How do you feel when you run low on cash? How often does it happen?
As for me, I would feel ill when I open my wallet or check my bank account and it’s almost empty.
Why is it so hard to earn money and so easy to spend it? After several vows to cut down on expenses, you still find yourself on the same rat race.
You thought it was your former paycheck. You thought you don’t earn enough. You believed that a few more thousands will fix it.
Now you earn more, and you are still finding it difficult to maintain a decent lifestyle.
You are convinced that saving money is for the wealthy. Since you are trying to survive with the amount you earn, saving looks like an impossible mission. There is no need to even bother.
I have taken the bold step of saving for the rainy day. I later discovered that I had spent my “rainy day” savings few weeks later. I always convinced myself that rainy days won’t come till after my next income.
Funny thing is rainy days always come few days later and I start making those frantic calls for help.
After a while, I got tired of those calls and decided to save. I did and it felt amazing when the next paycheck came and met some amount of money in my account.
I had done the unimaginable. But you wouldn’t believe what I passed through to achieve that feat.
I ate only once per day sometimes. I hung around friends even when I didn’t want to, hoping to get a meal out of them. I ran out of groceries and had to improvise.
After a week, I was almost losing my cool. I had to ask my bank for help, to restrict my savings account. I made savings but I didn’t find the process funny.
The truth is, I went about it the wrong way. Saving money is a necessary habit but it doesn’t have to be an uphill task like it was for me.
The beautiful feeling of having some money to fall back on during trying times gave me the zeal to continue. But before I continued, I had to find out the right way to go about it.
Saving money shouldn’t be harder than making money, I suppose.
How can you save and live a comfortable life while at it?
1. Track and Keep a Record of Your Expenses
If you are making up your mind at this moment to start your savings today, You shouldn’t.
This is the time to find out exactly how and what you spend money on.
If you don’t know what makes up your spending list, you won’t know how to cut down on your expenses.
Take down notes of your expenses, gather receipts if possible. Find out how often you need these goods and services. Discover how long each product and/or service lasts before you need it again.
This is how you will find out what happens to your money. This will also help you point out the things you don’t need but spend so much on.
2. Make Your Priorities
Priorities differ. Whatever is important to you is valid. You don’t have to make your priorities based on someone else’s.
When you make priorities, you can find out those things you don’t need. When you find those things of low priority, you can remove them from your spending list.
If you intend to keep them on your list, you might want to reduce the amount you spend on them or frequency of usage.
3. Choose A Purpose for Saving
Why do you want to start saving? Is it because everyone you know agrees that it’s a good idea?
Maybe you considering savings to afford those things you couldn’t or to meet your goals?
Both long-term and short-term goals are great. You don’t have to sacrifice one for the other. But you must set achievable goals. You can start small and think big.
If setting your goals will take much time, you can go ahead and start. When you are ready, you can decide what you are saving for.
4. Take It Easy
Remember the quote by Abigail Carney, “Little drops of water, little grains of sand, make the mighty ocean and the pleasant land”.
If you want to live a lifestyle of saving money, you should take small easy steps first. Taking away huge amounts of money from your income is likely to make the journey difficult.
Though you aim to save more, celebrate yourself for what you achieve at any given time.
You can start by owning a piggy bank where you drop all the extra change you make after estimated purchases.
When you take easy steps, you will achieve much over time.
5. Live Your Normal Life But In a Different Way:
You shouldn’t live a meagre lifestyle because you are on a saving regime.
There are ways you can live as you always have and save some money while at it.
You could engage in bulk purchases and look out for clearance sales. Every single dime counts.
Remember to tuck away the money you saved from doing so.
Devise means to spend less money on grocery stores; prepare your meals in large quantities and store. This will save the energy used in meal preparations and reduce the waste of money on foodstuffs. You could make your lunch yourself instead of eating out often.
If you are always at work, you could opt to buy or stream movies instead of cable subscriptions. If you love going to the movies often, you could opt for cheaper outdoor cinemas.
Don’t you think it is cheaper to bake snacks and cakes for special occasions yourself? If you know how to bake, you can use decorating pastry tips and get it done. The amount of money you can save from such will amaze you.
6. Make It Automatic
There are times that you will find it difficult to save. This might be due to a craving to be extravagant or sheer lack of willpower.
You could ask for help from your employer or bank.
They would deduct the amount you have arranged with them from your income or bank account. This way, you don’t have to give up when you feel like.
This will also help you set a target on the amount you plan to save.
This idea works best if you are on a retirement plan or saving for a long-term goal.
7. Hesitate Sometimes
If you plan to spend money on some product or service, it’s a great idea to hesitate sometimes. You can do this if it is not an emergency.
Most times, I discovered that after some hours or few days, I didn’t need to do it anymore. It was an impulse.
If you feel like paying for that awesome pair of shoes on your Facebook timeline, you might want to wait a little. You will realize that after a few days, the longing for them is gone.
It is always best to stop and think before we spend.
8. Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
No matter what your plans are, you must stay alive and healthy to achieve them.
You shouldn’t save money and then end up using it for the treatment of preventable diseases. So, it is important to do all you can to stay healthy.
Take care of the immediate environment to prevent the spread of germs. Keep your house insect-and pest-proof.
Eat healthily. Consume fruits and vegetables in their period of plenty. Make conscious efforts to incorporate fruits and vegetables in your diet.
This way, you will achieve the goals you set.
9. Have Fun with It
Do you know that having dinner at home with your loved ones can be as fun as eating out but cheaper?
Relish the thought of all you intend to do with your savings. You will be glad.
While you are saving for the future, you must remember to take care of yourself today. Give yourself a treat occasionally.
Do the things you love but see if you can save some money while at it. You can still go to those restaurants you love. But you can order for water with your food instead of a beverage.
Knowing that you have some money somewhere for emergencies can be quite a relief.
It takes a conscious effort to cultivate a saving habit. It takes determination and vision to maintain that habit.
Living a comfortable life while saving money is possible. You would need to take some measures to find cheaper alternatives to the things you pay for.
You can also try to do things by yourself sometimes.
Live healthy, set achievable goals and seek help if you need it.
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