How to Save Money in 2021: The Complete Guide

Take a longer break? Buy a new car? Or just build up an emergency fund that provides some peace of mind? There are many good reasons to save money. Our comprehensive guide gives you all the information, tools, tips and tricks to save money – so you can spend it on what really makes you happy.

Part 1: why you need to save now

Part 2: Here’s how to analyze your everyday spending and savings

Part 3: set your goals and stay motivated

Part 4: strategies and ideas: save money without knowing it

Part 5: It’s all about the state of mind: how you can change your behavior in the long term

Part 6: Find The Right Tools That Will Really Save You Money

Part 1: why you need to save now

Live day to day, rather than saving for your future? Many of us find it difficult to choose between favoring long-term projects and our short-term needs. But at the same time, we are also aware that if life does not go quite as planned, we need a security fund. It can happen faster than you want. Indeed, an unforeseen event, such as an illness, an accident or the loss of one’s job can happen to us at any time and be very costly.

It is not just emergency situations that justify building up a nest egg. In the end, there are many good reasons to stop living from day to day – and with cheerful savings goals: Do you want to take the plunge into self-employment? To buy a new car? To give yourself an extended break once in your life? Or to hopefully move into your own home soon? 

Our comprehensive guide takes you through everything you need to know to manage your money more consciously, so you can fund what is really important to you. Here’s what you’ll learn in this guide:

  • How to spot unnecessary expenses
  • How to get an overview of your finances
  • How to set goals
  • How to motivate yourself to really achieve these goals
  • What are the practical tools to achieve this

It goes without saying that when we talk about savings, we are not just referring to the money placed in a savings account. Because, in the current context of interest rates, saving in the classic sense of the term is hardly attractive. Finally, there are countless options to make your savings and possible dividends grow in the long term, in order to increase your resources a little more. And we also show you how to get there. Let’s go!

Part 2: Here’s how to analyze your everyday spending and savings

Before setting your goals and embarking on an adventure filled with good intentions but without a real plan, it is better to start by analyzing your current situation. Once you have a clearer picture of the situation, the exact amount of your income and your expenses for food, household, leisure, insurance …, you can and should make adjustments. in order to spend your money where it makes sense to you. Make sure you always use amazon coupons for purchasing any items from amazon to get discounts or any other promo codes for any shopping store so that you keep your expenses less and buy more. 

But where did all my money go? Unmasking the money-eaters

“I really don’t understand where all the money went” – does this statement ring a bell? You are not alone. Often times, we think we are spending a lot less than we actually are and then wonder that we don’t have much money left at the end of the month. The only way to have a clear view on your own financial situation is to establish a concrete list of all income and expenses. Only then will you be able to effectively and vividly see which budget items are really eating up your money each month. Small expenses are also important, so don’t forget them: because it’s especially small amounts, like a coffee or a snack here and there, that often strain your budget without you noticing.

Fixed costs

These include rent, taxes, health insurance contributions, household and vehicle insurance, mobile phone subscription, heating and electricity costs, but also childcare contributions. of children.

Variable costs

These include one-off acquisitions or recurring expenses, but the price of which differs. As for example foodstuffs, hygiene products, clothing. If that helps, distinguish here between basic needs (what you really need) and freely chosen expenses (what you want). You can easily get these products on discounted price from Mesheble

Easy tracking – always keep an eye on your budget with 100% digital payments

An increasing number of people now only pay with their card or smartphone. By doing this, we are tempted to spend more more quickly: by buying a new t-shirt or shopping at the supermarket, we are often much more aware of our purchases when we see the cash disappearing from the wallet, rather than when we swipe our card on a reader, or even when we buy exclusively online. In addition, people who only shop on the Internet can track all their spending online very easily. Because for those who only shop online, the tracking is done automatically, which is very practical. 

Little tips to reduce unnecessary expenses

Take control of your money, instead of wondering where it went. By establishing your expenses, you may have already realized the following: unconsciously superfluous expenses often end up accumulating and becoming large sums of money, even without buying expensive products, when they could represent real savings in the long term. 

Where should my money go? Control your resources on a budget

Budgeting is essential – at least if you’re serious about saving money. While the idea of ​​sitting down at a table and creating a realistic budget is obviously not very exhilarating for many, you can’t escape it if you want to get more out of your money.

