Guest Post by Vanda Frak
Have you been carelessly tapping your card at happy hour, and shopping online while neglecting your ever-growing debt? It’s time to consider taking a sabbatical from spending and focusing on saving. But, if looking at your bank account fills you with dread, consider the positive psychological impacts of saving money, like peace of mind, confidence, optimism, and a sense of freedom.
According to Statistics Canada, the lowest 20% of income earners were racking up high levels of debt by spending a net average of $27,935 more than they earned. This left Canadian households with an average net savings of $852 in 2018.
If you’re ready to take control of your finances, and consequently, your mental health, there's no time like the present. Here are some simple and painless ways you can transition from a season of indulgence to one of saving.
Break down your goal
Saving money can feel like going against the grain sometimes, especially when there are flashier, trendier and more exciting things you could be spending your coin on. One thing you can do to shift your focus from temporary pleasure to a more long-term mindset, is to make a savings goal for yourself.
Ask yourself: what long term goal you are hoping to achieve? Purchasing a home? Or, going on a trip abroad? Whatever your goal may be, write down what excites you about your next challenge and put it somewhere visible. Then, break down your goal into bite-sized and actionable steps you can take to save the money required to accomplish it. Having a purpose for your money will make it easier to say “no, thank you” to Sunday brunch or happy hour.
Set up automatic savings
An automatic savings fund is a simple way to save money. Similar to automatic withdrawal for your bills, you can set up a savings account with your local bank and have a certain amount of money go into that account from your chequing account every month, without having to lift a finger.
Opt-out of elective purchases
Say “no, thank you” to elective purchases and get creative. Is there a book you’re dying to read? Instead of paying up to $30 for it at the bookstore, see if your local library carries it, or if a friend can loan it to you. Want to eat out with your friends? Host a potluck and invite your friends over instead. You can enjoy a great time and save costs by having your friends bring their favourite dish. Want to grab a coffee on the go in between meetings? Plan ahead, make coffee at home and bring it with you in a reusable mug. Good for the environment, great for your wallet.
Commit to a “no spending” month.
This entails making a commitment to curb your shopping instinct and save money for the duration of a month. During the span of this month, the only things you’re allowed to spend money on are your living costs, gas and groceries. Whenever you feel the urge to pull out your credit card (and believe me, this urge will come), reel yourself back in. Take a moment to remind yourself of the purpose for this next season of your life.
Take inventory of your subscriptions
From Netflix, to Spotify, and subscription boxes, it’s easy to become blindsided by the amounts of money being withdrawn from your bank account every month for entertainment. A good example is that gym membership you never use. Consider cancelling it and giving some at-home workouts a try.
Write down every subscription or membership you’re committed to, evaluate which ones add value to your life and part ways with the ones you don’t use regularly.
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