Just because you have to save money doesn't mean you have to give up on the finer things in life. How's that possible, you say? Guest contributor Emily Green tells you exactly how.
Who says frugality and lavishness can’t go hand in hand? No one’s bank account is bottomless. However, being wise with money doesn't mean giving up all your favorite luxuries. Here are some tips to save money and still live large.
1. Cultivate the Right Attitude
Why do you spend? Is it because you can’t live without that pair of shoes? Because you want to impress your boyfriend with a new outfit? Because your partner shares funds with you and doesn't get angry if you rack up charges on a credit card? Recognizing why you spend money is a big step in learning how to save it.
If your boyfriend or husband makes a good income, don’t rely solely on his money. Cultivating the discipline to manage money even when it doesn't seem necessary can save you from major troubles down the road.
2. Set Goals
Goals are «key to financial success,» as one website aptly puts it. Whether you have your sights set on a beautiful house, a new car, or the vacation of a lifetime, make that goal your focus. Draw up a plan for reaching it so when you’re tempted to spend $50 at Gene Juarez on a haircut instead of $30 somewhere else, you can make the more affordable choice.
What should you do with that $20 you didn't spend on a haircut? Add it to your other savings and consider ways to invest. Fisher Investments’ advice can help you on the path to achieving your goals and obtaining financial success.
3. Track Your Spending
Keeping track of where your money goes can help you realize what you can live without. For example, will you really miss those lattes that you spent $100 on last month, or can you enjoy drip coffee just as much? Don’t worry about packing a pen and notebook to keep tabs on every penny; there are plenty of apps to help you get a comprehensive view of your spending habits.
Once you know why you spend money and what you spend it on, you should evaluate what's most important. If you want to reach your goals as soon as possible, think about cancelling the magazine subscriptions you never use and taking the bus to work. Maybe you can get free digital copies of those magazines through your local library, and not driving to work will make things easier on your car so you can take it on your summer road trip with fewer worries.
5. Love What You Have
Before you head to the mall, certain that you don’t have a thing to wear for your big date on Friday, spend a little more time with your closet. One article calls this «shopping in your own closet.» Maybe you’ll fall in love again with that blouse you haven’t worn since last year or that quirky pair of jeans.
Also try to do beauty treatments like manicures and facials for yourself. Sure, doing stuff like that at home isn't quite like having the pros take care of it, but the result is the same — you’ll feel gorgeous.
6. Shop Wisely
When you must go shopping for something new, make a plan. Know what you need, how much you’re willing to spend for it and where to look first. Having a focus will prevent you from aimlessly wandering the aisles and convincing yourself that you can't live without that genuine sheepskin jacket. Pay attention to rewards, as well. Some retailers offer great customer loyalty programs that can help you save money on your next shopping trip.
7. Enjoy Little Things
A lavish lifestyle isn’t about spending and getting — it’s about deriving pleasure from what you get. A fun piece of costume jewelry that costs $10 can refresh an old outfit and make you feel brand new, and you don’t have to bemoan that you didn’t buy a new head-to-toe look. Don’t envy the woman at the mall who is carrying 10 bags full of merchandise from Nordstrom; she’ll probably be paying for that stuff long after she’s stopped using it.
Saving money comes with more rewards than spending; saving gives a deep sense of satisfaction and accomplishment, and in the long run it yields big payoffs. It also doesn’t bar you from living a lavish and fun life now.