Whether your finances were impacted last year or not, many of us have saving more money at the top of our New Years Resolution’s list. There are so many small changes we can make that will add up to a big difference over the course of a few months or even a few years. You don’t have to be dramatic: even small changes in your shopping habits can help you get further ahead. If you don’t have a budget yet, then this can be a really important step to finding space where you can save. Learning how to cook at home, and how to enjoy it, can be a great way to save money on eating out and socialising. Learning how to efficiently track your spending and automating it so it happens without thought is another great step to owning your finances and figuring out where you can save. Here are my top 4 tips for saving extra money in 2021:
1. Buy in Bulk
One of the best things I started doing last year during the pandemic was buying in bulk. It can be getting a membership to a bulk store like Cosco and buying things less often but getting more at once to save on the individual cost. I tend to suggest doing this for things that have a good shelf life, like rice, almond milk, frozen goods or you can even find cheap cigarettes wholesale. You may be surprised by how much you can save by simply getting wholesale prices or buying a few at once. If you have a few friends who are also wanting to save money, you can bulk buy between you all and share the products, allowing you to reap the benefits without being overwhelmed with a ton in your home.
Another great way to be able to make the most of bulk buying is to invest in a chest freezer. This will allow you to keep things frozen for longer, meaning that you can buy larger packets of meat, divide them up, and store them longer. Many people also use chest freezers to store pre-made meals that they’ll use at a later date.
2. Cook More At Home
If you’re somewhere that’s suffering with lockdowns due to the pandemic, this may already be decided for you. But cooking more at home is an excellent way to save money. I find cooking for one to be really tiresome and actually quite expensive, so you can take this a step further by making a few portions at once and freezing them so you can use them later in the week or at a later date. Learning how to cook economic meals at home is a great lifeskill and a simple way to save money.
With the Internet there are an uncountable number of free recipes online to help you feel inspired. You can also watch videos on Youtube to learn to cook new videos, which will allow you to improve your cooking skills while getting practical tips along the way. While now we may be almost forced to cook at home, honing in on these skills will be a wonderful asset once the pandemic is over.
3. Track Your Spending
They say you can’t improve what you don’t measure, so one of the best ways to measure your finance is by tracking your spending. You don’t have to worry about awful spreadsheets and a lot of manual inputting – instead you can find an app that connects to your banking that automatically tracks all your transactions. You can then file them into categories – and many apps will begin to learn your categories as you use them – so that you can see where your money is going each month. This is such an important step if you want to work on a budget.
You may be surprised by how much money of yours goes to areas of your life where you’re quite simply not seeing the return on your money. Things such as food or entertainment bills can easily be a lot more than we expect. Measuring them for a while lets us see exactly how much we are spending and what percentage of our money is going where.
4. Create a Realistic Budget
There’s nothing worse than making a budget that’s too ambitious and completely unrealistic. For that reason, I think making sure it’s realistic is the most important part. You want something that you can stick to, but that will also guide you to save more and improve your finances. I suggest tracking your spending for at least a month, but if possible three months, in order to see where your money is going and where you can make some adjustments.
You’re going to want to cover all aspects of your finances in your budget, from your essential costs such as housing, food, power, and water bills. It will force you to be clear about what kind of bills and expensive you have as well, such as car repayments, mortgage repayments, credit car bills and so forth. Being really clear about how big your debt is, and how much it costs you monthly to keep in top of it can force your spending into perspective.
Saving money will allow you to achieve your financial goals faster, to have a little more financial cushion, and to pay off debt faster. While money is such a personal topic, it’s something that impacts us all. The more money you have saved, the more options you’ll have for yourself and your family. During these uncertain times, having some extra money in the savings account can make a world of difference to your security and anxiety. Hopefully these tips give you some ideas of how you can do that quickly this year.
Let me know in the comments what you’re planning to do to transform your savings in 2021 – I’d love to hear your plans!