Who doesn’t dream to be rich one day? I’m sure most of us dream to escape from the rat race and be financially independent. But we have to face the fact that being rich is not something that can happen overnight, just like losing weight or getting a promotion, it requires time and dedication to plan and execute.
Other than participating in online paid surveys (check out our community of online paid surveys now!), where we can earn some extra cash, there are two key factors that we should know before we start preparing ourselves to save money: consistency and the ability to self reflect.
“Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come”
-Dwayne Johnson “The Rock”
Consistency is the ability to do the same thing over and over again no matter what the circumstances may be, which leads to the formation of habit. If we add the act of saving money into this equation, where it is something that we make an effort to do it everyday (we don’t have to save much, but consistently executing it daily), it will eventually become a habit for us.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom”
Another key factor to save money is to self reflect, by asking questions to ourselves bring clarity to the reason behind our actions, by understanding the need of why we want to save money helps us to weigh the priorities what we should spend our money on.
These behaviours might seem mundane and insignificant but they do impact our decisions in the long run. Once we are established with these two key factors, let’s run through with 10 must-know ways of saving money:
Spend on The Right Reason
After a month of hustle, it is only logical for us to spend our hard earn paycheck on purposes that benefit us financially in the long run. Can you think of a few?
1.Pay Yourself First
“All I earn is mine to keep”
-George S. Clason “The RIchest Man in Babylon
Consider as a golden rule in personal finance, saving is undoubtedly the most down the earth, practical solution that will never fail us. By putting aside a portion of our income into our savings before begin any purchases or paying any expenses, prevent us from living paycheck to paycheck.
However, we might be wondering how much should we save? A rule of thumb by Elizabeth Warren goes by, whereby 50% of one’s income to be spend on necessities, this include mortgage or rent, car payment, insurance (if applicable), groceries, and so on. 30% on to-buy-list, such as the vacuum cleaner that you have been eyeing for, the family holiday you have been promising months ago, the spa treatment that you feel you deserved it. While the remaining 20%, save it and pay yourself.
So, be consistent to set aside a sum of money to put into your savings account, even better, set up an auto debit service to transfer a portion of your salary into your saving account. That way, it will reduce your chances of using up your entire paycheck.
2. Make Use of Provident Fund
Available in many countries, the provident fund is compulsory retirement saving scheme that is managed by the government for salaried employees. The employer and employee will have to contribute a certain percentage of their basic salary every month to the employee provident fund, whereby the employee will be able to withdraw the money when he/ she retires.
It is safe to say that provident fund is a risk-free investment (after all, it is backed by the government) and yields a higher interest rate than what bank normally offers. The interest rate of the provident fund varies depending on the countries.
Based on FY 2018, Malaysia’s Employees Provident annual dividend rate is about 6.8%; Singapore's Central Provident Fund, specifically the Special Account which is meant for retirement purpose, has an annual interest rate roughly up to 5%; whereas India’s Employee’s Provident Fund annual interest rate is around 8.65%.
In a nutshell, the interest obtained from the investment has been reinvested again and again till the day you retire, can you imagine how much interest earned in total by the time you can withdraw?
Save Money on Socialising
It is human nature to socialise and connect with each other, as we learn values, behaviours, and norms from each other. Nowadays, socialising has become a norm or even a necessity whereby, the thought of me going to the gym alone, might sound weird to many people.
Imagine the money we spend on dining, movies, drinking, and other sorts of activities, just to socialise with others. Are we going overboard and over budget? We, humans, are social animals by nature, but there are ways that we can control on saving money on socialising:
3. Frequency of Socialising
Isn’t it astonishing by just looking at the numbers? Many people have fallen into the trap of socialising for the sake of socialising and overlooked the gist of socialising. Sometimes, by doing some self reflection prior to agreeing to an invitation can help us to understand ourselves better on why are we agreeing to attend a gathering. Here is a cheat sheet that might be able to guide on us on our self reflection:
Cheat sheet on how to self reflect prior attending an event/ gathering/ occasion/ whatever-you-name-it
- Stop : Stop responding immediately and take a step back when the question “Do you wanna join us on xxx event?” pops out. Don’t hurry to agree / reject the invitation, ask for more time to consider and think through it.
- Look: Look through the objective behind the invitation, what’s the purpose of this gathering? Identify whether the gathering is it work related or a private meetup. Discover the requirements needed to attend the invitation. Is it free of charge or you need to pay for something, be it the food, the drinks, the entrance fee or the transport?
