vs. pre-cut/pre-assembled)
- Look at the store’s weekly sales ahead of time and plan your meals around them.
- Shop for nutrition. Raw fruits, veggies, and proteins are more filling and a better long-term investment than meals from boxes.
Finally, fear not a little discomfort. There is a price to pay for indulging every little desire, from turning the heat up in winter to that iPhone upgrade. In times when your preferences are not completely met or you have to exert extra effort to get the desired results, think of it as training to be a more adaptable and resourceful person – not to mention the money you’re saving!
Do you have any everyday penny-pinching strategies you’d like to share? Let us know in the comments!