One of the easiest ways to ease the burden on your finances is to learn how to spend less and save your money. Many of the money saving tips sites often talk about looking for better deals, negotiating, buying in bulk and so on but one of the easiest ways to save your money is just to spend less money!
A simple challenge is to see how long you can go without buying anything. This does not mean do not shop for food – you will eventually have to buy groceries – although less shopping trips can mean less fuel costs.
This approach can be one of the easiest ways to save your money with very little thought on your part. If your focus is on not spending money your attitude towards shopping will shift. I was horrified to listen to a British comedian talking about shopping being a favourite British hobby. Consuming has become a pastime, rather than a necessity. We think about using rather than creating. This is not sustainable on many levels.
The next step is to question the need before buying. Do you really need the item? Could you make do with something else, possibly adapting it or finding a creative solution to the problem? If you are replacing something is there a way to make a good repair?
If you find that you do need to buy things consider price and quality. There has been a tendency over the last few years to buy quantity rather than quality, leading to a throwaway and replace culture. Apart from the sustainability issues this also leads to waste management issues and potential clutter for you. Look for goods that will last, possibly paying a little more up front. Learn to recognise quality, research before you buy.
Spending less does not mean that you have to compromise your values. Within our society I doubt many of us could count ourselves completely innocent of being wasteful. The amount saved in wasteful behaviour will allow you to buy with a clear conscience. This will also help you to value it more as you will feel good about yourself.
Buying less often will make you appreciate new purchases more. When consuming is a regular habit the pleasure in getting something new is diminished, leading to the desire to buy even more.
The recession has forced many to rethink their buying habits out of necessity. Personally I believe this is a good thing for us all, even if the retail trade has to take a hit. By being more conscientous of how much you buy, making it last and valuing it more you will easily see how to spend less and save your money.