Five Ways That Helped Me Start Saving Up

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Shopping has been my soft spot all my life, and consequently, I have always struggled to save up even the smallest amount of money at the end of the month. However, in the past couple of years, I have spent much more time at home, so I did a lot of online shopping. When I compared how much money I had spent in the period before that with how much I spent shopping online, I realised I needed to change something about my spending and start saving up instead.

The idea of saving up money for some bigger goal sounded much easier said than done initially. So, I made a list of the things I wanted to try to help me on this journey. In this blog, I share the top five things that worked for me.

I never believed I could truly save up enough money to fulfil any of my ‘big dreams, so most of the time, I would simply spend money on the things that made me happy at that moment. But, when I became a mother, my focus changed, and I had to start thinking about spending in the long run. Now, it has been more than a year since I first started following these steps, so these are the five that proved successful:

  • Writing down the purpose;
  • Making a shopping list;
  • Keeping track of my spending;
  • Having a savings account;
  • Letting myself enjoy life;
  1. I write down what I save up for

I have realised that every time I write down what I’m saving up for, I become ten times more motivated to set aside money for that purpose.

I remember, when I first started saving up, I was decorating my baby’s room. So, each month, I would write down what piece of furniture I was saving up for, for example. Doing this also helps me not to get overwhelmed if I have to save up a considerable amount of money. I see it as taking step by step to the final goal, and the process itself motivates me and makes me feel accomplished.

Now I write everything down; whether small or big, I write down everything I plan to save up for. It makes it easier to plan my other spending because I can clearly see how much money I have at hand.

2. I make detailed shopping lists

When I go grocery shopping, for example, I always write down every single thing I need, to the smallest item, and only then do I go to the supermarket. I do my shopping weekly, so every Saturday, I make a list of the items I would need the following week. It has helped me save up an unimaginable amount of money because I wasn’t even aware of how many unnecessary things I was buying just because, at that moment, I thought I needed them.

The same goes for everything else. Whenever I go shopping or plan to buy something online, I write down what I need and then try not to even look at the other things. Naturally, sometimes I fail because, as I mentioned, I have a soft spot for shopping, but I try not to as much as possible.

When I started making my shopping lists, I also reduced the waste I was creating – primarily food, but also clothing, books, baby stuff, and the list goes on. It also helps me organise my mind and the thought process when it comes to planning.

3. I keep track of how much I have spent

Similar to creating shopping lists, this habit also changed the game for me.

I write down, each month, the exact amount of money I spent that month, what I spent it on, and then circle out what was really necessary and what wasn’t.

In the beginning, I was shocked at how much money I had wasted each month. Wasting especially applies to shopping online. I used to get carried away so easily that I didn’t even notice I went over my budget each and every time.

When I started keeping track of my spending, I learned how much money I needed for my bills, how much money I needed for my groceries, for the baby, for myself, and everything else. So I make small groups on a piece of paper – I use the green pen for my bills, the yellow one for my groceries, the blue one for the baby stuff, and then I use the red pen to circle everything I bought but didn’t really need.

As time passed, I noticed that I was using the red pen less and less. Now that I have managed to create this habit, I don’t think I ever waste my money on anything. At least not without being aware of it.

4. I set aside a budget for a rainy day

Each month, I set aside a certain amount of money that I never spend but just keep in my savings account. It’s usually a small amount, but I allocate it consistently.

I didn’t think it would make such a difference, to be honest, but I read a lot about what this habit can do to my mind, and I was more than intrigued to try it.

I read that just knowing there is an account that always has some money in it, regardless of what happens, gives me a sense of security. I feel less stressed about money, and I know that I could never stay completely broke. This is very important to me, especially because I have a child. It’s something I know I can rely on in times when I need it for something, but I can’t wait for the next payday.

5. I let myself feel rewarded from time to time

I have learned that it’s very important to enjoy whatever I feel like enjoying occasionally. So, I treat myself to the things I know will make me happy.

I see this as one way of re-charging my ‘good mood battery’. I never really go on a reckless spending spree anymore, but I also don’t feel the need to do so. The things I enjoy spending money on are: book shopping, entertainment parks with my child, eating out, impromptu trips to nearby places, cinema tickets.

The money I spend on entertainment is usually not on the top of my priority list, so sometimes I go a few months without focusing on this, but other times, I get to do several things I enjoy a month. However frequent these moments may be, I believe they are very important for me because they affect my overall attitude and motivation to manage my finances stress-free.

Self-control requires discipline, and it takes time to practice. During this journey, I have learned that it’s possible to teach myself how to gain control over everything I do and focus my actions on being productive while still enjoying the small things life has to offer.

Have you ever tried managing your spending? Do you struggle with self-control? What do you think about the steps I took? Do you think they would work for you, too? I would love to see what you think.

Pozdrav,

Milica

Milica Sekulic

In my career, I have tried many things, but writing has always been something I primarily aspired for. Both my BA and MA were in English language and literature, so I’m also passionate about reading and teaching.

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