Daily routines. Daily habits. We all have them. These routines and habits shape how we live our lives. Are we living our lives in a manner that makes us happy? Hopefully. If not, is our quality of life really where we want it to be? If it isn’t, perhaps taking a closer look at the routines and habits we have created for ourselves would do us some good. It only makes sense then that another good question to ask ourselves is this: What are my priorities? Do I value being in a strong financial position at the end of the day? Or do I feel comfortable living in the moment? The answer to these questions could certainly be the same. But if you value living “in the moment” you are most likely spending your cash inefficiently. To be clear, there is absolutely nothing wrong living your life in the moment. Many a great experience has happened while living in the moment. Here are several ways that one can live their lives both in the moment,without changing it, and save cash to be in a stronger financial position each and every day.
1.Cut out the Caffeine
Coffee, energy drinks, and soda can cost you a small fortune. Not literally a fortune today but perhaps a fortune years from now. Let’s look at the numbers and as you can see, it is very evident that that large cup of coffee from your favorite coffee shop is costing you way too much. That cup will cost you anywhere between $3.00 to $6.00 a day. On average, each day, by cutting out coffee, one can create $4.50 in cash savings. Cuttng out an energy drink is an additional $2.50. A can of soda from your friendly vending machine at work will cost you another $1 or so. Assuming you consume all three caffeine sources you are spending approximately $8 a day. It may not seem like a lot but again, let’s look at the numbers. In a month, $160 is yours in cash to manage any way you would like. That is almost $200 dollars you may be able to earn interest on by investing in a savings account, individual retirement account, or in the stock market.
2. Cash- Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Simply set a small amount of money aside each week. In our weekly lives, chances are we follow the same routines and exhibit the same habits we do in our daily lives. In this case pick a day each week and put $20 in a bank account or under your matress. Just get it out of your sight and out of your mind. Forget about it for now. Or, cut a check and deposit it in your 401k or IRA. The point is, putting $20 away each week for most people is an amount of money that most can afford to do without. Most importantly, you are creating a habit. Maybe a new habit to replace an old one that doesn’t allow you to manage your money at all.
3.Discount Your Car
No, don’t take your car for granted. That’s not what I mean. The amount of money we pay each month on car payments is astronomical! Besides housing, the most amount of money that you will pay each month to bills are payments on automobiles. This is a habit you can break. Ideally, one or two of your cars should not even have a payment. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world so, short of paying off your current car loan(s), the next best alternative is lowering the payments you already have. For example, trading in one or more of your autos that you have a monthly $500 payment on in return for a vehicle that is $250 per month will free up a lot of cash. Now, if living in the moment is extremely important to you and driving around town in a Honda as opposed to a Acura is a must, breaking this habit won’t work for you. Just remember though, saving and managing $3,000 a year is a productive cash saving habit you will not be creating. And remember, that is just one automobile.
Routines and habits can be very healthy for a person’s well-being. By doing the same things over and over each day, most people become content with their lives. When most of us lay down at night, however, can the same thing be said about our happiness? Have we lived in the moment too long or have we set a small time during each day to save money and in order to create financial peace of mind? In writing this I have come to a stark realization. In offering you free cash management advice I may have misnamed the title of this article. It may be contradictory. By saving money and creating new habits, YOU HAVE CHANGED YOUR LIFE…. FOR THE BETTER!