Since I know for myself, money (or the lack of it) was always the topic in my household. We never had much money, and credit card debt was always “in the game.” With that being said, it’s understandable why the question “how to save money” in my family was never asked.
I entered the job market with the inherited family debt, and I already knew it would take me some time to reset to the starting point. Now, when most of my family’s debt is paid off, I’m heading towards new financial challenges.
Learning how to save money is not that easy, especially if you’re among those who don’t earn much. But it’s not completely impossible. Here, I decided to share some of my tips that helped me save money and pay off debts quicker.
Tip #1: Separate needs from wants
If you want to learn how to save money, the first thing you should do is to separate “needs” from “wants” in your life. For instance, you can always ask yourself whether you need that face primer or just want it.
Make sure to put two separate columns on a paper and see what’s essential and what’s not.
For instance, rent money, electricity bills, and the internet are necessities. On the other side, you can pass the fancy-looking mango sauce you saw on the shelves and be eying for a while.
Tip #2: But don’t forget to enjoy
If I said, you should know the difference between needs and wants; I didn’t mean you should deprive yourself of the non-essential things altogether.
There’s something called 20/30/50 budget rule, where you take 50 percent of your income to the fixed essential expenses – or needs. Furthermore, 30 percent of your income goes to wants, and 20 percent goes towards saving.
I know this rule is, in some cases, impossible to follow. However, you don’t have to stick to the same percentage, but to follow the same principle where you’re conscious about your spendings and deliberately leave something on the side to save. No matter how small amount that might be.
Tip #3: Scout for groceries online
People tend to buy things they don’t need when they go shopping hungry. I used to buy groceries when I was coming back home from work, and I would always end up with more stuff than I needed.
Then, I decided to take another approach. I would make a list of meals I want to prepare trough the week and browse websites searching for the ingredients. This is how I was able to see special prices and discounts and ensure I avoid overspending and buying unnecessary items.
Whether you prefer to go shopping by yourself or opt for online delivery, make sure to check prices online and know the exact amount of money you’ll spend.
Tip #4: Take “best before” relatively
I know many people avoid buying groceries on a discount just because they’re expiring soon. However best before doesn’t mean food will become spoiled all of a sudden. In most cases, it means a company that produced food can guarantee “full quality” of a product until the “best before” date.
And that’s a great opportunity to use if you’re wondering how to save money. Simple as that. I recently found Mascarpone cheese for the third of the price they usually sell it and was able to afford a “rich people meal” for pennies. Try it!
P.S. While we’re still discussing food, a good idea to save money is to bring your own lunch to work. Ordering food every day can put a severe strain on your budget.
Tip #5: Join the Gig Economy
Part-time jobs came from a haven for all of us who’re in need of extra money to put towards our savings fund or want to improve our monthly budget. Think about all the skills you have and all the things you know how to do, and start browsing the jobs. There are platforms such as UpWork or PeoplePerHour, or you can offer tour guides on AirBnB, and even use your car as a driving ad. There’s plenty of choices, you just need to know where to look.
Sometimes I wish I was still a kid
Part of me sometimes wants to go back to childhood and lose all the problems that come with adulthood such as taking care of bills, thinking about the future, going to the job every day, etc.
However, the financial freedom I have now, and the ability to make money is something that makes me empowered. No matter how little or how much I make knowing that I did it myself motivates me to push forward and never look back. If you want your way out to financial freedom, follow my saving tips. Even though they’re little, they will teach you to be more financially responsible and enable you to take bigger steps in the future.