“Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” –Warren Buffet
These days, we hear of phrases such as “Financial freedom”, “Making money work for you” and “Being in control of your finances” being frequently used. But how will we achieve any of these levels with what we have now? The answer may be surprisingly simple – save money!
Saving money in today’s economy – Easier said than done!
In an ideal world, we receive a large paycheque with enough allocation to comfortably save money for the future. Alas, we do not live in a perfect world! Often times our salary is average and monthly expenses are steadily increasing. Saving money then becomes an idea rather than an action, albeit easier said than done.
Although saving money is unpleasant for now, it is vital for future endeavours as well as financial safety. We cannot ignore the repercussions of saving money today for tomorrow. So instead of giving up, let us look into some possible ways to save money. To better determine if the method of saving is appropriate for you, we have ranked each of them with Easy, Medium and Hard levels.
Calculate your expenditure
Before you start saving money, you need to have a clear image of how much you spend on average every month. Do a detailed calculation of your daily expenses and extrapolate it to 31 days in a month. Record your financial commitments and possible investment options. From there, you can fine-tune your expenditure and notice where the bulk of your money goes out.
Some individuals take this method to the extreme, counting up to the very cent. Each detail is collated and quantified and not a single expense is overlooked. Although we do not condone going overboard, keeping track of your expenses will make you aware of your financial standing and ultimately mould you into a conscious consumer.
We all need to eat, but sometimes our food and beverage habits can go overboard. Particularly for working individuals, eating at restaurants may be convenient, but ultimately expensive. Learn to whip up simple, healthy and cheap dishes such as stir-fried vegetable rice or easy-bake pies to have for your lunch at the office. Cooking your own meals can save you thousands in the long run if you plan your meals and purchase groceries in large quantities. Another plus point to eating in is the ability to cater a healthier diet. Moreover, if you live with housemates or siblings, cooking big portions means feeding more mouths. If the cost of food and groceries are shared, your expenses go down tremendously.
Spending money is inevitable. We have to make purchases on food, clothing, transport and daily necessities. Thankfully, coupons help us save money. Whether it is to find transport services such as Uber or to food delivery such as pizza, there are hundreds of online coupons you could use to redeem discounts and rebates. Promo codes also reduce your cost of selected products and services.
Curb bad habits
We are quick to point out a person’s physical bad habits such as loud chewing, burping or picking one’s nose. Unfortunately, financial bad habits often go unseen. Some bad habits that prohibit you from saving money come in the form of smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and binge spending. As sin taxes are gradually increased, you find your pockets empty with every purchase of tobacco or alcohol. If you consume these two on a regular basis, you run a big risk of losing money. Limit your purchases of cigarettes and booze and start noticing your wallet getting heavier.
The same can be said about binge spending. If the word ‘SALE’ turns you on, be wary. This may be a sign that you have given in to the temptation of binge spending. Binge spending, or sometimes called Compulsive Buying Disorder simply means an obsession for purchasing at a high cost without thinking about the consequences of your expenditure. Shopping for clothes and accessories should be done in moderation. We recommend to shop for clothing, shoes and accessories twice at most every year. Do also limit your credit card purchases to necessities such as fuel and flight tickets instead of clothes and food.
As famed actor and Hollywood heartthrob Will Smith once said, “Too many people spend money they haven’t earned, to buy things they don’t want, to impress people they don’t like”. Showing off may be a huge area for improvement especially with those who are young. Earning your first paycheque can be a catalyst to bring your buddies out for drinks, but before you know it, you’ve spent too much. Keep tabs on how much you intend to spend on entertainment.
Delayed gratification principle
In line with the previous method of curbing bad habits, one proven method to ensure financial success is to use the Delayed Gratification principle. Delayed gratification in financial terms simply means saving your expenditure for a later time. There will always be promotions. There will always come new sales and discounts. There will always be things to buy. The power of delayed gratification brings rewards in the future. Train your mind and body to save money for a rainy day and you will thank yourself for doing so.
Change your mindset
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! This next level is one that requires determination and a deliberate action. Before you reach this stage, be sure to have the Easy and Medium level methods mastered. Changing your mindset literally means changing the way you think, and this takes time and an incredible amount of effort. Start small with the way you think about your daily spending. Remember that a penny saved is a penny earned. Keep motivated with quotes about the use of money and learn the ways of financial successes such as billionaires Warren Buffet, Robert Kuok, Oprah Winfrey, Elon Musk and Ellen DeGeneres.
If saving money by cutting expenses is hard, you should try investing. Investing, although classified as a hard level, is one of the best ways of saving money. Investing involves putting finances in areas where more money will be generated. Why keep your money in the bank when you can invest it and make your money work for you? As a form of forced savings, investing encourages us to save valuable cash for future endeavours. Some forms of savings include bond funds, unit trusts, insurance, fixed deposits and property investments. For more information on investments, look to the financial gurus on expert advice on investing.
With much that is said about saving money, the key principles we need to remember are these: Saving money requires sacrifice. Saving money requires your deliberate thought and action. The best ways to save money come in the form of investments. Don’t wait for financial success to come your way. Go out and grab it! Follow the tips above and you too can not only save money, but grow your finances exponentially.