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Recently I was discussing “saving” money with a friend. The definition of saving is:

Process of setting aside a portion of current income for future use, or the resources accumulated in this way over a given period of time.

You aren’t really saving money when you purchase something at a discount. You are if you put the money you did not spend away for the future. My friend said she does it every time she makes a purchase: shoes on sale for $40 instead of $60 – she puts $20 in her savings account. She saves her receipts and circles the you Saved $……on your purchase today and makes her deposit once a month. Talk about gratifying! Last year she paid for the family’s air fare for their family vacation with the funds! I’ve got to start doing this for myself!

Here are some ideas for “spending less”

Follow the 30 day rule – Avoiding instant gratification is one of the most important rules of personal finance and waiting 30 days to decide on a purchase is an excellent way to implement that rule.

Write a list before you go shopping – and stick to it – Avoid impulse buys by planning before you go.

Drink more water – Spending less on soda, juice and tea not only saves you money but it’s good for you!

Try generic brands of items you buy regularly – often the store brand is just as good as the name brand, usually you are just paying for the marketing.

Avoid the mall – find something else to do when you need some entertainment. A walk outdoors, a fun puzzle, or a good movie can easily replace your regular mall shopping adventures.

Get a crock pot – the best deal on earth for reducing cooking costs in a busy family. You can just dump in your ingredients before work, put it on simmer, and dinner is done when you get home.

Buy staples in bulk – buy trash bags, laundry detergent, and diapers in the largest packages you can find. This cuts down on their cost per usage by quite a bit and, over the long haul, adds up to significant savings.

Cut down on your vacation spending – traveling around your own state and finding the free/cheap places to visit could be one of the most memorable vacations! Pack your own food too!

Spending less and putting the money away for a financial goal sounds like a great thing to start today!