It can take a lifetime to build the best budgeting habits. That said, it can take 5 minutes (or less) to trim a chunk of spending temptation from your life.
These super easy tactics can help you save money fast while helping to instill financial discipline. Plus, the money you save can go straight toward a savings goal, like an emergency fund, or your retirement account.
Get out your stopwatch. It’s time to start budget-hacking:
Make a monthly “I want” list
This is a list of things of non-essential things you want to buy in the next month. It could be a new winter coat, a teapot, or new headphones for the gym. Every time you want to buy something, add it to the list. This can prevent you from impulse buying things that you think you want at the moment. Also, if the list grows, you can bump certain purchases into the next month in order to keep your budget intact.
Time to make list: 5 min.
Delete shopping apps
Shopping apps make it so easy to pick up your phone, browse and buy out of boredom. Did you really need that new pair of shoes, piece of camping gear, or newfangled household appliance? Stick to your aforementioned list for things you want to buy, and don’t let the lure of easy to use apps sabotage your budget. Once you kick the rush of instant gratification, you’ll feel free from the shopping shackles of your phone.
Time to delete apps: 1 min.
Avoid (most) sales
This may seem crazy to you. Don’t sales help you save money? Well, yes and no. If you were looking for a warm winter coat that you really need and you find one on sale, then yes, great! But if you’re walking by a store window and see something super cute that’s on sale…well, think of your budget and don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re saving money. Remember spending $50 on a $75 shirt is still spending $50 that you weren’t going to spend in the first place.
Time to keep walking: 30 seconds.
Disconnect credit cards from food delivery apps
When you keep a credit card on file, it’s just too easy to order that pizza or burrito. If you have to manually enter your credit card number each time you want to order a lettuce chicken wrap, then you might as well save some money and lettuce-wrap the chicken yourself.
Time to disconnect credit cards: 2 min
When you’re swiping all day, it can be tough to keep track of how much you’ve spent over the course of the week. Carrying cash can help you see where it all goes, and how fast you spent it. Psychologically, it feels worse to part with cold hard cash than it does to swipe a credit card because we actually see the money disappearing from our wallets. Carrying cash for non-essentials is a great way to crack the whip on your budget.
Time at ATM to withdraw cash: 2 min.
Get Stash and turn on Auto-Stash
You can program how much money you want to save toward your investments, including retirement. You choose how much you want to save and how often. The money moves seamlessly from your checking account to Stash so you can invest on a set schedule, no sweat required.
The time it takes to turn on Auto-Stash: 10 seconds.
“Nice work, Stasher. Way to make time for this week’s challenge. You just earned yourself 10 points. Check back next week to score more points and knowledge.”