We know that going to the cafe and eating smashed avocado several times a week is bad for our budget. We also all know that we can solve this problem easily by just cooking at home and avoiding the coffee shops. However, we keep doing it over and over again, and these ‘convenience expenses’ can stall our financial growth.
The latest study from Bankrate shows that 54% of millennials eat out, more than 50% go to the bar every week, and 30% buy coffee at least three times a week. Especially if you are living in a small place and or living at home with your parents, you are going to have more disposable income and are more likely to eat out or buy coffee.
The most likely reason why we can’t stop purchasing is because we want to have a certain ‘personal indulgence’. We want something to look forward to during the day, something that is rewarding for us. We treat ourselves in many different ways, whether it is buying a nice pair of shoes, going to an expensive hairdresser, getting or a massage, and, buying that nice luxurious coffee. It is the way we feel a little bit better about our life when we are busy or stressed.
Here are 5 ways to save money, without feeling like you are denying yourself too much:
- Pre-make meals your meals
The best method to avoid wasting your money is to take some time on a sunday to prepare your meals for the week. This way you have something nice to look forward to, you don’t have to wait too long as you can just heat it up, and you save that $15 on sushi take away.
- Bring snacks from home and fill your travel coffee mug
Why do we keep spending that $5 latte at the Starbucks? Because we think we don’t have the time to make our own coffee at home. The fact is, we only think we don’t. Instead of standing in that 6 minute line to get your daily brew at the Starbucks, you can make your own cheaper coffee at home, fill your to-go coffee mug with it and walk to your work or study. While you are already enjoying your very delicious but cheaper latte, you will be walking past that long line of people at Starbucks. Result; same amount of time, same amount of deliciousness, less money spend.
Same counts for your daily cravings. This sunday when you’re at the supermarket, make sure to get yourself some easy snacks like a bag of salted almonds. Very filling, healthy, and it will avoid you from wasting your money on these impulse snack purchases.
- Create a special envelope
To completely cut out on your urges is probably an unrealistic goal. Don’t pretend like you’ll never buy a cup of coffee or ice cream again. Instead, make sure you first put enough money aside for the bills you have to pay. Use your leftover cash for your special envelop where you occasionally get your cash out for your treat once a week. The power of this envelop is that it is easier to control than your bank account because you can physically see the money and it avoids cheating.
- Make it a game
Set your own goals and rules for your savings. You are the boss of your game, and try to make it a little more fun. For example, try to get as much free food as you can, like for example samples at the grocery store. If you still want to eat out with friends, ask them in advance if they want to split the order. Your friends will most likely understand, and maybe even be interested to hear more about your saving game.
Another game that you could use, is to keep track of your expenses. Write down how much you’re exactly spending on each meal. This is a very rewarding way of seeing what you’re actually doing it for.
- Cut down big expenses
Make sure you don’t just look at your smaller expenses. Maybe there is something much bigger your can cut on like your rent. Could you cut your rent in half if you got a roommate or moved in with someone else? You could also save money if you would rent your room out as you’re going on vacation. Nowadays there are plenty of websites available that offer the opportunity to rent out rooms for a short amount of time.
If you cut on these bigger expenses, you’ll have more money left for your smaller vices such as your coffee and your avocado toast. It is up to you to decide what your priorities are.
Want to know more about financial literacy and saving money? We love to help out. Go to Jaaustralia.org