Take an inventory of subscriptions and avoid unnecessary costs

Netflix, Spotify, Amazon Prime, Disney +, the gym membership, Youtube TV Premium, the serenity plan with all-inclusive TV and internet, and a few newspaper and magazine subscriptions – do you have it all? And do you need it all?

More and more companies are offering their customers subscription models – ranging from streaming services through telecom companies to meditation apps. Take inventory regularly, such as once a month or every three months. Are you really using all the services you have subscribed to or would you have liked to terminate as soon as the free trial period ends? Do you have the option to share subscriptions for streaming services with other family members or friends? Check regularly to see if you can get cheaper rates for comparable services from other providers and switch providers for TV, Internet and telephone if necessary.

Part 3: set your goals and stay motivated

For many, saving without a goal behind it is not easy. At the end of the day, temptations that are hard to resist are ubiquitous every day, and we spend our hard-earned money instead of saving it for bigger dreams or dealing with the unexpected. It is therefore all the more important to define realistic and clear objectives which motivate you to resist temptations more often and thus to regularly put money aside.

Most projects fail because we are too ambitious at the start. Instead of a marathon, start with a short distance instead. Our brain reacts positively to rewarding experiences and thus accepts new habits more quickly.

Make sure you set small goals that you can achieve. This will reward your mind – hopefully it isn’t with an expensive shopping spree – while staying motivated. So you can get closer to your long-term goal step by step.

Why only SMART goals lead to success

Be smart: set SMART goals. SMART is the acronym here for Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Reasonable und Time-Bound, attributed to Peter Drucker, management researcher and business consultant. You must therefore have defined clear and very precise objectives to succeed: “I want to spend less money”? It’s not sufficient! 

With clear goals, you stay on course, especially if you often set small goals for yourself. Each time you reach one, you have a rewarding experience and that creates a dynamic.

Part 4: strategies and ideas: save money without knowing it 

While some people have no trouble keeping a strict budget, others on the contrary need a little freedom of action to indulge themselves from time to time. Some people easily forgo take-out and dining out, others prefer to buy less clothes, or even save on entertainment and recreation. The possibilities for making savings more easily are as varied as us, our wishes and our goals or our relationship to money (and spending). What works for some may not work for you. Experiment with different strategies and ideas and find the right way for you to save money each month.

Save where it matters

Save, yes, but on what? After having established your monthly expenses, you must now identify your savings potential for each budget item. Is a cheaper health insurance fund or a higher co-payment worth it? Maybe a less expensive apartment that would allow you to buy a home faster? Can you possibly save on taxes? Or how could you save on food or when shopping at the Inthemarket?

Saving on a daily basis: shopping intelligently and eating healthy

In addition to insurance premiums, rent and everything else, the “meals” item in particular has great potential for making daily savings. In general, if you spend too much money on take-out meals, snacks, dining out, here you will find a series of tips and tricks for eating well, cheaply and healthily. In other words: better to cook yourself than to go to a restaurant. Not only will you save money, but you’ll be able to eat better more often – as long as you have basic cooking skills and shop smart: Go for fresh ingredients over processed foods or ready-made meals and forgo products brand. Most supermarkets also offer so-called white label products, that is, they are sometimes produced in the same factory as the corresponding branded product.

Just let a night pass before you make up your mind

Impulse buying can quickly become dangerous, especially if the purchase is expensive relative to your income. When shopping online in particular, everything becomes easy and can go very quickly: a few clicks are enough to place an order. This is why it is important to set a limit that should not be exceeded during spontaneous purchases and, for any unforeseen purchase exceeding this limit, it is better to let a night pass first to reflect. The next day you will determine whether you really need this product or whether you are compensating for a feeling here with this purchase. Buying when you’re in the throes of frustration can easily strain a budget.

“Me me me!” – what matters is that you are yourself

In principle, you should have found a certain amount in your account at the end of the month, but no matter how much you budgeted, your money disappeared like magic. To ensure that this does not happen again, always make a transfer first. Budget your realistic monthly savings amount and transfer it as soon as you receive your salary, for example to your savings account, to your account for emergencies or to your fund savings plan through which you can even charge interest.

The 50-30-20 method to structure your budget

How much should I save per month? How much should my fixed costs be? What does the perfect budget look like for my household? If I have to make a budget, am I no longer even allowed to spend on my hobbies and my desires? Of course yes. This is where the 50-30-20 rule applies: divide your monthly income so that you can cover your expenses, save and still continue to please yourself.

