Has it only been 10 days or less since your last pay check and you look at what’s left in your account and start to ponder on where your whole salary went to? Want some simple tips on how you can save in the long run? Then look no further. Below are a few you could apply in no particular order:
1. Carry lunch to work. I cannot stress this enough. Just calculate how much you spend 5 days a week buying that favourite sandwich or bagel you like just across from Mamalolita’s homemade sandwich bar. For example, my favourite sandwich close the office costs 4 euros. That’s 20 euros I’d pay in week. I could simply buy the same ingredients for 10 euros and that would last me 5 days plus (depending on my appetite of course).
2. Minimise on eating out. Have you ever asked yourself how much money the restaurants you love so much make from your loyalty? Restaurant owners please don’t come charging for me. I’m just saying. You could simply try to replicate your favorite restaurant’s food and if you MUST eat from outside, do it on a day you feel lazy to cook. I mean we all have one of those days where you just feel like takeout.
3. Stop smoking. Yes. Not smoking will not only save your precious life, help prevent your teeth from becoming yellow but it will also help fatten your pockets. So please remember this the next time you’re tempted to buy that pack of cigarette.
4. Keep track of how much you spend per month (great eye opener). For some reason, I’m not really a fan of all these phone apps which all claim to be the best in helping you track your expenses. Besides, to get the full functionality of these apps, you need to pay (again- money spent). So why not just open an excel file, save it on the cloud et voila! Kind of old school I know but – >it works for me.
5. Set aside pocket money and respect it. I know there are some months of the year where you just feel you need to spend and spend and spend. Seasonal, Christmas and valentines sales to mention a few. Also, there are quite a number of online stores that literally tempt one to buy everything just because it’s going for 0.99 cents or at a giveaway price. So, simply set aside a fixed amount (after your necessary fixed costs of course) for leisure and stick to it.
6. Cookie jar savings. Get an empty tin or cookie jar and store all your small coins. I tell you, it is only when you have a pile full of the smallest money coins that you realise how important they are, especially when you need that same 1 cent to buy something you really need.
I used to be one of those who would buy something from the supermarket and when the cashier hands me 1 cent, I’d say to myself “What am I going to use this brown coin for.” In other words, be grateful to GOD for even the littlest things. Someone out there would give anything to have that cent.
7. Cut out on ‘want’ costs or things you don’t need. For example, I once registered for the gym just for the sake of saying I have a pass, which made me feel like I had achieved something (weird I know). No like literally, 30 Euros a month and I could count with one hand how many times I actually went. I won’t say I didn’t have time. Truth is I just wasn’t motivated enough. So I ticked it off my list. Besides, I could use that money for something that I actually need.
8. Stop wasting food. I must confess that I have been guilty of this many times. It’s simple. Just put what you can finish on your plate and leave the rest for later or another day. Eating with your eyes especially when you’re hungry is the worst. You put this chunk of food on your plate – with ingredients clearly dripping off your plate but you tell yourself “No, I can finish this.” That’s a short form of greed.
9. Avoid playing the lottery and gambling. A lot of people would tend to disagree with me on this one and say it’s all about discipline but c’mon people. Do any of you know a casino or lotto lover who always wins? Even if they do, money lost is money lost. You know what would help if you’re one of those people addicted to gambling in one way or another? Just remember that every time you lose, you’re making someone else richer and yourself broke.
10. Plan ahead. This one is straightforward. Easier said than done I know! Try to think of tomorrow and not live in the now only. Most importantly, don’t forget that it’s only by God’s Grace that all your set plans will eventually come to pass.
In summary, saving money requires A LOT of self-discipline (work in progress for us as well). It should be something you want to do because you have a bigger picture in mind. For example, if your spouse forces you to save (regardless of whether you have a joint account or not), it can only cause strife when only one party is bent on saving.
Also, I’ve been asked by people ,“How can you and your husband have a joint account? Who pays what bills? Do you have your own account on the side? “ And the question that tops it off for me is: “Do you trust him?” (future blog post on how to save as a couple in the ‘pipeline’…)
Verses of the day:
Proverbs 21:20 (KJV)
“There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.”
Proverbs 21:5 (KJV)
“The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want.”