My parents have instilled in us that hard-earned money should be spent wisely and that if you want something, you need to save up for it. I would always get kind words from friends that I am good at handling money, saving, and investing (though my husband thinks otherwise). The usual advice we get from people when it comes to saving is to save a certain amount of your monthly salary. But oh boy! When unforeseen expenses come, we tend to dip into our piggy banks and use the money we’ve been trying so hard to save. So, what should we really do to be able to save up for the rainy days?
It’s a brand new year and probably you’ll find this topic oh-so-boring. But hey, after all the expenses you’ve endured during the holidays, it’s time to get you finances back on track. I am not a pro on this but I will try my very best to share some habits and mindset my husband and I have to save up and we hope these will also help you in handling your finances and free you from financial burden.
- Cocktails/Drinks at Home. Back in Singapore where a bottle of booze=gold, my husband and I learned that drinking at home is way much better than drinking in clubs or bars. Not only that they are cheaper, drinking at home with friends also gives you a better chance to communicate with each other. So now that we are here in Canada, we brought that habit with us and would once in a while go to LCBO to buy some cans of craft beers, a bottle of moscato for me, and enjoy it with pizza on Friday nights.
- Do-It-Yourself: Learning new skills such as plumbing, painting, baking, cooking, and even something as simple as sewing can save you a lot of money. Imagine, not having to call someone to get these things done? In no time, you’ll be able to travel around the world! 🙂
- Practice Delayed Gratification: Tough. How many times have you gone window shopping and happened to find a dainty, well-crafted, sexy pair of shoes? You tried it on, fits you perfectly plus it is super comfy! Are you going to buy it or not? When I was younger, I couldn’t care less, as long as I want it, I need to have it in my life. Now that I’m older, I realised that I should not buy stuff based on ‘love at first sight’ kind of thing. What I’d do now if I see something that I really, really want in the mall, I’ll go home, sleep on it, and ask myself, can I live without it? If yes, I won’t buy it. If not and by the time I go back and it’s not there anymore, it’s just not meant for me to have it.
- Set up Automatic Payments. Sometimes, we do forget our due dates because of the many things we need to think about. So, if you have online banking system, set up your accounts to make automatic payments for your bills. That way, should you forget, you won’t be charged of any interest.
- Prepare Meals Ahead of Time: My husband and I probably could attribute our efficiency in saving to this. We go out once in a while but on normal weekdays, I see to it that we have our packed lunches. Trust me, it saves you a lot of money and time too. Not only that, preparing our meals at home makes our food healthier because I am in total control of the ingredients I use. This is a win-win for us. 🙂
- Know When to Invest in Quality Products: Do not skimp on things you use a lot. The more you use it, the higher the price you should pay for. It saves you more money in the long run.
- Spend Only the Money You Have: Listen to your debit card, not your credit card. As Simple as that. Whatever is it that you buy using your credit card, be sure to be able to pay the full amount when due date comes. You don’t want paying interests.
- Use the 5-Question Rule: Want or Need? Do I need it? Do I see myself using it? How often? Is it worth the time?
- Invest on Things That Appreciate and Last: This, of course, is hard when you don’t have extra money to invest. But come to think of it, a lot of us would buy branded bags, shoes, clothes, etc. and if you just add up all the money you’ve spent to buy these things, then, you can afford investing your hard-earned money on properties, jewelries, life insurance, and travels. 🙂 I told my husband since we came here in Canada that I am foregoing my Chanel bag dreams as long as he gives me a nice kitchen and of course, a fireplace, but all in all, a nice and comfy home we would be excited to go home to every day. And of course, more travels. 🙂
- Be Content. Very difficult indeed especially if you are constantly bombarded with 24-hour ads everywhere. If you constantly buy things (worse, if you already have them but you just want it in different colour), it’s a race you will never win. If you learn to want the things you already have and they are still pretty and useful, that, my folks, will save you a lot of money.
These are the some tips I can share with you all. It’s a new year so it’s time to re-think our spending habits. Your personal health is as important as your financial health. Cheers to a brand new year and healthier pockets!