- Listen: Listen to your judgement and assess your inner thoughts on this invitation.
- Will I be happy from attending this gathering?
- Will this event be beneficial to my career or goal?
- Do I truly want to know more about this person or I’m feeling afraid to hurt this person’s feeling?
- Is this an event/ gathering something like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or it happens every month?
- Act: Based on your judgement, act accordingly and take the necessary steps needed. If I agreed to the invitation, how should I go about to minimize my expenditure? If I rejected the invitation, what will be my reason to tell?
By going through self-reflection, it helps us to weigh out the priorities and allow us to be in control on the frequency of socialising, indirectly helping us to save some penny too!
4. Alternative Form of Hanging Out
Socialising can appear in many forms, from working in the office together to catching a movie in the theatre; from studying in the classroom together to playing at the amusement park. Whether we are working or studying or just having some good time together, socialising can take place regardless. So why frame our mindset to conform to certain activities as socialising when socialising can take place at any time and anywhere? Aside from the obvious that we just mentioned earlier, why not try out some alternative form of hanging out?
In a nutshell, money shouldn’t be holding us back from socialising, we just need to look at it from another perspective and be creative of what we can do.
Shopping and Saving
Ways to save money during shopping? Be a smart shopper instead of being thrifty. Not that being thrifty is not a good thing, but sometimes we have to work smart, not just hard. Being able to identify the reason to shop in the first place, helps more than trying to bargain during shopping when comes to saving money. Why bother to shop when there isn’t a need?
5. Be a Smart Shopper
There is always a reason that motivates us to act, so first thing first, identify the need to shop. Here is a quick guide to be a smart shopper:
- Why: Why do I need to shop?
- My pantry is empty?
- Someone’s birthday is coming up?
- My appliances broke down?
- I’m having a bad day?
- What: What do I need to buy?
- Gifts? What would the person need?
- Replacement of my spoilt appliances?
- No idea?
- Where: Where should I buy the items I need?
- Should I go to the physical store or can I buy online?
- If is to a physical store, which branch is nearest to my place?
- If is buying online, which website offers the best price? Does it has free delivery?
- Should I checkout the real item in a physical store first and purchase it online?
- Which: Which brand should I get?
- Is this brand reliable?
- Does this brand offers good customer service?
- Is the price of this brand under my budget?
- Are the ingredients harmful/ beneficial to me?
- How: How should I pay for my items?
- Credit card or cash?
- Which form of payment benefits me?
- Do I get cashback/ discounts/ rebate?
- Do I have vouchers or coupon that I can utilise?
Be truthful to yourself because once you identify the needs, is easier for you to pursue what you want. It may seem that that’s a long list to think through, but if this self reflection can be done consistently every time before we shop, it will come very naturally to us just like any other habit. In the long run, it can help us to save money by keeping unplanned purchases at bay.
6. Budget, Shopping Lists, and Distraction
Being a smart shopper with the intention to save money, budget and shopping list are your best friend. They can give you a rough idea of how much you should be expecting to spend and keep your expenditure in check. According to CNBC, the average U.S consumer spend about $5400 annually on impulse buys, and that’s a lot! So take your time to think through what you actually need to buy, gather them into a shopping list, be it in your phone or on a piece of paper, as long as it is jotted down. This helps to narrow down our attention in planning the appropriate budget and prevent us from unplanned purchases.
Prior to shopping, it is good to conduct some research regarding price comparison and discounts offer from different store, but also beware of lucrative deals that you do not need.
“Approximately 64% of Americans found to shop impulsively if there’s a deal, among that, 40% bought something because of a coupon was mailed to them.”
-According to website Retail Leader,
Even though you may miss a what-seem-to-be very appealing deal, but where’s the loss when you don’t need it in the first place? So planning before going to a shopping trip is crucial to keep you focus on the things you need in the first place. If possible, make a habit to pay your expenses by cash as this allows you to constantly be reminded of how much you have left and when is time to go home.
Save Money While Travelling
Travelling has become part of our daily necessity in the modern world, whether it’s to school, work or holiday. With the advancement of technology, there are many forms of vehicles we can choose to travel.
7. Make Use of Public Transportation and Carpool
Using public transportation not only helps you save on your vehicle expenditures, but it is also very beneficial to the environment. Omitting the fuel and car maintenance fee, you can also skip the hassle of finding a place to park your car. If public transport is not an option at your place, why not carpooling with your colleagues or friends?
