Want to Save? Tap Into Your Inner Saving Super Powers
When it comes to being Number 1 at anything — whether it’s at laser tag, table tennis, or hot dog eating contests — you’ll need to harness your natural strengths.
The same goes for saving money. If you want to be an ace at cutting down on your spending, lean in on areas in which you excel. You’ll also want to focus on your preferred methods for cutting costs. There are tons of different learning styles and personalities types, and there are many money-saving styles, too.
Here’s how to unleash your superpowers to save:
You’ve got serious haggle skills. You’re the one at a thrift market who can bring down the cost of a poster from a buck to fifty cents. Or you’re masterly at persuading your boss, by way of pie charts and reports, on why you deserve a significant raise. You’re bold, tactful, and strategic, and can talk down the price tag of essentially anything.
Focus on: Big and easy wins. Big wins mean cutting costs on significant expenses, such as housing, transportation, and food. These three major categories typically make up the lion’s share of one’s living expenses. Can you save housing by asking your landlord for a discount if you pay your rent on time?
Easy wins are expenses you can cut by making a phone call and seeing if you can lower the cost. For instance, a quick call to your internet provider to see what existing promos they have could net $10 in savings a month, which adds up to $120 a year. I make calls to my cell phone provider and internet company at least once a year to see if they’d be willing to lower my rate. Thirty minutes of phone time could equate to sizable savings.
Avoid: Cutting coupons, travel hacking, or other time-consuming ways to save. You’ll just lose interest and get frustrated.
The Deal Seeker
You get a thrill from snagging things at a discount. And you’ve got a knack for staying afloat of mega deals at your favorite stores. You might even have the happy hour menus of your favorite bars memorized. You also know all the best thrift stores in town and have the finely honed an ability to assess the value of a given purchase.
Focus on: Finding ways to optimize deals so you can save the most. For instance, how many promos and discounts can you stack to save as much as possible? If you don’t already do so, try your hand at travel hacking. You can also invest time in finding the best apps for shopping discounts or coupons, like Shopkick and Groupon.
Avoid: Buying things you don’t need. My mom, a devotee of a discount grocery chain, loves to shop recreationally. She ends up buying stuff she doesn’t need. A royal waste of money? You bet.
It’s easy to get caught up in the momentary high of a deal. Making purchases just because it’s a discount is a waste of money. Try waiting a few days before hitting the “buy” button. It might also be worthwhile to keep a calendar of when mega sales hit.
The Cost Neutralist
You devise tactics to get things for free by way of referral codes or having others pay for them. In turn, it nulls out your expenses.
Case in point: My good friend Greg came up with the brilliant idea of finding ways to get his bills and expenses to zero. He seeks ways to get his meals free, or bills covered. Greg doles out referral codes for everything from ride shares to food delivery services in exchange for credits. To date, he’s probably racked up around five hundred dollars in rideshare and food delivery service credits. Plus, he rents out two of the units in his triplex, which pays for his mortgage. Pretty rad!
Focus on: Discovering clever ways to have your bills covered, or have others go splitsies with you. Can you share a wifi network with several trusted neighbors, and ask them to divvy up the internet bill? Or ask roomies to help cover video streaming services.
To start, make a list of all your living expenses. Then, drum up ways you could apply the cost neutralist approach. Greg also recommends keeping a list of referral codes. That way, you have them handy in case the opportunity arises to share your codes.
Avoid: While you’re a master of seeking and applying methods to lower your expenses, be cautious about peddling promos and referral codes that don’t benefit others. Will the other person also earn credit or save money from the referral code? Will the service be useful for them? It’s great to save money, but don’t do so at the risk of burning bridges.
You’ve cultivated a sublime sense of abundance, practice gratitude, and know you have more than enough to be happy. In turn, you don’t pursue material possessions. You carefully cull your belongings to see which have value and discard the rest. When you do spend money, you typically mull over purchases beforehand.
Focus on: Purging your belongings, and donating or selling unwanted items. You’ll also want to be mindful of how your money and attention is spent, and how it reflects your values. Instead of taking on more pursuits, hobbies, more belongings, more friends, reread books you already own. Relish in your existing daily practices and activities.
Avoid: Cycling through consumption and purging. It’s common for minimalists to think they’re living a simple life when they are spending a fair amount of time shopping. These consumption/purge cycles can take a toll on your wallet. Instead, think twice before buying something in the first place.
Also, don’t deprive yourself just because you want to own less. Be true to what your needs are. My friend Sarah, who is a hardcore minimalist, has an impressive book collection. And that’s totally okay. She’s loves reading and gets a lot of joy from books.
By unleashing your saving superpower, you can build the momentum of saving. When it comes to money management, it’s about making it fun and easy. Ready to roll up your sleeves and save some beans? Godspeed!