Saving begins with your mindset. Many people look at what they earn and determine that they make too little to save anything. Yet, if they were to make a list of what they have spent their money on in the last year, they may find that there were a lot of purchases that were not essential.
The essentials would basically be a safe place to live, heat, electric, food, water, clothing and sanitary conditions. Transportation would have to be included in the list. If you live in a rural area and need to get to a job, a car is probably needed. If you live in a city with public transportation, money for a bus would also be essential. It may be advisable also to have health care or have provisions to take care of ailments. It is also essential to include as an essential an amount to give to charities or those less fortunate.
Now that you have evaluated what your needs are, take a look at the things that you own that are or were wants. Many people in the United States have numerous items in their homes that they have acquired over the years. Take a close look at your belongings. Do you buy fad clothing. Do you eat out often instead of preparing your own meals. Do you enjoy video/computer games. Do you own several gaming systems. How many CDs, DVDs, video tapes, books, knick-knacks, etc. do you own that you don't use. Think about what prompted you to make these purchases and how often you have used the item since you bought it. Do you have basic services or do you add all the "extras" to service packages without looking at the cost.
As you evaluate your spending habits, begin to make a plan that the next time you go to the store you will not buy anything when you first see it. You will first ask yourself if the item you are thinking of purchasing is a need or a want. If it is a want, walk away from the item and take time to think about it. Give yourself some time and see if you still feel strongly in 24 hours that you really want the item. Now look at your budget. Have you saved a fixed amount of money monthly that you have not touched. Can you afford this item without dipping into your regular savings. If it is a large item, can you put the money aside for it until you have enough to make the purchase. Can you purchase a used item that would be just as good as the brand new one. In the case of a book or CD, can you check it out of your local library. Can you use coupons or store promotions to purchase the item for less money.
I find that it is easier to clean your house with less possessions and there is less work hauling items into your house only to have to sort it, dust it, move it, and eventually get rid of it or store it. Is the item worth the extra time you must spend in order to take care of it. You will be able to put money into savings as you cut back on buying many of the small things we often don't think about. A dollar here and fifty cents there adds up as you stick it in your piggy bank instead of a merchant's hand. The things that you do decide to purchase will be more meaningful because of the thought that you put into the purchase. Most of all it will feel better at the end of the month to have some money put aside that can be used for your future. Even if you start small with only saving a dollar here or there, it will add up.