For most, the proposition of saving money can be somewhat daunting. You might be trying to buy a new car or pay for a vacation, causing you to cut back on spending in other areas.
Saving money for the long term can be even more difficult. At least with short-term saving, there is some sort of tangible result at the end that lets you know how successful you were. Long-term saving is a bit more open-ended.
Still, there are many things you can do and habits you can form to save money not just for a month or two from now, but years from now. Some even involve spending a bit of money upfront. Here are five quick tips to get you going.
- Invest in Quality
Spending more money now on high-quality items might seem counterproductive to saving money, but the opposite is true.
One example where this will help is buying new furniture. It may be tempting to purchase a new sofa or table at a budget-friendly retailer. However, it makes more sense to spend a bit extra now for items that will last you much longer and save you money down the road.
The same could be said of clothing. Try to invest in nicer items that will last much longer than their less-expensive counterparts.
- Become Frugal
Let’s be honest — calling yourself frugal seems like a polite way of calling yourself cheap. In reality, it’s simply the smarter way to be cheap.
There are many little things you can do to be frugal and save money over time. One is to be mindful of your utility bills. Opt for cold rinses in washing machine cycles rather than using hot water, and let your dishes air dry rather than using your dishwasher’s heated dry function.
Similarly, turn off your heating or cooling systems when the weather is nice. Make use of your windows and curtains or blinds to help control your home’s climate without paying for heat or air conditioning.
- Drive More Efficiently
One of the best habits to form that will save you money for the rest of your life is to gain better gas mileage by driving more efficiently.
For one, slow down on the freeway. There is evidence that gas mileage can fall by as much as 15 percent when you’re driving at or below 65 mph than when you’re going faster.
Also, take your tires into consideration. You could be costing yourself money if your tire pressure isn’t at the correct level. You also may want to look into investing in a set of low rolling resistance tires, which can also improve gas mileage.
- Cancel Unused Subscriptions
It’s a savvy marketing tactic that has probably cost you some cash over the years — getting you to sign up for a free trial, only to charge you a monthly subscription fee after the trial runs its course.
One simple way to avoid this is to set a calendar reminder on your phone for when a free trial is over.
You could also use Trim to save money by searching through and cancelling your old subscriptions.
- Become Energy-Efficient
This is another tip that’s a good habit to get into for the long term — start buying more efficient lightbulbs.
The U.S. Department of Energy says the average household spends about 5 percent of its energy budget on lighting. Simply replacing your home’s five most-used light fixtures with Energy Star bulbs could save you up to $75 per year.
That can add up even more quickly if you apply the same logic to all the lights in your home.
When it comes to saving money for the short term, it’s often about temporarily cutting back in certain areas so you can meet your goals. Saving for the long term, however, means forming new habits that will help you become more cost-efficient for the rest of your life.