Taking the First Step

While saving money is not an impossible task, it is not the easiest task either. By the time I realized I need to start saving money, I did not know where to start, but after putting some thought into it, I finally decided to start with creating a habit of tracking my own expense. For many people, including myself, tracking your own expenses is not something you always do everyday. A lot of the time, we tend to just forget what we bought in a day, and repeat the same thing the next day. To stop myself from making that mistake, I started to keep track of my spending everyday.

After each day, try your best to recall every purchase you made. If you cannot remember everything, do not worry, keep trying so you can create a new habit in your brain. The human brain is a powerful machine, but it is very lazy, at least that is how I feel about mine. As I try to do something new, especially something related to remembering, my brain does not want to cooperate. However, I took control of what I need to remember, and gradually, I formed a new habit. With that said, after each day, recall every purchase you made, and write them down on your note.

First saving tip, use your old notebooks from school for this task. Most people do not ever use more than half of a notebook by the end of the semester. Instead of buying a new notebook, make use of the old ones so you don’t waste your money.

As you write down your spending within a day, you may be surprised by the ridiculous amount of money spent on things you don’t really need, or impulsive buying. I was very surprised by my own spending too. I still remember how shocked I was when I first looked at my spending within a day. I spent almost forty dollars on snacks including a cup of milk tea, some fried calamari rings, a side of sweet potato fries, and a bottle of water.

Second saving tip, use a reusable water bottle instead of buying bottled water. It is both good for the environment as well as for your wallet.

No matter how much water you drink per day, there is always a reusable bottle that is big enough for your needs. In addition to my sixteen ounces water bottle, which is not a very big one, I always keep a big jug of water in my car trunk so I don’t ever run out of water during the day that would lead to me buying bottled water.

What even worse than spending forty dollars on snacks was to spend seventy dollars on chocolate. Yes, I spent seventy dollars on chocolate from Whole Foods market. Though Whole Foods market is a good place to buy organic stuff, it can also take away your whole paycheck. Instead of buying chocolate, I could have bought some fresh organic groceries for only half the amount of what I spent on chocolate. By the way, I bought one chunk of milk chocolate, one chunk of dark chocolate, and one chunk of white chocolate that day. They taste just like every other chocolate I have ever tried. After I looked at my spending on that day, I spotted the problems right away. I was wasting my money on something I did not really need. With the new and good habit of tracking my expenses, I kept finding unnecessary expenses along the way, and it helped me to eliminate spending my money on random things.

As of this point, I would like to ask you to start tracking your spending if you don’t already have. Sit down after each day with your notebook, and start writing down as detailed as possible what you have spent your money on in a day. You may be as surprised as I did.

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