Let’s be honest: we all want to save money. No one wants to run down to the shops for some milk and come back with two pairs of shoes and a bank account so empty you had to settle for a bottle of home brand skim because you couldn’t afford anything else.
It’s just that some of us struggle with this whole ‘saving’ thing from time to time (read: all the time). Delaying your gratification is hard, and trying to remember the big picture is even harder.
But, if saving just doesn’t compute in your brain, don’t worry. Here are some troubleshooting tips that should help you keep your finances on track.
1. Say #NOLO to #YOLO
You might only live once, but think about how much better that one life will be if you don’t have to spend a month of it working overtime to pay off the credit card bill you were left with after a particularly decadent night out?
It’s okay to have a splurge on the big events (important birthdays and milestones), but make sure that you can tell the difference between an important event and just another night at the pub; one warrants a bottle of Chandon, the other does not.
2. Consistency is key
What do you need to make a chocolate cake that doesn’t have lumps and bumps in it? A batter with a nice consistency. What do you need to build a financial future that doesn’t have lumps and bumps in it? You guessed it: a saving pattern with a nice consistency.
By turning saving into a habit, you can help yourself stay on track with your saving targets. If the money you want to save each month goes straight into a high interest savings account as soon as you receive your pay packet, the opportunity to spend it is never there to begin with.
3. Learn to keep your wallet shut
Don’t want to put in for an office birthday present for someone who isn’t even on your floor? Don’t.
Don’t want to split the bill when you only ate an entree but your fellow diners had three bottles of wine? Don’t.
Don’t want to catch a cab with your friend when the bus stop is only a couple of streets away? Don’t.
A good rule of thumb is to only spend what you are comfortable with. It’s your money and you should have the final say on how it’s spent.
4. Write this down!
“I will create a weekly budget.”
Many people don’t, but with a range of apps and online tools now available, creating a household budget has never been so easy.
Make sure you’re realistic (there’s no point in writing a budget that you can only adhere to if you eat two meals a day and stay inside staring at a blank wall all weekend), and hold yourself accountable by telling close friends about your strategy, or by putting a copy of the budget somewhere in the house where you will see it every day.
5. Know when lots of envelopes will start arriving at your house
Buy a yearly planner and mark when each of your household bills (electricity, water, phone and internet) will arrive. Don’t let yourself be caught off-guard by a quarterly rates payment; know when your big - but essential - payments are coming, and plan in advance.