Raise your hand if from time-to-time you wonder or ask what the key to financial freedom is? You look at your bank statements and see all the money you’re spending on groceries, bills, and TAX! You want to throw your hands up in disgust, right? But you know you need to put something aside for your retirement, or kids’ college, or whatever that is!
Well, they say living on a budget is the key to financial freedom! Easier said than done, I hear you say! Totally agree, and getting started can be frustrating too.
It’s easy to dismiss cutting back on little things, (I can testify coz my household does this well). A few dollars a month may not make a significant difference in the big picture, but a few dollars here and there adds up to a few more dollars. When you cut back in a lot of small ways, you could end up with a lot more money at the end of the month.
Here are 5 ways you can start saving !
#1 Budget / Plan
Track your expenses over a period of time. This will help you identify areas you can control your spending. Once those areas are identified, budget excluding those items, and allocate any leftover money to savings. SO, rather than saving what’s left over at the end of the month, take out (transfer) the amount you allocated to savings first, and spend the rest.
#2 Stop Wasting!
Ever heard people say “Waste Not, Want Not”? Yeah, we can start by not wasting so much. This should be across the board, in every area of our lives – could be from eating, travelling, home heating, etc. Waste equals money going down the drain unnecessarily.
Food With a lot of money being spent on food, a great way to save is cooking at home instead of eating takeaways or at a restaurant. If there’re leftovers, freeze them and use for lunch the following day or make easy dinner when you don’t have time to cook. As long as they don’t end up in the trash, you’re doing well. Otherwise, throwing away reduces the benefit.
Heating If your home is not well insulated, you’re probably wasting lots of money on home heating and cooling. Insulating will cost money up front, but it will pay for itself quickly. If you have drafts around windows and doors, weatherstripping can help maintain the temperature of your home.
Electricity Most households waste an unbelievable amount of electricity. This can be prevented in part by using energy efficient appliances and light bulbs. Turn lights, televisions, computers and other devices off when you’re not using them. Open blinds to take advantage of the sun’s light during the day.
Travel A nice way of saving on travel is choosing the right time to travel, destination, and right accommodation. Instead of travelling when everyone else is, for example, if you have no kids in school, instead of travelling during school holidays, consider travelling during the school term. Airfares are usually cheaper compared to normal prices as most families will be working around kids in school. Besides, it’ll be nicer and quiet.
In terms of accommodation, consider house swaps, or using Daily / GrabOne deals or rewards schemes. You can get good accommodation at less than normal price, and with rewards points you could travel for free.
#3 Do It Yourself
Any time you pay someone else to do something that you could do yourself, you’re spending money unnecessarily.
Home repairs We’re not all good at all types of repairs and maintenance, BUT most of us can do some things for ourselves. Maybe you could change your own oil instead of paying someone else to do it. If the walls need painting, consider help from friends and family instead of hiring a painter. Things like these can save a noticeable amount of money right away.
Smaller things like buying coffee instead of making your own cost more. Many of us buy coffee or soft drinks from convenience stores or coffee shops on the way to work or during our morning tea break. This can really add up over time. Instead, make your own coffee, or buy fruits and veggies to make your own smoothies at home, and take with you. The same applies to lunches. Instead of buying fast food, take a sandwich or leftover dinner or something microwavable to work.
#4 Live within your means
If you’ve watched Keeping Up Appearances, you will remember Hyacinth and all her tactics to keep up those appearances. The matter is, there are things we can live without in life, and simply live on/with what we can afford. It could be anything from buying clothes from op shops instead of designer, or only buying on sale items instead of full priced items. Buying on sale means you can get good quality items at a low price.
You could slash the grocery bill by buying and using budget or home brands instead of the supposedly high quality brands. Fruits and veggies – buy seasonal as they’re cheaper. Basically, there’re numerous ways to save and live within our earnings.
#5 Credit cards and Bill payments
Anytime you pay your bills or credit card late, you pay with interest right? Well, a good way to save money is to stay on top of your cards and any other bills. Paying bills before the due date will not only eliminate any interest fees, but sometimes you can get discounts for paying before the due date. If you have a credit card, the best thing you can do for yourself is practice discipline around usage and payments. Paying off your credit card in full is a good way of staying on top of your bills.
When you add up the savings, little things can make a big difference to the budget. After all, you need to start small right? Till you turn that determination into a habit.
Motivated enough? Take a close look at your budget and see what small expenses are lurking there. Eliminate or reduce them, you’ll be surprised at how much it could change your bottom line.
#teeshares #savings #makingmoneymakesense #budgeting #keytofinancialfreedom