Saving money starts with understanding what’s happening with your money. Yes, the objective is to save, but it needs to be well structured and quantified. Only when you put together the sources of cash can you have a comprehensive view of what’s happening with your finances. It also gives you clarity and sets your expectations in terms of how much can you practically save over a period of time.
There is no point in being delusional and then subsequently falling short of the expectations. Understand the different sources, amount and timing of where the money is coming from and where it is going. Make sure you provision for unexpected costs that come from nowhere.
If you are married, then the budget should be developed along with key decision makers and seek a collective buy-in to reach the objective as a family. Consensus of key members is very important to save money.
Once you have created a picture of where your money goes in a typical month, then you can identify the trends and problem areas.
After understanding your potential to save, you need to set aside the savings amount as if you are paying a bill. Open a savings account or start an automatic saver plan and discipline yourself to deposit the amount every single month. Since you have no choice but to pay your monthly bills, your savings amount must be treated the same way. More importantly, the savings should be deposited at the start of the month before you even have a chance to spend it. You will see that your money has grown, like magic, over time.
As common as it sounds, it is the most traditional yet effective way to save. You simply cannot spend more than you earn. By spending more using some source of borrowed money, you are actually spending more by paying interest. This borrowing accumulates really fast and before you know, you have accumulated tons of debt. It’s a real painful exercise for a long period of time. Just to get rid of it.
Examples of cutting your costs:
Clear your most expensive debts first – Avoid paying unnecessary interest on your credit card
Seek best home financing options, if applicable
Reduce telephone bills by using cheaper options for international calling
Avoid parking and speeding fines
Reduce transportation costs through car pool, using public transportation, etc.
Say ‘no’ to avoidable expenses
Avoid expensive days/evenings out – Seek promotional deals
Encourage the habit of saving within the household
Utilise the free rewards programme, offered along with credit cards
Deposit funds every month in a savings plan
Lastly, the best way to save money is to make more money!