The hardest challenge about saving money is indeed just getting started. This could have been part of your New year’s resolution but several months have passed and nothing happened yet. Like our health, we have to plan how we use it or we inevitably run out of it. We don’t need to tell you that money might just be the most important currency on the planet. Here are a few tips to help you manage yours better.
Most people live off salaries. It’s not some big shame or some evidence that you belong to the middle class, it’s just the way things are – meaning some have more money than others. And so, when your salary comes in, the smart thing to do is budget said salary to make sure you don’t run through it before the month is over. When people hear the word “budget,” they think only people who don’t make enough do that, “or it’s just for married people.” It’s not. In fact, budgeting is a sign of thoughtful financial planning. Budgets are designed to help you curb your more impulsive spending habits and they can help you set aside a significant sum of money for a plan you might have in the not-so-distant future. Perhaps you want to move out of your apartment and rent somewhere better, surprise your kid with the car of her dreams, or simply plan for retirement. There is no limit to why you need extra money; the bottom-line is saving is good and it’s achievable with a sound budget plan. When making your budget plan here are a couple of things you need to know:
- How much you spend: This is important because you want to know what a typical month of unplanned spending costs before you budget to prevent it. It would help to retrace your steps and gather your receipts, credit card bills, and bank statements to help outline your past spending habits.
- How much you make: It might shock you to know that the amount that was promised when you took your job isn’t the amount that is in your bank account at the end of every month. In fact, it’s usually quite a bit less. You need to get a bank statement and look at your salary after all the deductibles have been removed, that understand the real amount you make. While you’re at it, you might want to add all external sources of income like dividends, side projects, and other minor sources.
- How much you save: There is always a purpose to every cent saved away. Once you have determined yours, you are ready to plan your budget.
Your budget plan should typically entail certain amounts sets aside for specific fixed and expected expenses. After all, fixed and expected expenses have been addressed, the remaining amount should be deposited into a savings account to restrict access to it and limit your tendency to spend it when you should be saving it for the future.
Having quantity over quality is never a good compromise, but sometimes things don’t have to be so black and white. If you are looking to save, then you need to embrace a grey area. Sometimes to shave certain amounts off your monthly expenses, you should consider looking for a cheaper version of a product that you are used to. For example, instead of opting for a farm fresh milk, you could look for a cheaper farm fresh milk that is not as expensive. Saving more money doesn’t have to include unimaginable budget cuts. Sometimes looking for a cheaper product that does the same thing is not a bad idea.
This part is probably the hardest yet most obvious way to save money; that is why we saved it for last. Cutting back on your spending can be terrifying and hard, but it doesn’t have to be. It can be a way to get rid of some of the unhealthy and life-threatening habits that might be ruining your life. Obviously, some habits are not as deadly as we make them out to be, but they might as well be.
When you are trying to cut down on spending, you should consider not eating out so much. These little dinners and lunches at your local restaurant could not only be unhealthy, they could constitute a bulk of your expenses. Reducing the frequency from say 10 times per month to a modest 2-3 times per month could save you a lot of money. Other unhealthy habits you could cut down on too are; smoking, ordering food, unused gym memberships, etc.
Saving more money can sometimes be a sensitive subject that most people avoid because they have so little control over their finances. However, it doesn’t have to be such a trying and an emotionally testing subject. Budgeting, cutting down your expenses, and compromising other expenses can give you that much-needed control over your money.