How to start saving money

Sometimes, it’s hard to know just where to begin. Money flies out the door as fast as you’ve got it, and the expenses are what they are, so even knowing where to start is difficult. My comfort zone is in lists. If I make a list when I feel out of control, I can see the action items, even if they are vague, and I at least have a place to start. If you feel like your expenses are out of control, and you don’t know where to begin to start saving money, try making these lists first and the action you need to take will start to become clear.

It may not be possible to tackle them all at once, but if you don’t know where to begin, you’ll never get started. If you feel better having a printed list, get a mini-notepad that fits in your purse with a pen that can clip to it (or nest in the spirals), if you prefer to use your smartphone or computer then start with a digital list.

Carry that notebook (or phone) around with you during the day and list:

  1. STUFF YOU USE DAILY – nothing is too trivial or cheap to note. Example – hand soap, toilet paper, diapers, shampoo, trash bags.
  2. ITEMS YOU WANT TO STOCKPILE – things you know you can store and will need in a pinch. Example – socks, dry rice, canned soup, Clorox.
  3. BUDGET BUSTERS – things you want, things you need, things you will absolutely buy, but know they are expensive. Example – kids cereal, gasoline, makeup, allergy medicine.

The length of the list might seem daunting at first, but the next step is to then identify what you are actually spending on these items. We’ll cover that in another lesson, but for now, just at least start with your list. It will keep you mindful and thinking, and once you start thinking, you’ll start to feel more in control, and you’ll be making that first step. Start simple.

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