By Cameron Huddleston
There is a good chance you have at some point in your life resolved to kick a bad money habit. Maybe it’s been shopping when you are bored, making impulse purchases or even trying to time the market.
Instead of taking the negative approach of trying to eliminate a behavior, try to make a positive change by adopting a good money habit. That’s what these money experts did. Here are five money-saving tips they have incorporated to spend less, take control of their finances and save thousands of dollars.
PUT PURCHASES IN PERSPECTIVE
Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, the creator of the Making Sense of Cents blog, asks herself before making a purchase how long she would have to work in order to pay for it.
“Thinking about a car, a house or even small purchases such as clothing this way can really make you debate how badly you need an item,” she said. “This has helped me save thousands of dollars.”
A similar approach is to ask yourself whether a purchase will take you closer to or away from your goals, and whether it’s the best value for your money. “This question-habit eliminates any need for budgeting or self-discipline by replacing it with awareness that occurs at the point of spending,” said Todd Tresidder, a financial coach at FinancialMentor.com. “Your spending will drop and your savings will increase automatically without any sense of deprivation or scarcity.”
PAY YOURSELF FIRST
To save money, you have to make it a priority to pay yourself first, said Barry Choi of the Money We Have blog. Getting into this habit is “incredibly easy if you simply set up automatic withdrawals and sync them with your pay cycle,” he said. “This way, your money will go right into your savings account without you even noticing it’s gone.”
BROWN-BAG YOUR LUNCH
When Grayson Bell of Debt Roundup was knee-deep in debt, he stopped eating out at work and started bringing lunch from home every day _ something he still does now because it’s become a habit. Bell calculated that he saved about $125 a month by brown-bagging his lunch, and he put that money toward his debt, which is now paid off.
Walking is a great way to get some exercise and save money. This is a frugal living habit of Amanda Abella, the author of “Make Money Your Honey.” She’s never owned a car.
“I learned at an early age how to get around walking or with public transit in a city, and it saves me a ton of money,” she said. According to AAA, the annual cost of owning and operating a vehicle is $8,698. So walking rather than driving can save you thousands.
If walking to work isn’t an option, you still can save money on transportation by carpooling. Esther Kim, who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, joined a carpool with her colleagues at ForUsAll, which offers 401(k) plans for small companies. With everyone pitching in for gas and parking, carpooling is cheaper than public transportation, Kim said.
Cameron Huddleston writes for GOBankingRates.com, a leading portal for personal finance news and features, offering visitors the latest information on everything from interest rates to strategies on saving money, managing a budget and getting out of debt.