Saving Money and More: How to Make It to Your Next Payday

inserting coins in piggy bank

Ask around your office and you're likely to find that less than one in every five of your coworkers feel like they make enough money. Once you make enough money and more starts to come in, your spending always finds a way to meet that new figure. If you're struggling to get from payday to payday, you need to try some new tactics.

Here are 7 tricks to ensure you're always comfortable from one payday to the next.

1. Turn Off The Lights

You've been hearing this since you were a kid. You know you need to change the thermostat when you leave, turn out the lights when you're not in a room, and turn off the tv when you're not watching. But have you grown lazy in your conservation habits and become someone wasting energy?

While electrically powered manufacturing tools and automobiles are better than fossil fuels, we still need to get electricity from somewhere. While it might be removed through a few layers, your overuse of electricity inevitably impacts the planet by using fossil fuels. With the cost of fuel sources going up, it costs more each day to waste a few minutes of electricity.

Now try to add up all of the wasted electricity that happens in your home. Opening the door while the A/C is on, leaving for the weekend with a light on, or even keeping your router plugged in can be wasteful.

If you really want to cut back, unplug everything but your refrigerator while you're away for the weekend. If you only use your desktop during the weekend, turn it off completely until you need it. cutting back here and there can save you hundreds a year.

2. Pack a Lunch

What's lunch cost you near your job every day--maybe $8 or maybe $20? While it might not seem like a whole lot each time, you could be spending $50-100 a week just on your midday meals. This adds up quickly over the course of a year, and if you're serious about saving, you could make a change.

Packing a lunch would allow you to start putting that cash aside. With the amount of money you spend on lunch alone, you could take a couple of fun vacations. If money is tight, you could simply put that money into paying off credit card bills or other loans.

Packing a lunch also allows you to free up time during your day. An increasing number of workers are taking their lunches at their desks so that they can leave 30-60 minutes earlier each day. While this might not be healthy to do every single day, it can be helpful to free time up a few times a week.

Rather than having to search for a place to have lunch, wait in long lines, and then rush to eat, you can eat at your own pace at your desk, maintaining your workflow.

3. Start a Jar

One of the best ways to start saving is to start visualizing the amount of money you're saving each week. Starting a jar that you drop $10 in when you skip lunch or $20 in when you stay home to watch a movie instead of going out can help you see your savings. When you can see how much you're saving, you'll have a better idea of how well you're doing.

Seeing that jar grow every day is going to feel good and the more you contribute to it, the more motivated you'll be to keep it growing. When you fill up one jar, see if you can find a larger jar. Keep your savings growing until you hit a cap and then drop it in your bank account.

Start a new jar right away and keep that good feeling going for the year to come. Once you keep this habit up for a few months, it's going to be hard to stop. If you need to take a loan, you can take one from yourself rather than from a bank.

However, if you need a quick infusion of cash, take the time to discover more about loans, like auto title loans, to get the money you need when you need it.

4. Leave Your Credit Card At Home

The best way to keep yourself from spending money with your credit card is to just leave the things at home. If you have your credit card on you when you head out the door, it's all too easy to start spending with it.

Once you start putting too many everyday things like coffee, groceries, and gas on your credit card, you're overusing it. While credit card companies try to incentivize you to use it for those everyday things, that's not what a card is for. Credit cards are for more serious spending and when you use it too normally, you're going to overuse it.

It's easy for spending to feel abstract when you're using a credit card. That money has no direct impact on what's in your bank account today. However, with the kinds of fees that you could be paying, it's probably not worthwhile.

Think about how hard you work to find the best deals or pay the lowest prices for things at the grocery store or for filling your tank. When you pull out your credit card to pay for these things, you're saying, "I don't mind potentially paying 15%-20% more".

That's not true to who you are at all, so leave your card at home for emergencies or for major purchases, like computers and plane tickets.

5. Plan Your Outings

Rather than leaving your house on the weekend with no plan in mind, you need to plan and budget your free time. It might seem a little less fun to work on a schedule, but you'll find that you're able to do more of the things you want to do.

When you plan your weekend, you can budget how much you're going to spend. Budgeting allows you to figure out how much you can save. Saving more money means that your next trip has everything that you're looking for.

When you're on vacation, you shouldn't be looking at prices and thinking about how much everything costs. Save that for your weekends and your days off. That way you'll still have fun on weekends, but you'll be able to have money during the week.

Ultimately, you can't make it from one payday to the next if you start every Monday with empty pockets. Set yourself up for a good week by spending better during your weekends.

6. Walk, Bike, Run

During the week, you're going to have to spend money on transportation. Transportation costs can add up, especially if you have a car or have to buy a train pass. Many commuters spend a hundred dollars or more every week just to get to work and back.

Depending on how far you live from your office, consider your alternatives. Rather than having to stretch your dollars, you could walk to your office if it's just a mile or two away.

Think about turning your commute to work into a workout by running. Taking the time to run to work in the morning and running back at night will get you into better shape. When you're in better shape you might eat less and have fun just being outside.

For commutes that are in the 10-mile range, consider biking. So long as there's adequate storage at your office for your bike, biking to work is a smart way to get in shape and get to work on time.

When you bike to work, you get to brag to your coworkers about avoiding traffic and you'll impress your partner by getting into better shape.

7. Tell Your Friends You're Saving

If you're struggling to save and you know your friends are too, talk to them about your savings plan. You could make saving a part of your friendship by making it competitive.

If you think you can out-thrift your closest friends, you can brag that you saved $100 this past weekend. Share your tricks for saving and they'll be sure to share their own. Since you're trying to outdo one another, your plans will also be thriftier.

Take a look at free events happening in your region. Look out for free movies in the park, festivals, and street fairs. Go to them with your friends and you'll find that you've filled a whole day with adventure without opening your wallet once.

Your friends who are in the same boat need to brainstorm as well. Encourage them to invite you to go for a hike or other activities you suspect they enjoy and won't cost you any money.

Think About Money and More Ways to Save

When you're taking the time to consider how you spend money and more ways to make it to payday, you're going to have to make serious concessions. It takes time to change your spending habits. Set reasonable goals that you can meet from week to week and you'll never worry about having enough money again.

For more tips on how to save money this week and this year, check out this guide.

 

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