From a young age, my family made sure I cultivated the habit of saving from my own pocket allowances. Back in the day, I only needed a dollar for my primary school meals and I still managed to save at least 20-50cents each day. It was only natural for me to continue this habit because I saw how I could spend a little more on something I wanted.
This got a lot more serious and necessary when I started working. I had to manage my finances with my bills, transport, meals and contribute parts of it to my family too. There were no obligations for me to contribute but I wanted to. At the same time, I started putting aside more than a few cents as savings. This was so helpful when I travelled overseas to study. It got a little tougher here – I hate borrowing cash, or asking my family for more money and so I had to rely on myself making sure I had enough for each month. I learned a few things along the way…
- Keep track: I started taking note of every expense and became more aware of how much I had left to spend for the month. Even when I shop with no limits, there was always a limit. Recently I also started colour-coding each expense as – necessary, unnecessary, 50/50 and fun. Visuals make things a lot more eye-catching and helps you to learn and adjust your spending habits for the next month.
- Use perks: Discounts here and there are great. If you realise that you will be heading to the supermarket regularly and they have loyalty/point/membership card – sign up. I have been pleasantly surprised with vouchers in my mail (with terms & conditions) or money-off because I had some points-to-cash conversion. This is especially important if you’re a student, use that!
- One mode: Either withdraw a sensible amount of cash and not use your cards, or use only one card with a limit to your spending. Some lets you have two accounts under one name where you are only allowed to use one of it, so keep most of your cash in the second. When you set reasonable boundaries, it helps you. You get reminded about why you did that in the first place.
Do you have any tips and tricks?