Five Saving Money Habits To Never be Broke Again

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We live in a society that emphasizes ‘having‘, instead of ‘experiencing‘ and ‘saving‘. Of course, there are a gazillion of personal finance blogs, books and resources to teach us better saving money routines, but most of the media outlets are still centered on promoting spending like there’s no tomorrow.

It’s no wonder that many of the adults today live paycheck to paycheck and never get out of the ‘broke‘ status.

Here are few tips that would allow you to get a better lifestyle and still not ignore your saving money goals:

1. Ignore what the ‘world’ says

For years my folks were pretty displeased to see that I don’t dress ‘well’ (or at least what some would call it) to show that I’m actually doing well financially. Compared to most of my neighbors, I was earning way more, was able to travel a lot, run my own business etc.

Most of these people were shocked to find out that I was able to spend 18 months in NYC or that I actually run a small home based business. They never thought I ‘account’ to anything, since I always dress casually, while most of them are trying to show their status (whatever that is) with expensive clothing and some jewelry.

Years ago I cared about what the others would think (reason why I chose to get in debt for a new car since most of my colleagues had a similar car loan – so, for 4 years, I paid for my mistake), but not anymore.

My friends know WHO I am and love me for this, just as I never cared if they come from money or not (I actually come from a poor family myself). My web design clients NEVER cared about how I look or how I dress. They care about my services, my prices and the results I can provide.

Stop caring about your ‘image‘. People who judge you by the clothes you wear or the car you drive don’t matter. Your true friends love you the same, whether you are in rags or gold. Of  course, this doesn’t mean you should be a slob or appear unprofessionally dressed at work, but clothing, jewelry or any other ‘status’ items shouldn’t be your priority.

Buy what YOU need, not what you think others will admire and this will put your saving money in overdrive.

2. Focus on what matters most

One of the best things I learn from all the personal finance materials I read so far is that most of us can still afford to ‘splurge’ on what really makes us happy and save money on the rest. Sure, if you spend too much on other ‘wants’, you’ll always be broke, but a good focus helps a lot.

Let me explain. In our family our baby daughter is clearly our priority. We have spent money for her and never looked back. We don’t go crazy spending, but we do purchase the best diapers for her, quality ingredients for her food and quality clothing (not always expensive, since we don’t care about the brand as much as we care about the material and craftsmanship).

Another thing that really matters to us is traveling. We LOVE to travel and consider this to be one of the best things we can offer to our daughter. As you can guess our travel budget is probably one of the biggest every year, but it’s something we truly value.

Since we’re not millionaires, it means we need to ‘cut back’ on something else: clothing (we purchase what we need and wear our clothes for more than 2 months), gadgets (while we have everything we need, we get new ones only when the previous ones break down), car (we drive ours until it’s no longer feasible to repair – usually at least 10 years) etc.

If you find out what really makes you happy, this allows you to get a better lifestyle and save more money.

3. Pay yourself first

Probably the best saving money tip: set aside money for your savings BEFORE you start spending on anything else. We’ve been doing it for a while and it works, not to mention that my mother-in-law is a master at applying this strategy. With a pretty small pension she’s been able to save quite some bit all these years.

4. Don’t consider debt to be ‘normal’

Of course normal today is different from what it looked like years ago, but this still doesn’t mean you should follow the ‘herd’. There are cases when you cannot do anything without debt (buying a home comes to mind), but you should be focused on paying off your debt and keep away from it.

Always having credit card debt, always finding excuses for this and not trying to mend your spending habits will keep you broke. If you would like to have more money at the end of the month and not have to rely on each paycheck to make it, start changing your MINDSET.

While being in debt is not the end of the world, don’t find excuses and don’t celebrate it. Get into debt only for something that really matters (again, the mortgage example comes to mind), try to pay everything else without loans.

5. Don’t shop to feel better

Retail stores are doing a great job with trying to make use feel welcome. From nice music, to bright lights and helpful sellers, there’s nothing they won’t do to help us get into a better mood and get our money. Don’t shop when you are feeling sad, don’t shop tired or hungry.

If you face personal hardships (as most of us do), try to unwind in other ways that by sliding your credit card. Talk to a good friend, go to a therapist, work out, play with your kids, indulge with a box of chocolates, but don’t go shopping.

What other tips would you share to help us all with our saving money goals?

16 COMMENTS

  1. I see too many people that are either “car poor” or “house poor.” You don’t have to be either.

    You don’t need a new flashy car to be worthwhile. And you don’t need a “MacMansion” to be happy. My wife and I drive vehicles that are 17 and 19 years old, and live in a more-than-ample 1800-square-foot house located in a Reasonable Cost of Living Area. And those 2 factors have helped tremendously to make us be financially independent, leave us plenty of spare money, and make us feel rich.

