by Susan Paige
Picture this: it has been a week after payday, you’re taking a leisurely stroll at the nearby mall’s department store (which is basically your favorite thing to do, isn’t it?), and then you pass by this store that seems to know exactly what you like. It’s finally on display – the romper that you’ve been eyeing for months (years?) on end, and you just can’t believe that it’s within your reach at last. But then, you reach for your wallet, you look inside, and lo and behold: you have just enough cash to get home. It wasn’t within your reach, after all.
That has always been the problem of most people – money just seems to simply pass and drift through their fingers, without them truly experiencing that it’s there in the long run. There appears to be an attitude of go-ahead-and-get-‘em, especially when it comes to sales and products on bargain prices, even if you don’t need them at all. At the end of the day, then, the concern is this: how do you save money? Well, read this, and let this be your guide to a debt-free lifestyle.
First tip: learn to record your expenses. Recording your expenses helps you to monitor exactly what you’re doing with your money. Your payday seems to happen like a breeze? Try to retrace your steps and figure out what you did with it. Doing so helps you to become more aware of what’s draining your funds, and why it’s happening all too quickly.
Second tip: make a budget plan. Planning your budget is a good way to put some more structure into an otherwise free-flowing spending habit. Plotting out which aspects you’re going to spend on is your gateway to a more disciplined lifestyle.
Third tip: plan on saving your money. It would also help if you treat your savings as part of your expenses, something that you have ‘spend on’, so to speak. By thinking this way, you actually feel the obligation to set aside a particular amount just for savings. In doing so, you become more realistic in how much you save and in how regular you save. Try putting a number to go along with it – “this month, I’ll save 10% of my income.” It’ll get better, and so will you.
Fourth tip: choose something to save for. It may be something short-term, like an excellent pair of shoes, or perhaps a good and long vacation. Or, it might be something long-term, like a house, or a full retirement plan for you (you’re not going to live forever, see?). Whatever it is, it’s good to have a motivation that’s clear and present, something that’ll help you even during the most difficult times.
Fifth tip: decide on your priorities, and stick to them. Your savings is only as good as your goals. If you’re clear-cut about what you want to achieve, or about the kind of person you want to become in a few years, then you’re bound to be better off when it comes to savings. Specify your goals, and specify which ones come first over the others.