7 Ways to Save Extra Money Without Sacrificing Your Lifestyle

One of the core beliefs of our financial planning practice is that you should focus on what you can control.

You can’t control rising gas prices. You can’t control this grocery store prices rose nearly 9% over the past year. You cannot control that the the price of rent and housing explodes neither across the country.

And while the amount of money you earn is somewhat within your control, increasing your income is a long-term game. It’s not something that happens overnight.

So what is under your immediate control? How you spend and save your money.

To Fight Inflation, Focus on Your Cash Flow

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When it comes to staying on budget despite rising costs beyond your control, first focus your attention on how you spend money. Where does your money go throughout the month?

Don’t worry: you don’t have to give up your daily lattes if stopping for a cup of coffee every morning is an important ritual for you. You don’t have to maintain a rice and bean lifestyle to save extra money. And honestly, being as frugal as possible isn’t sustainable for most people. Instead, the strategy we suggest

What you need to recognize are the items in your budget that are do not a high priority for you and make changes from there. It’s about being intentional and aware of the choices you make.

Here are 7 ideas to help you do just that:

1. Evaluate discretionary spending

Look at your budget and determine if the category (or maybe just the amount of money in the category) aligns with your values ​​and goals.

For example, family time may be an important value. In that case, having a weekly dinner with your siblings and their children might be a non-negotiable ritual for your family – even if someone else might say it’s not an essential expense since you could just cook the dinner at home.

But what you get from that experience could be a lot more valuable than what it actually costs. Therefore, it’s probably worth keeping this expense in your budget. To offset this cost, you could commit to bringing your own lunch from home during the work week so you can fully enjoy the family meal.

This is just one specific example that is not universal for everyone; what appears in your budget will be unique to you. The thing is, we all have different values, which means our discretionary spending should looks different.

There’s no objective way to say “spend your money this it’s good, but spend it for that is wrong.”

This is where so many things financial tips to save money fails: it passes judgment on what is worthwhile and what is not. But only you can decide what specific items should stay within your budget and what should be eliminated.

2. Change store

Instead of ignoring the purchases you’re used to make, look for ways to replace expensive products with cost-effective alternatives. Choose the generic brand rather than the name brand; go for the regular mid-range option instead of the more expensive high-end choice (where the only difference is in marketing and branding!).

Or change or you shop to save extra money. Stop shopping at Whole Foods for all your grocery needs and instead try some lower cost grocery chains where you can buy high quality foods at more affordable prices.

This strategy can also apply to other places where you spend money. Instead of eliminating, try to change first.

For example, do you need a $200 monthly gym membership, or could you still achieve your fitness goals if you switched to a gym on a $50 monthly membership? Do you need to play the most expensive golf course on Sundays, or is there a more reasonably priced course in your area that you will always enjoy?

3. Press Pause when upgrading your gadgets

It seems like there is always a new upgrade for every piece of technology we have. But if you’re feeling pressured by inflation, resist the urge to upgrade your devices properly now.

Unless you’re entirely bereft of an assistive device you need, consider spending no more on something brand new. Extend the life of your technology as much as possible and save the extra money you’ll have by simply waiting.

Delay doesn’t mean you can never get the latest and greatest. It just means slowing down the rate at which you acquire new technology. And when you decide to upgrade, you might be able to trade in your current device or sell it on an online platform to earn money for the new one.

4. Borrow or negotiate before you buy

When you’re feeling the pressures of inflation, it might be a good idea to find other ways to get the things you need. There are many occasions when it might be a good idea to borrow items or buy them second-hand.

One example that seems particularly relevant to our family right now is baby gear: from furniture to clothes to toys and more, this is an area where we have loved receiving souvenirs from parents with older children. Babies grow and change so quickly, and it’s amazing how many sizes we’ve already gone through with our 7 month old!

We bought a few new items, but saved hundreds, if not thousands, by just accepting lightly used items for our daughter.

Of course, you always want to make sure that the things you buy look good, are well-made, and have value to you. Thanks to the Internet, it’s easier than ever to join second-hand communities and find valuables such as toys and games, kitchen gadgets, furniture and more for much less than retail prices. retail. If buying used isn’t your thing, borrowing and swapping items with friends and family can work just as well.

5. Automate your invoices

If you haven’t already, make sure you don’t give extra money for no reason, such as paying late fees because you forgot to make a payment or pay a bill. Sign up for an automatic payment plan or set a schedule reminder so you don’t pay more money than you need for your bills.

This will help you make sure you don’t lose money while you try to save a little more. But even your savings can be adjusted if the pressure of rising prices is weighing heavily on your budget right now.

In addition to adjusting your spending, you can also review your short-term spending goals and see how you can adjust them to meet your current budget needs.

6. Adjust your savings strategies

If you’re currently saving for a big purchase, but skyrocketing prices make you feel like your goal is out of reach, consider extending your time frame. This means you can save a smaller amount each month while still making progress.

Let’s say your goal was to save $12,000 over 12 months, which requires you to save $1,000 to meet that deadline. If you push your goal to 20 months, you can $600 per month and still meet your goal in the future, while freeing up $400 per month to meet current needs when costs are higher.

7. Put your FSA and HSA dollars to work

Now might be a good time to take advantage of your Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Spending Account (HSA) if you have one.

The money you contribute to these accounts allows you to pay health and childcare costs with pre-tax money.

Realistically adjust your spending to live a life you love

When it comes to sticking to your budget in the face of rapidly rising inflation, there are plenty of ways to adjust your spending while still living the life you love.

Take the time to review your budget and spending habits and remember that the best way to use your money will be unique to you. What works for your sister’s family may not work for yours, and vice versa.

Understand what you value and determine if there are any discretionary spending you can suspend or change. Find areas where you can swap high-end items for cheaper alternatives so you can still enjoy the things you love. And adjust your savings goals as needed.

But above all, remember that making major sacrifices to your lifestyle is usually do not a good long-term strategy. At least now might be the time to go back to your list of values ​​and priorities to make sure your spending habits are still aligned with what’s most important to you.

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