    So… to add to your 5 points:

    (6) Don’t chain yourself to a new-car payment

    (7) Don’t buy more house than you need.
    Retired To Win recently posted…Why Retiring Earlier Mattered to MeMy Profile

    • I know many people who are in DEEP troubles because of their very expensive cars and houses. My car is a ‘budget’ one so to say, I realized even back then that a high-maintenance car will eat up my budget even more. Always better to settle for something less ‘flashy’ and use the money for things that really matter to you and your family.
      dojo recently posted…WordPress Design: Cleaning Service BusinessMy Profile

  2. Learning to save money takes time (in my experience anyway). You need to build up those savings muscles just like you would when working out. You wouldn’t even think about going to bench press 200lbs your first time at the gym and budgeting is no different. Going from being a spendthrift to a strict budget is going to hurt and most likely you’ll quit. The best thing to do is make it a long term goal and take it one step at a time. That’s what worked for me 🙂
    Thomas @ i need money ASAP! recently posted…Negotiating Your Bill PaymentsMy Profile

  3. yes, yes, yes. I totally agree with all of your tips. Pay yourself first is so important. I didn’t really catch on to this when I first started working but luckily I figured that out before too long. I am SO with you on going the casual clothes route and not wasting money on dressing a certain way or showing off with designer things. I couldn’t care less about luxury goods lol. 🙂
    Untemplater recently posted…Pros And Cons Of Freelancing And Being An Independent ContractorMy Profile

    • I just realized that, after I give to charity the clothes that I can no longer wear (not look OK, since I’m almost 40 and not a teen anymore), I’ll be left with less than a suitcase of clothing. Which is not that bad after all, I can purchase more, if needed. The good thing is that, the money I don’t spend on this, can be directed towards a nice vacation or to my daughter’s account.
      dojo recently posted…XenForo Design: University ForumsMy Profile

  4. I got sooo tired of keeping up with appearances a long time ago! Sure I do love to dress nicely, but I never buy clothes & shoes that cost more than I can afford, just to give an example. Also, I must be the only weirdo on the planet who doesn’t own an expensive tablet… I just don’t see the use for one, I swear! And so on and so forth. Good tips, btw 🙂

  5. I do this one little thing, that usually keeps me from overspending, whenever I’m tempted to buy an item I don’t usually buy (like, an expensive piece of clothing or, say, kitchenware that seems useful but maybe isn’t), I try to imagine how many hours of work I have to put in to earn that kind of money. If it’s too many, then clearly that item is way to expensive for me to afford!

    I cannot, for the life of me, remember where I read about this trick to help save money, but the idea is in my case, it works like a charm!

  6. Keeping outward apperances will always cost you. Sometimes it might be financial, other times it might be emotional. When you are loved and liked for who you are, how much of an incentive do you have to keep up a fancy apperance? Keeping your focus on what matters most helps to keep out distractions. Just because a new version of that I phone was released, doesn’t mean you go rushing to get one. And the best part? Apple will continue to make new versions of I phones even year so you will either become exhausted from constantly rushing to get the next version, or you’ll run out of money. Saving money on the side,especially for retirement, is a good one. I don’t plan on relying on some type of pension, especially when the government can become financially unstable and cash flow becomes a problem.

  7. These 5 tips are actually pretty amazing! I mean it!

    1. I drive a second second-hand car (my first car was also a used one).
    2. I always focus on my priorities (health and hobbies mostly). Don’t care much for splurging on useless stuff.
    3. and 4. I always try to save money, which is why I was able to buy my car with cash (yey for me! no debt! woohoo!)
    5. Whenever I shop, I have a list! Learned my lesson a while back, never shop hungry and never shop when sad!

  8. I often associate the keeping up with the Joneses with low self esteem. I can understand every person has their own standards, but overspending just to create a false image of yourself is not worth it! Save your money for rainy days, now that’s doing the responsible thing.

  9. Don’t shop to feel better… isn’t that the truth! How many times do we hear people say that they shop for fun or to de-stress? I think it’s formally called, “Retail Therapy.” Don’t get me wrong I love new gadgets…but personally I make it a point to research and learn about the product and that is where I have “fun” I never make a purchase because I feel down or I’m upset. That just doesn’t sound healthy to me at all. Debt is definitely perceived as “normal” but it shouldn’t be. As a society we need to start sharing the mentality of not spending money we don’t have or on things that we cannot afford.
    Sharon recently posted…Discount Tire to the Rescue!My Profile

  10. This article is a total dear! The first advice on NOT keeping to a projected image truly resonates with me. While I do like fancy clothes, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy them when there is an alternative at a fraction of the cost. I only become aware that I dress poorly, the first time I visited HK. It was December, and so most HK citizens then were dressed for the cool weather in their fancy boots and coats. My friend was aware of how poorly I dress up, but didn’t warn me about changing it for our vacation to HK as I’ve been vocal about dressing for comfort. Haha, the first time I felt conscious! Nevertheless, I was still glad she didn’t as I would have NO use for those fancy boots and clothes in my very sweltering HOT country.
    Having the discipline to save is truly something that needs work. I love to visit new places, sometimes in my desire to do so, I end up using my credit card for an unplanned flight purchase. While I have all the head knowledge about being responsible financially, the human desire for things sometimes get in the way for me. Discipline really is KEY.
    tabby recently posted…Philippine Stock market Performance a Day after the May 9 Presidential ElectionsMy Profile

  11. If I’m planning to buy something more expensive, I save up money until I can buy it. I see no reason why I should use credit card for it, because I’d probably end up paying more with credit card. Another positive side of saving up money for something is that you will value that item more.

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