For most of our lives, we invest a lot of money on acquiring formal education in order to become proficient enough to succeed in our various career paths. Unfortunately, this formal education doesn’t teach us enough on how to handle money. This then results in many hardworking individuals who are stuck in a metaphorical rat race of constant spending and very little to no savings. We can all agree that sometimes, spending money is more exciting than saving it because we want to enjoy the various pleasures of life. However, saving money is the foundation of your financial success and your future self will thank you for it. In this article, we’ll look at some of the ways you can save your money.
1. MANAGE OR ELIMINATE YOUR DEBT
Debt is a particularly daunting subject for anyone who has it. But if managed properly, you can still live a comfortable life and save for a rainy day. Firstly, identify your debt and interest rates and how the principal payments vary with interest. If you have high interest rate loans you need to consider putting as much as you can afford into paying them off. Reducing your owed balance will give you a bigger financial break than what you could’ve saved or earned from investments.
When it comes to fixed-payment loans like a mortgage, decide what period is feasible enough for your debt and how that would impact your savings plan. If you can manage to pay it off in 5 years or less, then consider placing 10-15% of your operating budget in a savings account for a rainy day. If your repayment terms are 5+ years, your monthly payments are likely lower which allows for a bigger operating budget. In this case consider placing 10-20% of it towards a savings plan or investment portfolio. Otherwise all that stand between you and a financial crisis is a credit card. Debt shouldn’t take away your financial security, with sufficient planning you can have it all.
2. SET AN OPERATING BUDGET
Think of a budget as a monthly spending plan. This will in turn help you to keep track of your spending habits and reduce spending on irrelevant/ non-essential things. When you begin to budget you quickly realise that you’ve been spending loads of money on things like food i.e. eating out and entertainment which can be reduced.
Budgeting doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need to do is write out your bills, bank statements and pay-check amounts and then find out how much you’ve been spending each month compared to how much money you earn. You can then create a budget that includes predictable spending on bills like your rent, groceries etc. the rest of the money can then go into your savings.
3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF DISCOUNTS AND SALES
Who doesn’t love a good discount or sale? You get to buy things you want at a reduced cost for the same quality and you save some cash. Keep in mind that these can be slippery slope because the low prices may cause you to spend more than you need to buying more things just because the prices are lower. Be sure to only get what you need from discounts and sale and nothing more.
4. REDUCE UTILITY BILLS
Great way to save money is to reduce your utility bills. You can do this by reducing your electricity usage. Use energy sufficient light bulbs or solar panels to conserve energy and reduce your power bills. You can also conserve power by switching off and unplugging unused electronics around the house. You can also save up on your water bill by turning off taps and using water efficiently to avoid running up the water bill.
5. OPEN A SAVINGS ACCOUNT
A savings account exists for the purpose of enabling you to save a certain amount of money month/ pay period. A saving account is not like a checking account where you can take money out every day or whenever you feel like it. It is there in order for you to save money over a period of time.
Investing in your future should be a priority whatever position you’re in financially. A bird in hand is better than two in the bush.