Saving money has always been easy for me. Growing up I was never spoiled and I am an only child. Yes! Not all of us that don’t have siblings are spoiled. So keeping up with the latest fashion trends was impossible. Wanting a new dress or pair of shoes or whatever new thing the cool kids were wearing was just a dream. It’s sad, but true. I had to work hard for everything I have. I was not one of the lucky ones that could just buy whatever they wanted without thinking where the money came from.
Not getting everything I wanted taught me to work hard for what I do want and to appreciate it more. It taught me to be independent and not rely on others to help me buy things or pay for things. It also taught me to be a minimalist, someone who can do with less and be perfectly happy with what I have. So here are some things I did to save money.
- Create a budget – This is so important! You need to know what your income is and what your expense are. Otherwise you’ll just spend unnecessary money that could have been used for something important. So write it all down. There's also a lot of apps and software you can download to help you get started.
- Minimize expenses – After your done setting up your budget, take a look at what you can do without. Maybe you can eat out a little less, or try carpooling if you’re spending too much money on petrol (gas). Try saving electricity by not leaving the geyser on during the day when you’re at work and unplugging non essential power drainers, like cellphone chargers. Downgrade your cellphone contract or anything that you think you can pay less for. Personally I don’t have a cellphone contact. I have a normal Samsung phone I bought with cash. I looked for the cheapest one I could find and I am perfectly happy with it. Coupled that with my internet service I use at home I never use data from my cellphone provider. Only when I really need to use the phone when I go somewhere I will use my prepaid airtime I bought from my cellphone provider. So I don’t need a cellphone contract.
- Do not buy things with money you don’t have – This is how people get into debt. If you want something, save for it and then buy it. If it’s something that’s essential for you to have, fine…go ahead and buy it if its life or death. Otherwise you don’t really need that cute new outfit that’s in the store or that awesome new tech gadget that you just really need to have. Ask yourself if you really, really need this thing or if it’s just to impress other people.
- Do not borrow money to friends and family – I know, I know. It’s a bit harsh. Ok, the rule of thumb here is if you are 100% sure they will pay you back, go ahead...help them out. Otherwise bye bye hard earned money forever. You’re not going to see a cent unfortunately and you’re going to resent that person for not paying you back. So bye bye relationship that you have with that person. If your rich and have money to spare, help them out. You are not going to miss the money. But if you’re in saving mode and you can’t give anything, let them know. There are a lot of ways to get money; you are not their only source.
- Think of ways to make extra cash – For some of us it’s nearly impossible to save money, because our income is less then the essential expenses. You might have a job that pays very little. So what do you do then? Think of ways to earn extra cash. If you have a hobby you can use it to your advantage. If you like fixing things, advertise your services. Advertise online or hand out flyers around your neighbourhood. If you like making things, sell them at a craft market or online. Etsy is an awesome website where you can sell your crafts online. Sell used items around your house on Bidorbuy or Gumtree or whatever online selling service you have in your country. Yes I know some of us don’t like dealing with people when it comes to sales or whatever services that deal with having contact with people. If that’s the case, then find a friend or family member that enjoys dealing with people and give them a cut of the profits.
- Invest your hard earned money – Go speak to your bank and enquire what investment options they have that will fit you best. You get interest on these investments and that means extra money in your pocket. From the moment I started earning money I started investing. It’s best to start young. For those who are a little older, you can still invest. It's never too late. There’s this awesome thing called compound interest. If you invest and not touch that money for the next 5 or 10 years it can grow into a nice sum for retirement or for whatever you need to use it for. The more you invest, the more your money will grow.
So start saving your money today. Not all of us are rich and we need to pinch those pennies. It’s no use living above your means. All that will do is cause you a lot of added stress about money that you really don’t need. Until next time, Goodbye.