Although it’s important to be smart with money, it’s also important to treat yourself from time to time. But if you’re cash strapped, saving up for a fun gift may seem out of reach. Maybe you’ve always wanted to go on a fabulous cruise or purchase a large screen television. Because these are high-ticketed items, it can take awhile to save for these purchases. And if unable to reach your goal, you might get discouraged.
Fortunately, there is a better way to save. Rather than think big, think of inexpensive items you can save for today. It’s much easier to save $500 than $1,000 or more. And if you meet a small savings goal, this can encourage you to reach bigger goals in the future.
What are some fun things you can plan for in the future?
1. Plan a weekend getaway: Maybe your budget doesn’t allow an elaborate or fancy trip. This doesn’t mean that you’re stuck at home. Check into local cities or popular tourist spots within driving distance of your home. Perhaps you can plan a weekend in New York City, Niagara Falls, the Grand Canyon or Miami. Compare hotel rates and browse attractions to determine how much you’ll need to save. There’s the cost of your fuel, hotel, food and entertainment – but you can easily complete a trip for $500 or less. To make the trip extra special, consider unique activities. For example, if you’re visiting Washington, DC, you might pickup Washington Wizards tickets.
2. Update your electronics. Are you behind on technology, but want to join the rest of the world in the 21st century? Cellphones and computer tablets are constantly changing. And if you update your phone every 10 years, you might miss out on useful features. The cost of tablets and cellphones can be a major turnoff, yet a motivating factor to save your cash.
3. Check out designer labels. The average person can’t afford to spend thousands on designer clothes, purses, sunglasses or other accessories. But if you’ve always wanted a particular designer item, why not treat yourself? There are plenty of high-end products priced under $500, and if you start saving your money, you can have your wish list item in a matter of months.
Tips to Save Your Money
Of course, saving money is easier said than done. You might think, “how can I save when I don’t have extra money?” A common concern, but there are tips to help you spend less and put cash away.
- Brown bag your lunch: Sure, it’s easier and more fun to join coworkers for lunch. But if you spend $7 a day on lunch, that’s $35 a week. Bring your own lunch and you can save $500 in about three and a half months.
- Reduce grocery bill. Food is a huge expense, but simple tricks can knock several dollars off your grocery trips. Use coupons, take advantage of saving programs offered by the store, inquire about double coupon days and give generic brands a try.
- Pick up a little extra work. Whether you’re babysitting on the weekends or asking your boss for additional hours, the money earned can help you meet your savings goals. Earn an extra $75 a week and you’ll save $500 in about seven weeks – or less than two months.
Saving doesn’t come natural for some people. Getting into a habit not only increases your personal wealth, but teaches the importance of waiting and then rewarding yourself for hard work. Think of a fun gift that you’ll like to give yourself or someone else in the near future, and make this gift your motivation for saving your cash.
Image credit: 401(K) 2013