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Recently, Money Mentors and some of its followers on social media took place in a Spending Diet challenge. The 14-day test meant cutting out all wants and focusing on only spending money towards essentials.
Overall, some of the takeaways and tips we gained from this experiment on how to better prepare yourself for a lower budget or less spend, made the challenge worthwhile in more ways than one.
Here are some of our favourite money-saving tips, or ways to avoid spending money on wants:
Avoid overspending on groceries by only buying what you need for weekly meals. Use any gift cards you have on your essentials as opposed to buying things you do not need, and use all of your change from the jars around your house to pay for this weeks’ groceries. You never know how much is lying around.
Boredom can be one of the biggest reasons people tend to overspend or live outside of their means. To keep your mind off of spending money, try to find frugal activities within your local community. Things such as the “Little Free Library,” or a picnic in a nearby park can put things in perspective. Besides, some of our favourite things in life are free.
When you are struggling to find best practices for saving money, it never hurts to educate yourself on new ones. Take a free online course, or try reading a blog post (like this one) about best practices. You never know what kind of information is out there until you try. The best part about it? Most of these options are free!
When weekends come around, we are always looking for things to do. More often than not, these activities end up becoming costly. One idea is to clean out your storage room or closet. You might actually have things to sell, in turn, making you money! Cleaning up old stuff can also make you realize how often we buy things and then forget we have them. Perspective is important.
One of the best ways to save money for goals or stick to a budget is to keep an accountability buddy. Check in with one another once a week, or contact them whenever you are about to make an impulse purchase. They’ll ask you the right questions and remind you why saving that money was so important to you in the first place.
Try creating a progress bar to make sure your savings goals stay on track. Seeing those numbers everyday can be great motivation! This can also become a fun and frugal activity that you and your family can try together.
If you do have to buy something new that is going to be costly or affect your budget, the first thing you should do is compare price tags at various stores across your community. Are groceries cheaper elsewhere? Are there coupons or flyers in your local paper? Always double check before making a large purchase.
Habits are one of the most challenging parts of life. We have to learn how to make them and, even tougher, how to break them. Ask yourself what the hardest parts of avoiding spending are for you. From there, try to adjust your days to change any bad habits or slip ups that may have occurred previously.