I have always been very good with money even when I was a kid. I used to scrimp on my school allowance so I could buy the things I want without asking money from my parents. I was like that all my life until I moved here. The lure of the credit cards and loans were enticing so I took the bite and I am now very rueful of the thoughtless act of acquiring debts. So, I am paying that price until now and perhaps until few years down the line.
2018 will be a different year. With the introduction of VAT here, one has to be very wise with the expenditures. Gone are the days of dining out almost every other day, and gone are the bulk-buying of food that only goes to waste because no one eats them. I feel sorry for my misgivings in handling my finances before but this year will be a fruitful year in terms of living my way towards debt-free. It’s all about savings.
Prioritize on your expenditures
If you’re like me who got stuck in a financial quagmire (not because you spent it all on your insignificant, fastidious whims) because you helped your family then it’s not late for all of us to recover in baby steps. We just have to face our problems one at a time by re-focusing on what needs to be prioritized in terms of purchasing.
If there are things you like but in reality, you don’t really need them, don’t buy them. Only buy things or pay for services you do need and quite necessary like internet service, insurance, health care, and groceries.
Do it yourself
If you have been going to the salon for a nice manicure and pedicure at least twice a month, then maybe it is high time to learn how to clean your nails by yourself? I used to frequent the salons for my nails but realized how much I was spending for an activity I can fairly learn. And it was easy and I get to use my own sanitized manicure sets!
if you have other skills like sewing then perhaps it will be a good idea to make your own throw pillow and pillow cases. How about making your own table runners and curtains? That will certainly save you from spending unnecessarily.
if you have projects at home that you can do yourself as long as it is not major like building a fence, removing a wall and sorts (leave that to the professionals!) then if you can manage to do it then do so. This way, you get to save money for professional fees.
Plant your own herbs and vegetables
Having your own fresh herbs and vegetables at the ready is one way of saving on costs. Planting herbs on pots that you can put on your kitchen window sill or in your small pocket garden, or even on your veranda (if you live in a high-rise building) will bring down your grocery costs. Herbs are rather expensive when bought in bundles which is almost always the case in groceries and wet markets selling them. You cannot buy few stalks when you only need few for the meal you to prepare for. Imagine buying a bundle and 1/8th of them is all you need and by the time you prepare another meal, the leaves are already rotting and dry. So, you end up throwing the other stuff. Same concept goes with buying other vegetables. If you have the means, and a way to grow your own herbs and vegetable garden, then do so.
Retain at least 10% of your salary as savings
10% may seem a little amount but when compounded over time, you get to have a decent savings kept in a year. As soon as you receive your pay, keep the 10% as savings which will go directly to your savings account. You can choose to have an auto-deposit feature activated in your salary account that will remove the amount you have indicated every month and keeps it to another account of your choice as savings. Check your bank about this kind of feature.
Prepare your own meals
Limit or avoid going to the restaurants if you can. Start cooking your own meals. At least, you can save on money, no need to pay service tax, and you can enjoy clean food with less the MSGs and other additives.
Save on coffee
Well, I am sometimes guilty of buying coffee in my favorite coffee shop here. If I total my purchases for a month, I could have used that amount to pay my card. So, if you are such a caffeine junkie and you need your fix, buy a jar of coffee powder, flavored creamer, and make your own. It won’t hurt to try.
There are still plenty of ways to save money and the above are just few ideas I have to help you and me start the right way. It may be hard especially if you are used to living lavishly but it won’t really hurt to try penny-pinching and tightening the belt to save for the rainy days.
What’s your money-saving goal this year?