Summer is in full swing (YAAAS), and that means you’re probably attending lots of concerts, baseball games, and rooftop happy hours. Considering Colorado is AWESOME this time of year, we know there’s no shortage of money-spending activities to participate in—especially when the days are longer and you’ve got all of this time on your hands…
With fall around the corner, it’s as good a time as any to take on a good ol’ fashioned ‘no-spend challenge’—an opportunity to evaluate the things you need to spend money on…and the things you definitely don’t. It’s also a great way to identify spending bloopers (i.e. those pesky spending habits that wreak havoc on your financial goals). Though it can certainly be a challenge, it doesn’t have to last forever; some people find that just one weekend of not spending superfluously can put them back on track (financially-speaking, anyway).
If the whole idea feels too out of reach at the moment, try picking just one category where you tend to overspend instead of focusing on everything at once. Whether your weakness is going out to eat (guilty as charged), spending on a whim, or taking a little too much advantage of summer clothing sales, it can be easy to break the routine by getting personal—and a little uncomfortable—with your budgeting goals.
(Do) sweat the small stuff
Sometimes it isn’t huge purchases that derail your budgeting goals; instead, it’s the little, everyday purchases that add up over time. If you’re struggling to find a place to start with your spending vaca, look at the small stuff first. Little things like buying a daily cup o’ joe, or paying more than you should in utility costs by overdoing it on the A/C (we know…blasphemy), can really make a difference in your total monthly expenses.
Meal prep is the right step
Don’t let meal prep intimidate you—we’re not asking you to jump on the kale bandwagon or start getting all Jamie Oliver in the kitchen. Instead, look at meal prep as a way of planning what you want to eat so you can save money at the grocery store. That way, you can avoid all those useless, stock-piled items you bought on a whim but never ended up using. Plan your meals for the week and create a list before you head to the store to save yourself time, money, and patience. If the task still seems daunting, check out our review of the food-delivery service Blue Apron.
Make a chart to track your savings
Whether you choose to create a list on your phone or go old skool with a poster board chart on your wall, tracking your savings is a definite YES. Every time you would normally spend money but decided not to, write it down. It’s easier to stay motivated when you can see what you’re saving add up each day—plus, the added boost in confidence of seeing your oh-so-disciplined spending is a reward in itself.
We know this goes without saying, but if you are able complete a personal no-spend challenge (high five), make sure you do something positive with the money you’ve saved—like putting it in a savings account, or paying off your credit card. Don’t be tempted to do all that hard work just to splurge the savings on something temporary.
Happy saving, folks!