The following is a guest post from Beating Broke, as part of the 2ndYakezie Blog Swap. The topic is “What is your best day-to-day money saving tip.”
When you’re saving money and paying off debt, it’s easy to get bogged down by the bigger picture. We analyze all of our debt together, and, in effect, miss the tree for the forest. But, if we want to truly be successful at reducing our debt, and eliminating our debt, we have to overcome that problem.
In our day-to-day lives, we can’t run around focusing on the fact that we have $50,000 in total debt. We have to consciously focus on the things that we do. Every little thing. It’s the driving force behind David Bach’s “Latte Factor”. And, you’ll be hard pressed to find any good advice on debt reduction without seeing something similar.
“But, how do I focus down on something so small as a latte when I have this mountain of debt?”, you might be asking. And the answer is that it isn’t easy. It’s downright hard, in fact. It’s so very easy to overlook the mountain and say “this $5 isn’t going to make a difference in my $50,000 debt, so I can spend it on this latte.”
Here’s how you do it though. Conscientious spending. Not just on big items, but on all items. We’re all very used to analyzing big purchases. Buying a car has become a several day, and 100 questions ordeal. And, while I wouldn’t condone asking 100 questions (or taking several days) to buy a latte, I would suggest pausing long enough to think it over a little. You need to conscientiously think about each and every purchase. It doesn’t matter whether you’re buying bubble gum, coffee, or groceries. If you don’t, you’ll find yourself buying in a rut. But, if you give yourself time to briefly analyze your purchases, you’ll find yourself making smarter purchasing decisions.
Even if you still buy that latte, maybe you make it a short and spend $1 less. Or, maybe you decide just a regular old coffee will work just as well and you save $3. Buying the generic brand at the grocery store can save you quite a bit each shopping trip. And if you pair all those little choices together with a good budget, you’ll find yourself with surplus at the end of the month that can be added to your debt payments. $1 or $3 may sound like small fries, but over a month, that could add up to $100s!
I leave you with my day-to-day savings advice. Conscientiously think about each and every purchase. Take a few seconds to break out of your spending rut and see if you can find a way to save just a little bit on each purchase. Don’t do a “no-spend” month. Do a conscientious month. I think you’ll find the end result to be the same, and you won’t have had to “starve” yourself off of something all month long.