How to Save Money Without Being Overly Frugal

As life gets more expensive every year, it also gets harder to save money. Sometimes you feel bad when you save a lot.

Most of us just want to spend freely. We don’t want to think about money too much because it’s draining. We already face money problems at every corner. 

  • Want to go on a vacation?
  • Move to another city?
  • Start a new hobby?
  • Get married?

You’ll need money for those things.

The other day I was looking at racing bicycles. I like the idea of cycling more in addition to my running. I looked at the bike and the gear needed. It would set me back about $3000 for a good bike. I’m not that passionate about cycling.

But that doesn’t mean we should stop doing new or fun things just because they cost money. Instead, you can spend on things that you really want. And then save wisely with these tips.

Money-Saving Tips to Save Your First $1,000 (or more)

Look, we all know we need an emergency fund. And the ideal emergency fund would be enough to cover at least 6 months of expenses (or a year, if you want to be more secure).

But if you go into saving thinking;

“I’m going to save $10K in a few months…”

You’re more likely to get discouraged. Saving is a habit. And just like any habit, we can make it stick by keeping it as easy as possible.

So start with a smaller, easier goal. If you don’t have money saved, aim to save $1K. Even if you’re in debt, you can save a thousand bucks gradually. Once your finances start getting better, you can increase that amount.

Here are some easy, practical steps to save money without being too cheap.

Create a concrete saving goal

See why I placed a specific amount above? Because we can lose sight of our savings when we don’t have a concrete goal.

If you’re earning a bit more, then I encourage you to try saving more than just a thousand bucks. But again, keep it easy and sustainable.

It’s easy to fail at saving when you don’t have a strong, “why.” Depending on where you are on your finances, your savings goals could be:

  • Create a backup fund — This is ideal for people who are drowning in debt or are living paycheck to paycheck. The $1K-emergency fund would be a good fit. You can also check out this guide on how to get out of debt more efficiently.
  • Give yourself peace of mind — When you can afford to save a higher percentage of your income, you can focus on giving yourself peace of mind. So if you suddenly lose your job or have a large emergency expense, you don’t have to rely on getting into debt to survive.

Identify your important non-essentials and cut out the rest

After food, shelter, and clothing — after all your essentials — what are the top 3 things that you really need?

People talk about cutting lattes and stuff. But if a latte every morning is what keeps you functioning properly during the day, then it doesn’t make sense for you to remove them.

Instead, cut out all the crap you don’t really need or don’t significantly improve your life. This means taking out subscriptions you don’t need, memberships you’re not using, or buying that latest tech fad you saw on social media.

And avoid boredom shopping. I’ve seen too many people who scroll through shopping apps out of boredom. That’s a quick way to kill your savings.

Stick to the 48-hour rule when you want to buy something

Sometimes you buy something out of an impulse. That can happen every now and then. But when that becomes a habit, you won’t be able to save as much as you can.

Web shops, malls, and any place that sells anything are designed specifically to grab your money as soon as possible.

So how do you prevent impulse buying? Two solutions:

  • Delay any unplanned purchase for 48 hours — This gives you time to think things over and see if you still really need it.
  • Put your expense money in one account and save the rest — My savings are in a different account from the one I use for daily expenses. So when there’s something I need to buy that costs more than a bag of groceries, I have to take the hassle of wiring money from my savings account to my checking account.

When you consistently practice the two above tips, you’ll usually find yourself saying screw it, not worth the trouble. That’ll keep you from buying useless stuff.

Keep it easy

A recent survey found that more than half of Americans can’t afford a $1,000 emergency.

Let’s face it. That’s not a good position to be in—emotionally and financially. You need to have some money saved up. So if you don’t feel comfortbale with the amount of money you’ve saved, step it up.

But also remember that you don’t want to over-do it.

It’s easy to read this article and get all motivated to save X amount by X time and even cut all costs. But saving is like dieting. You don’t want to deprive yourself too much that you end up crashing a few weeks or months later.

The key to saving money without being too cheap is to make the process easy and most importantly: Sustainable.

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