More and more people are looking for advice on how to save to set aside some money for extra expenses or to make it to the end of the month without the anxiety of bills due or of the mortgage payment. When income is limited it is essential to keep expenses under control and rely on some little tricks to save on shopping and the daily management of home and family and also accumulate a sum of money to make in the face of unforeseen events or to invest in an important project.
How to save with clear and realistic objectives
Learning to save is not difficult, but it is necessary to have very clear ideas about what you want to achieve with the money saved. Saving money to be able to meet the family expenses of food, bills, rent or mortgage, expenses for the children’s activities is different from saving to have money available to invest in other projects such as a trip, buying a house, a car or a particularly expensive course of study.
Having the objectives in mind allows you to take the right direction and not waste money uselessly. Having established the purpose for which you want to put the savings aside, you need to understand if it is realistic, following the SMART method , conceived by the American psychologist Edwin Locke. If a goal is specific, measurable, reliable, relevant and timed, then it means that it is achievable and you can get to work to save.
Obviously, savings vary from person to person , based on income and lifestyle.
Financial planning is important to save money
You can’t save money without financial planning, which allows you to monitor your income and expenses and set a ceiling for expenses and a savings target. You can start with a minimum short-term goal , saving a small amount per week, this way it is easier to achieve the result. Even 10 euros a week can contribute to accumulating a small amount to be used for an unexpected event.
Some expenses cannot be avoided, especially those relating to housing, transport or medicines or any loans in progress. Knowing the amount of fixed expenses allows you to have your finances under control and not find yourself without money for an installment or a tax to pay.
It may seem trivial but every day you can work to save some money, even just a few cents. Keeping the receipts and receipts , dividing them by categories, allows you to understand which expenses weigh more on the budget. If the charges for utilities via current account are active, from the home banking section it is already possible to have divided by categories all the expenses, including telephone top-ups and payments made with cards. At the end of the month it will be clear which expenses have the greatest impact on the budget and which ones can be avoided.
Tips for saving every day on food expenditure
One of the heaviest items in the budget of any family is that devoted to food consumption. To save on food it is not necessary to fast or die of hunger, just follow a few small tricks to cut away some too many expenses.
- Before going out to shop, it is very useful to plan meals for the whole week, even if only briefly. By planning meals at home, in the office or any lunches or dinners out, there is no risk of buying food that will not be consumed.
- Also avoid being tempted by offers or ready-to-eat food packages so as not to fill the shopping cart with junk food.
- Always keep in mind also that buying fruit and vegetables already cut and packaged causes the receipt to rise unnecessarily.
- Making a shopping list is another way to buy only the bare essentials and not take home unnecessary food or products.
- Entering the supermarket with a full stomach helps not to fall into the temptation to rob the shelves, buying foods that are not necessary.
- When shopping, roughly calculating the amount you are spending in your mind can help keep your receipt under control .
- Shopping while always keeping an eye on the offers, discounts and promotions in progress, even in different supermarkets, allows you to save a lot of money at the end of the month.
- Another way to save on food shopping is to not eat in the canteen or in the bar under the office but bring your own lunch.
- Of course, even dinner outings should be reduced or completely eliminated out.
How to save money on bills
The item intended for users is also one of the most consistent in the list of family expenses. Today the market is partially liberalized and allows you to choose the most convenient supplier.
- To save on bills, the first thing to do is to compare the various proposals and choose the most suitable for your needs. The offers vary from one company to another even over time, so you can change supplier whenever you find one with a better rate.
- Do not leave the plugs of devices that are not in use: computers, cell phone chargers, TVs and appliances that are not used.
- Lowering the heating thermostat even by just one degree allows for considerable savings at the end of the year.
- Checking the closure of the windows by plugging any drafts helps to keep the house warmer and with less energy loss.
- If the landline of the phone is not used, you can consider terminating the contract and making one just for the internet line. Even the choice of the latter must be made among the most convenient on the market.
- If you pass a lot of time away from home and you do not use the pay TV subscription, it is useless to wait for time available, better to cancel immediately.
- To save money, it may also be useful to evaluate the possibility of installing photovoltaic panels, also taking advantage of the incentives and dedicated tax breaks.
Other small tips to save money
Family expenses are not reduced only to housing, food and utilities, there are other items which, added together, contribute to to raise the cost of the outings. The expenses for the car or for transport in general, for clothing, for leisure time and for travel can be reduced without giving up any of them.
- Using public transport instead of the car as often as possible is a way to save on petrol. If the situation allows it, you can even do without the car and also save on road tax, insurance, parking and maintenance.
- In the event that the car is essential, consumption can be limited by maintaining a careful driving mode, avoiding sudden braking or frequent acceleration. For gasoline, the same goes for supermarkets and utilities: check the cheapest distributor.
- For the commute from home to work, you can organize yourself with some colleague and share the expenses.
- Train and plane tickets cost less out of season and on weekdays, a sign that to save money you don’t have to give up traveling but simply follow some precautions.
- To buy clothes and other items of clothing, you can take advantage of the sales or promotional sales, also checking the online offers.
- Investing in quality is a way to ensure the durability of an item of clothing or a pair of shoes and save money over the years .
- Don’t buy something just because it’s on sale, but always ask yourself if you really need it.
- Don’t go re shopping in a stressful time is one way to avoid impulse and nonsense shopping.
- To save on cinema and theater tickets, it is better to take advantage of the weekdays, when it costs less. Also inquire about any free or reduced-ticket screenings in cineforums or outdoor arenas.
- To avoid unnecessary expenses, it is also useful to follow the 48-hour rule: give yourself a period of time to reflect on the purchase you intend to make. If, after 48 hours, you no longer think about the item or service you intend to buy, then it is not worth investing money.
How to save with the 50/30 rules / 20 and 5 euros
Finally, to save and set aside a few euros, regardless of income and income, it can be useful follow the 50/30/20 rule , devised by Senator Elizabeth Warren , Professor of Business Law at Harvard University.
According to this rule, it is necessary to divide the available budget by allocating 50% to essential expenses , such as rent and bills, the 30% to “discretionary” expenses , ie those for shopping, for the cinema or for the restaurant, and 20% for savings or debt payments.
You can divide your income already at the beginning of the month, leaving only 30% of the discretionary expenses. In this way, it is possible to set aside a variable but safe amount.
Another way to scrape together a good nest egg is to put aside all the banknotes 5 €. You can decide to keep them in a piggy bank or pay them into your current account or a prepaid card: at the end of the year you will find yourself with an extra amount to use according to your needs.