Saving money isn’t always just about restraining yourself from unnecessary purchases and shopping around for the best price. An often-underutilized approach is to focus on making changes to your lifestyle that will incrementally make steps towards financial success.
The good news is that not only will adopting these habits put more money back into your pocket, they can also improve your overall well-being. In this post, we’ll go over seven different lifestyle changes that will save money and put you on the path to reaching your goals.
1. Eat Healthier
Do you regularly have fast food or go to restaurants for nearly every meal? While this can be a convenient and sometimes fun way to try new dishes, it can also lead to a dangerous intake of calories, fat, and other things that aren’t good for you.
To put this into context, the Journal of the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics published a study where they found that 92 percent of meals from large-chain and local restaurants have more calories than what’s recommended for the average person.
This is why a better approach when you’re eating out is to order smaller portions such as a sandwich or salad. Not only will they cost about half the price of most entrees, but they’ll also likely be lower in calories and potentially a healthier option.
You could also just skip eating out altogether and try cooking more often at home using fresh foods and greens. It’s also helpful to go grocery shopping on a full stomach so that you’ll be less tempted to buy food you don’t need or will let perish.
2. Take Up Exercise
Often when we feel the urge to impulse shop or randomly buy things online, it’s something we do because we’re bored. So instead, why not fill that time doing something productive that could improve both your physique and health?
One of the best hobbies you can take up is exercising. Several low-cost gyms charge next to nothing for 24/7 access to all the workout equipment you could ever need.
If you’d rather avoid the gym and exercise at home instead, you could do this by following along with any of the thousands of free videos available on YouTube. Even something as simple as committing to going for one walk per day will improve your health and give you something to do besides spend money.
3. Get on the Same Page with Your Spouse About Money
While you might have some idea of what you should be doing with your money, your spouse might have other priorities. This can lead to a financial tug of war that may ultimately sabotage both of what you’re hoping to accomplish.
New York Times best-selling author David Bach wrote in his book Smart Couples Finish Rich that “Dealing with financial matters is something any couple can do, but you’ve got to do the job yourselves, or it just won’t get done. If the two of you don’t make your finances a priority, they won’t be one.”
This is why it’s so important to have regular open discussions as a couple about money. Talk about your goals, but also listen to what your spouse is saying. The sooner the two of you can recognize what each other wants, the sooner you can work together on a path to get there.
4. Don’t Fall for the Illusion of Marketing
One of the reasons we spend the way we do is because marketing has gotten particularly effective over the years. When we see images of people looking happy or enjoying their best lives, we tend to think we need whatever product they’re promoting more than we actually do. This has only gotten worse with most social media posts being nearly indistinguishable from advertisements.
The people who recognize these kinds of tactics can separate reality from fantasy. Live your life the way you want to and not according to what you see on the Internet or anywhere else. If buying generic is just as good as the name-brand item, then go for it. You’ll be much happier with the money you save and the real value it’s able to bring into your life.
5. Ignore What Everyone Else Thinks
Since grade school, we’ve all wanted to be accepted by our peers. But what’s funny is that as you mature into adulthood you gain a certain perspective and realization that not everything the people you associate with is necessarily what’s best for you.
If you’ve got friends or coworkers who spend every dollar they have to own the biggest house, luxury vehicle, or any other premium good, don’t let it influence you. They may think they have to live their lives this way, but it doesn’t mean that you have to.
Your standard of living is just fine the way it is. You don’t have to impress anyone to be a person of value. You should spend your money on the things that actually mean something to you instead of trying to portray a lifestyle that no one cares you have anyways.
6. Get More Involved with Your Finances
Anyone who’s waiting for someone to come along, take them by the hand, and show them how to get rich is going to be waiting a very long time for something that’s never going to happen. To learn how to manage your money better, you’re going to want to be your own best advocate.
The good news is that thanks to the Internet, the answers to all of your questions are out there. They can be found in numerous books, blogs, YouTube videos, online courses, etc. But you’ll never realize any of this is right at your fingertips until you start making an effort to go find them.
My favorite way to do is to take it piece by piece. Focus on one topic or question per month, and then learn everything you can about it from various sources. Be sure to look at information and arguments that present multiple perspectives so that you’ll always get the most complete picture.
7. Track Your Dollars
It’s so hard to know where you can save more money until you’re in a habit of regularly reviewing your purchases. This forces you to get real with yourself and understand what you’re truly spending your money on.
Fortunately, this process can be completely automated. If you’ve got a helpful budgeting app like Buxfer, you can sync up with all of your bank and credit card accounts to consolidate the activity into one complete dashboard. You can then take this a step further by assigning tags so that your purchases will be categorized. This is a huge time-saver because it gives you one place to learn and analyze everything you need to know about your spending habits.
Click here to learn more about how Buxfer can help you find more money to save in your budget.
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