50% of your income should cover your basic expenses. This includes insurance and health insurance contributions, rent, car, electricity, food, telephone, etc. You can set aside 30% to treat yourself, namely for free time, leisure, clothing, vacations and others. Finally, 20% of your monthly income is placed in savings accounts or used to pay off debt. But, then again, assess what is realistic based on your situation. Maybe you can even save extra money if you cut the other costs in your budget. It may also be that the 20% planned for savings is simply inconceivable even with the best will in the world. In this case, reduce this amount to 10%.

Part 5: It’s all about the state of mind: how you can change your behavior in the long term

“I just can’t save” – “Saving is so hard” – “I’ve tried it before, but…” – are you familiar with these words? In this case, think of saving as a way to get to know yourself better and to analyze and understand your behavior in general. This will help you not only in saving money, but also in many other situations in life. So the journey to your savings goal can also be an introspective journey, without even taking a plane!

Think about your behavior and avoid spending traps

You may be familiar with this situation: for a few months, we count every penny, plan our menus meticulously in advance, cook fresh and inexpensively and we refuse all our small and large cravings – then comes the period when we find our old habits, let’s stop following our budget, or even consume more excessively than before. Take advantage of these periods to question your behavior: why did you give up your discipline? Are there situations, people, or changes in your life that cause this behavior? Think about and write down when and why you made bad financial decisions and identify your weak spots. Because the better you know your behavior and your decisions,

Spend your money on your hobbies

Do you have a passion for jogging? Do you like your monthly girls’ nights? For you, is the motorcycle that counts above all? So, budget for good running shoes, buying leather jackets, your monthly outing, or motorcycle repairs – and cut spending on other items that don’t give you as much joy.

By radically eliminating all supposedly superfluous spending and by now refusing all the little pleasures in life, we quickly fall back into old spending patterns by throwing out all our goals and good resolutions at once – this can then quickly get expensive. The important thing is to be clear about what brings you the most joy and to put some money aside for that purpose, rather than spending out of habit on things that don’t make you happy in the long run.

Time is money – and money is time

What exactly is money? In the digital age in particular, where we come into contact with money often only as a series of numbers on a screen, money can quickly become an abstract thing. It comes and goes, month after month, without us really knowing where it goes. Other people, on the contrary, have a very concrete vision of money: they know how to appreciate its value, spend consciously, know precisely their financial options and what they are saving or spending for. The following trick, for example, can help you look like such a person and stop coaxing your finances: calculate your hourly wage, then, before buying something for fun, think about how many hours you had to work for that amount each time. Or ask yourself the following question: If someone gave me cash in the palm of my hand for the amount of the item I wanted, so that I wouldn’t buy it, what would I do? Would I choose the money or the item?

Say goodbye to your “me of the future”

“These great jeans are too small a size, but somehow I decided to lose weight.” “I’ve never made smoothies before, but this summer for sure, I’ll drink one every day.” “I’m going to look like a supermodel in these new heels, even though I usually only wear sneakers.” Do you find yourself in these words? A lot of the things we buy are not for us at all, but for our perfect “future selves” – a person who only exists in our imagination, smarter, more muscular, more beautiful, healthier and more popular. than we are today. Don’t fall for this trap – instead, ask yourself before every purchase if the product you want is really right for you and your everyday life, or if you are buying it for someone you’re not.

Conscious consumption is good for the budget and the environment

What is important to me? Security? The result? Help others? Freedom? Think about the most important values ​​in your life. And ask yourself if you are really spending your money on things and experiences that align with your personal values.

Part 6: Find The Right Tools That Will Really Save You Money

Fear not, the days of apothecary accounts and hand-held account books are over. Fortunately, since then, there are a multitude of digital teaching tools that help you save money, and even force you to respect your limits and keep your budget under control.

Set an automatic limit for your spending

While it’s easy to budget, it’s not always easy to stick to it. Fortunately, you have the option of setting withdrawal limits to allow you to determine how much you can withdraw or how many products you can purchase each day using coupons.

Automate your savings with the standing order and fund savings plan

Of course, it is particularly easy to save when everything is automatic. Standing order is ideal for this purpose: every month, at a certain time, a specific amount is transferred to another account. You can thus directly automate the payments into your savings account. Tip: the ideal is to automatically transfer the amount to be saved to another account the same day your salary is paid. According to the motto “out of sight, out of heart”, you will not see the amount of savings in your private account at all and therefore will not be tempted to spend it. 

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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