There are so many tips for saving money out there, tips like:
- Learn to coupon and save 20% off your grocery bills
- Spend with only cash instead of credit cards
- Drive slower to save on gas
- Increase your deductible to save money on your insurance premiums
- Sign up for a service that automatically puts small bits of money into your savings each day
While all of these tips might work in the moment, rarely do they actually save you money in the long run.
When you get to the point where you don’t feel like you need to pinch pennies anymore, you’ll stop looking for those coupons, you’ll start using credit cards again, and you’ll probably go back to driving like a maniac. That’s just how it is. People tend to continue living how they want to live and it’s hard to deviate from it.
What if, however, you were able to find a reason to change how you wanted to live, which then enabled you to save more money? How could this be done? As it turns out, there are at least three ways to accomplish this.
1) Exercise More
Our bodies aren’t made to sit at a desk all day and eat McDonald’s garbage food at night. This pattern inevitably leads to obesity, which then leads to medical problems, which ultimately leads to an empty wallet (both from the restaurant food expense, the medical issues, and the spending we do to counter the sadness of being a fat lard). You probably won’t see it in Fortune magazine or even in a documentary, but in my opinion, the lack of exercise is one of the key triggers to overspending in America.
So how does one begin to save money? Get off one’s butt and start moving! Go for a walk, learn how to jog (as you may have guessed, it’s not that hard), or go for a swim. Our bodies are built to be on the move. And, when your body is in constant motion, you start looking better, you start feeling better, and your overall health will naturally improve. Most notably, you won’t have to self-medicate your sadness with crazy spending anymore either. Learn to love exercise and you will save tons of cash in the future.
2) Develop a Hobby
Many of us find ourselves spending money because we have nothing better to do. We get home from work, stare at our spouse, and then propose that we go browse through Lowes to see if we “need anything”. First of all, if you go to a store without even knowing why you’re going, then you certainly don’t need anything. Secondly, by doing this, you’re basically developing a hobby of shopping, which is not something I condone.
Instead, develop a hobby that you love to do. Perhaps you like to craft things out of fabric, or maybe you like to construct things out of wood. For me, I like to write about personal finance (big surprise I know)! When you develop a hobby, you stop spending money blindly and you instead start to do it intentionally. AND, you might even pick a hobby that EARNS you money. If you build something out of wood, start trying to sell some. If you like to paint, maybe you can sell your artwork. So, not only can you save money by distracting yourself from careless spending, you can save money by actually earning more!
I always get a blank stare from people when I tell them they can save money by giving. It seems pretty counter-intuitive doesn’t it? In order to save money, you’re going to spend it through giving…?? Hear me out though.
If I tell you to give money (and you agree to try), then what is one of the first things you’ll have to do? You’re going to have to find a worthwhile cause to give to! So, you start keeping your eyes and ears open for a need – maybe at your church, at the local soup kitchen, or through a special organization that does work for the needy.
Instead of constantly thinking about your own wants, you’re thinking about how you can fulfill the needs of someone else. Then, after you find a mission that’s near and dear to your heart, you’ll probably realize how good you’ve actually got it. No longer do you “need” that speed boat or that cottage on the lake. By giving just 10% of your money away, you’ll probably save yourself 30% on your larger expenses. This definitely isn’t an excerpt from a scientific study, but it just makes sense doesn’t it? Learn the needs of others and you’ll feel more content yourself.
How will you start saving money today?