While saving money is second nature to some people, not everyone is good at keeping their money in their pockets. However, not everyone who are good with managing their money started off smoothly. In fact most have struggled and failed multiple times before finally gotten the hang of handling their finances well. Here are ways to prepare yourself and to start saving your money:
ASK YOURSELF THE DIFFICULT QUESTIONS
One of the effective ways to address a difficult situation is to confront it. You can confront your problem by asking the difficult questions and allowing yourself to answer these honestly:
- How much do I earn? Is it enough?
- Am I earning less or spending too much?
- Where is my money going?
- Why do I feel that my money is never enough?
- How do I need to lessen my expenses?
- What if something happens to me or my family?
- Where do I get the money for emergency situations?
- What will happen to my children if something happens to us (parents)?
- Do I have enough funds when I get old?
- Where will I get the money when I/family member is terminally-ill?
- Will my future self and family be financially secured?
This list of questions goes on and the answers will come quite shocking. Hence the very reason why people do not ask these difficult questions to themselves. But this will show you the real financial situation you are in. And will give you a glimpse of what it might be for you and your family in the future.
HOW MUCH ARE YOU EARNING
Are you living below, within or above your means? It starts off with knowing how much money you have and how much you earn each month. Knowing how much you earn will help you see if the lifestyle you choose is financially sound for you or if it is time that you need a bigger stream of income.
List all the income streams you have: salary from work, income from a rental property, small business, side projects, etc. Make sure you know the rough average monthly income you have.
BUILD A BUDGET
Some people take budgeting the wrong way. Budgeting is to plan where to spend your money and allocate how much money you can spend on each.
The 50-20-30 Rule is an ideal way to help you build a budget by using three spending categories:
Commute to work
|Dine out budget|
– 50% : living expenses and essentialsSOURCE: Forbes | New in Budgeting? Why you should try the 50-20-30 rule
– 20% : financial goals: savings, investments, and debt-reduction payments
– 30% : flexible spending which is everything you buy that you want but don’t necessarily need.
As per priority: Living Expenses > Finance Goals > Flexible Savings
Your first priority should be the current living expenses. This will give you the security that you have the money to pay the rent, bills and cover for food for the rest of the month. It should be followed by setting aside money for the future in different forms. And while flexible savings is also important (so that you will not feel choked and you get to enjoy some of your earned money) – it should be the lesser priority.
If you are spending above 50% of your income to living expenses – that may well mean that either of the two:
- You are living beyond what you can afford
- Your income needs to grow more
WRITE DOWN WHERE YOU ARE ACTUALLY SPENDING YOUR MONEY
Sit down and list where your spend your money on. This is to keep track and give you an accurate picture of where you spend your money on.
The list should included the monthly rental/mortgage, utility bills, subscriptions, children’s tuition, commute to work expenses to afternoon snack or coffee dates with your friends. Categorise each these as Living Expenses, Finance Goals & Flexible Spending.
Keeping list will makes it easy for you to see how you are spending your money. It will also allow you to work on areas where you can lessen your expenses or increase your income (sell baked goods, etc)
It might be difficult to achieve at first but this is, nonetheless, achievable.
LESSEN EXPENSES WHERE YOU CAN
Spending impulsively, reckless buying of whatever you think you need are some expenses that cut the bulk of. But there are also ways to curb your expenses in some practices that you already have but don’t know that you’re spending too much on.
- Practice habits to lessen electricity/water bills.
- Prepare a thorough list every time you shop, and do not stray from it UNLESS it’s something that you NEED but forgot to write down.
- Buy cheaper alternatives/brands for food items, toiletries, detergents, etc.
- Grow your own food: tomatoes, siling labuyo, kangkong, calamansi, onions, herbs, carrots, potatoes, etc.
- Cut off unnecessary subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, the likes) if you are not even using it or simply can not afford to continue
- Move to a cheaper/affordable rental – expensive at first but will pay off greatly in the next months/years.
- Decline/Lessen social gatherings where you will spend either on commute, food or gifts.
GET THE FAMILY INVOLVED & BE ACCOUNTABLE
Involve everyone who will in some way be affected by this finance practice. Everyone should know and understand that you, as a family, are trying to keep a budget and curb the expenses. If it means switching to affordable food alternatives, eating out once a week/month instead for your usual, cooking food instead of ordering delivery, etc. Do not be afraid to let them know that this is a way to protect & provide.
Setting aside money is not just a practice you need to do to buy an expensive gadget or buy a home appliance, etc. It can also come in the forms of Savings that your future self and family can/will use, an Emergency Fund for the unforeseen situation or crisis, for Insurance Policies for protection and security, or on Investments so your money can earn and grow.