If your destination is in the same direction as theirs, try asking if they are okay to fetch you along, you can offer to pay the tolls or split the cost of the fuel as a token of gratitude. Some drivers who have the habit of giving a ride to those who are going to the same destination as them, do occasionally post their latest schedule on social media. Depending on the driver, some do ask for a fee, some don’t, so do keep an eye to check out. There are some app such as Uber and Hitch that provides carpooling services as well.
8. Airfare and Destination
Airfares and overseas trips can incur quite a bit of cost so if you are planning for a getaway, make a habit to gather all the necessary information from all the airlines and travel companies, to know the prices and see all the packages they are offering respectively. This will help you get a good gauge of where to buy your ticket or tour package from, and knowing when is the peak season of booking and etc., is also important to help minimize your expenses. Information is power after all. Destination plays an important role too when comes to budgeting. Instead of overseas, why not give yourself a chance to explore some undiscovered sights and places in your country which you had never seen before. There is so much you can do while having fun at a cheaper cost!
Source from Geeky Explorer
A survey by Frozen Food Digest found out that, in the US, an average Joe spends about 2 hours a day in eating and drinking, which makes up to 60 hrs a month and 720 hours a year! That’s not including chit-chatting with your friends and families during meals or ordering from the menu.
As eating takes up a big portion in our daily life, isn’t it worth for us to sit down and look through our eating habits? By eating consciously helps us to be aware of what we tend to put into our mouths and better for us to gauge how much we spend on our meals.
9. Eating Out vs. Home Cooked Food
Let’s face it, for many of us who is not a professional cook, eating out does sound a whole lot tastier than what we cook. But what is the price that we need to pay?
“The typical food establishment charges a 300% markup on the items it serves”, according to USA TODAY, which means if we spend $30 on a meal in a restaurant, we could otherwise prepare the same meal for just $10 if we choose to cook at home.
In a month time, we could save about $600. The amount might seem small but within a year time, we are potentially saving $7200! But it is undeniable that eating out does save the hassle of prepping, cooking and washing the dishes, which might be beneficial for people who don’t have time to do so.
As for dining at home, the preparation is slightly more tedious than the former, whereby the grocery shopping and cooking utensils are needed. Without proper planning, food can go wasted and so does our money.
Both options has its benefits and downside, and it’s not necessary for you to commit wholeheartedly in just one option. Again, by doing some self reflection before making a decision provides you a deeper understanding on how to save money in a smart way.
10. Good Diet = Good Health = Save Money
Good health can indeed lower the need for medical attention. But what would actually be the cost of unhealthy eating? According Bloomberg US, fast food franchises have been increasing their prices to maintain margins as wages and workers expenses rise. Burgers sold in fast food restaurants have a steep increase of 26% over the past four years. Let’s check out the comparison below:
Information sourced from The New York Times
This a comparison between fast food (McDonald’s) and home cooked meal (chicken, potatoes and salad) for a family of four. Contrary to popular belief, fast food seems to cost more compared to a home cooked meal. In terms of nutritional facts, even though a home cooked meal has more calories, but it is rich in macronutrients where a fast food meal might be lacking.
Another consequences of eating unhealthily can be found in the statistic shown by UK Government:
Picture sourced from GOV.UK - Public Health England
Obesity is just one of the common phenomenon caused by unhealthy diet that happened to many people, and there are still many complications that can develop due to obesity such as, increased risk of certain cancer, high chance to develop high blood pressure (which is a risk factor for heart diseases) and the likelihood to develop type 2 diabetes.
Picture sourced from GOV.UK - Public Health England
It is a butterfly effect that has immeasurable aftermath, and with the rising healthcare cost, can we afford to be sick?
According to Today News, Singapore’s medical inflation rate has increased to 15 percent, compared with 10 percent globally. All and all, by choosing to eat healthily can prevent diseases and sickness, thus lower the chances of consulting a doctor or being admitted into the hospitals, along with the medical fees that come together.
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away”
Whatever food that we put into our body has the ability to determine our health, and we have the choice to pick what we eat. So be conscious of our diet, as good health leads us to save more money, after all, health is wealth isn’t it?
Ultimately, regardless of your income bracket, saving money is essential in your path and quest to improve your financial state. This is all but consistency and self reflection, take your time to cultivate good habits as they provide a strong foundation in your journey to grow wealth. There’s no hard and fast rule to save money, but finding a one that suits your lifestyle in a long run. Remember, if you were always waiting for the perfect opportunity to look for an alternate source of income, you can always join our community of online paid surveys now!
Comment down below on your ways of saving money, and that’s how we can learn from each other. Till then, all the best!