When we try to put aside and save money, we often tend to see things upside down.
Thomas J. Stanley, author of the bestseller The Millionaire Next Door, says in his book: ” How much you earn is less important than what you do with the money you already have. ” And he is absolutely right.
Often, we think wrongly that in order to successfully set aside and grow our bank accounts, we would first and foremost need a higher salary.
We are accusing our incomes of not being substantial enough to allow us to save money on a daily basis, when in reality, the first step in setting aside is not to earn more money, but more importantly, less (or better ) spend.
By starting to create and track your personal budget,
The solution is simple: take the time to really think before you buy.
The expenses to limit will necessarily depend on the lifestyles and consumption of each. But to give you some ideas, here are some examples of products that everyone should stop buying to really save and put away.
Meals outside every midday …
For those who work in an office, it often seems very easy to go every day to buy a small sandwich on the go. Except that on average, a meal outside costs almost $8 . That is about $1800 per year.
A fortune when you know how easy it is to prepare your lunch in advance for $ 20 per person per week. This preparation of meals at home will then cost you about 920 $ per year. This amounts to a saving of almost 1000 $.
When I bought each of my takeaway meals, like many, I did not realize at all the true weight of these expenses. But once the calculation is done, it is very easy to realize the huge financial pitfall of meals to take away.
By stopping eating out (except from time to time in case of forgetfulness or to share a meal with my colleagues), I immediately felt the difference in my budget.
I plan now in advance all my meals of the week. In general, between 1h and 1h30 of preparation, each Sunday is enough. After choosing two recipes, I store the meals in these airtight boxes that keep a good level of freshness for 5 days. If recipes do not support storage for so long (this is the case for salads, for example), I add about thirty minutes on Wednesday to prepare meals for the remaining two days.
If this is easier for you, you can also take 15 minutes each evening to prepare your next meal. In addition, even the most basic recipes will often be much better for health than most fast foods.
And if your argument is that eating out is a way of selling your restaurant vouchers, be aware that they can also be used to pay for groceries at the supermarket.
… and take-away meals at night!
The remarks made above are also valid for evening meals. Most of the discrepancies come from the fact that when you come home from work, we have nothing easy or fast to eat, and we feel too tired to cook … Between getting in the lead to know what to cook or take a McDo on the way back, the choice is often (too) fast.
And the problem is that at the moment, it only costs a “small” dozen euros. But again, in the long run, it’s your entire budget that gets nibbled. And when we try to put aside, it is depriving each month of small savings to grow.
Leaving some ready-made dishes like quiches or pizzas in the freezer (or freezing home-made meals in advance) is a great way to make sure you do not waste time cooking too much. Like that, if the fatigue is too important, you just need to draw a dish in the freezer.
Attention: the goal is not at all to encourage junk food. These situations should be exceptional, not every day. And even though frozen dishes are not super healthy all the time, it’s still better than most fast food.
Household cleaning products
Did you know that white vinegar can replace just about any cleaning product? And in addition, it is often much better for the environment … and for your health. At less than 50 cents per liter, you enjoy a product that can clean your furniture (except stone surfaces), your oven, your windows, your sinks, faucet and drains … and much more!
If like me, you have a hard time enduring the smell of vinegar, just add a few drops of essential oils in your vinegar + water mixture. And in addition to avoiding spending money on dozens of products, you can put aside while making room in your closets!
We often take coffee as an example when it comes to showing how much our small daily expenses can, in the long run, weigh heavily in our wallet. It is this idea that is at the origin of the Latte Factor theory that we presented to you in this article.
But the reason we take this example all the time is because it’s very realistic.
Of course, no need to give up coffee permanently to become financially independent. But if like many people you buy every day or almost your takeaway coffee, know that it necessarily has a significant impact on your budget, even if you only pay a few euros at the time.
The alternative is simple: prepare your coffee to go … at home! And you can even enjoy a much better coffee, much cheaper.
If like me you prefer to enjoy your coffee in the office, you can bring a hermetic transport mug ( my favorites are those of Contigo ) to keep warm time to arrive.
For those who carry their coffee daily, preparing your own coffee can save you up to more than $500 a year. A nice little sum to set aside for future projects.
Magazines and books
The concept of the library often seems obsolete (like our college or pre-internet years). Yet, local libraries are full of thousands of books that you can access often for the price that could cost you to buy a book alone! Why bother spending money on something you will only read once when you could get it for free at the library?
In addition, more and more libraries now offer magazines, movies, music, series or ebooks! What to satisfy everyone while allowing you to set aside for your financial goals.
And for the most digital of you (of which I am a part), the reader is an excellent compromise. I personally use the Amazon Kindle, which offers an unlimited subscription to access tens of thousands of pounds for a few euros per month only. This allows me to spend a lot less on my reading budget while having access to many more titles.
Clothes … just because they are on sale
Impulsively buy this -50% jacket that will “save you $ 25″ … will actually make you spend $ 25.
Unplanned expenses are almost always just cravings, not needs. And that means you’re wasting money on something that, in the end, does not bring you anything. Would not you prefer to keep these euros for a nice restaurant by the beach during your next romantic holiday? At the moment, hard to think about it. But every expense you make is to sacrifice another.
Balances attract, and this is voluntary (hard not to realize that the mark plays with flash colors and exuberant posters). The purpose of all this is to make you think that you have just done the business of the century. This is very rarely the case.
In addition to having built a capsule wardrobe to limit my clothing expenses, now I always try to practice intentional expenses. That is, for everything you buy, ask yourself if you really want it, really. If the product had not been on sale, would you have bought anyway? If the answer is no, do not buy it.
Another method is to (almost) never buy immediately, but postpone all your expenses. This is what I do personally, adding each of the expenses that make me want in a note on my phone or in a category of my budget. After a few days, in the vast majority of cases, I do not want the object in question at all.
Be careful: it’s not about telling you that you always have to buy only what you “strictly” need. I also buy “desires”. But I foresee in advance the number of expenses related to these desires in a well-defined category so as not to find myself at 500 € expenses “pleasure” at the end of the month. This allows you to weight your purchases.