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Money Saving Tips September 21, 2010

Filed under: Saving Tips — Alexandria @ 2:08 pm

In between the great coupons, and cost savings that are happening now, I want to make sure that you all are informed with some good habits and information on saving money. To be a saver you must develop habits and an open mind about things. So here are some tips from a good website

How to Develop the Habit of Spending Less Than You Make
If I could write just one thing about achieving financial freedom, it would be this–spend less than you make. Like all habits that lead to financial freedom, spending less than you make is simple to understand, but hard to follow. For some reason, we always want more. At times in my life I’ve made very little, and other times I’ve made a lot, but at all times I’ve wanted just a wee bit more. I find it just as difficult to live below my means today as I did 15 years ago making about one-third of what I make today. The problem isn’t about how much we make. We are the problem. And this is critical to understand because until you identify the problem, you can’t fix it. If you think the problem is your income, you’ll spend your energy trying to make more money. While there is obviously nothing wrong with making more money, I speak from experience when I say that making more money will not make spending less than you make any easier. So what will?

Before I attempt to answer that question, a word of caution. Spending less than you make is the single most important financial habit to develop. And as fate would have, it is also the hardest. Consistently living below your means is the hardest thing to do in the world of personal finance. As they say, if it were easy, everybody would do it. However, like any habit, once you start spending less than you make consistently, it does get easier. And with some determination, you can do it. So here are some tips to develop the habit of spending less than you make:

  • Distinguish between your wants and your needs: Let’s make this simple. Basic food, shelter and clothing represent your needs; everything else is a want. We’ve convinced ourselves that two cars, cable TV and eating out three times a week are, if not strictly speaking a need, essential to our way of living. They certainly have become standard for many in America. So has spending more than we make. I told you this wasn’t easy. To really distinguish between wants and needs, take a look at My Doomsday Fund. Imagining what you’d do in a real sustained financial crisis will help sort out the needs from the wants.
  • Understand what truly brings meaning to your life: When I was a teenager, my family didn’t have much money (you can read about my childhoodhere). And at one point our TV broke, and my parents couldn’t afford to get it fixed or replace it. Oh the misery. I literally went through withdraw systems for a week. I didn’t know what to do with myself. But after that first week without a TV, I didn’t miss it at all. I spent more time reading or outside and went to bed earlier. I ate less junk food, too. What I thought was so important in my life turned out not to be that important after all. We went a year without a TV and why we eventually replaced it I’ll never know. Living below your means is not just about distinguishing between wants and needs. It’s also about distinguishing between wants that really bring us fulfillment, and those that don’t. Know the difference and you’ll spend less money.

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