Supposing you want to take that dream vacation, and you know you are going to have to save up to pay for it. Imagine, you need to buy a new car and would like to buy a new car rather than a pre-loved one. Let’s say, you’re trying to save money to buy a property.
But where are the savings going to come from? Do you just barely make it to the end of the month before you run out of money and are desperately awaiting your next paycheque? Chances are if you are reasonably well off that you pay little or no attention to your spending habits. Instead, you just float from one paycheque to the next without ever stopping to think where all your money goes.
If you’ve found yourself in a situation of having to or even wishing to save, the first thing you are going to have to do is analyze your spending. It’s only by becoming aware of what kind of spender you are that you will be able to find ways of increasing your savings.
Analyze Your Current Spending
For starters, though you may well have a habit of doing this, you need to evaluate how much you are spending on essentials like rent or mortgage payments, utilities, transport, food, phone, insurance and all other regularly incurred expenses.
You will be contractually tied to each one of the above providers and may not be in a position to change, however, things like phone and insurance contract are renewable on an annual basis. Consequently, before rolling over into a new contract, check out what the competition are charging. Could you get a better insurance quote? Is a different network cheaper than your current cellphone provider? Would you consider moving to a different part of town to pay less rent?
All of the above should potentially be up for debate, especially given the fact that savings could be significant in these areas.
How Do You Spend Your Disposable Income?
As simple as it may sound, it’s a good idea tracking your spending, initially over the period of one month. Don’t change your spending habits, just track them during this first month. There are a variety of free apps available. By entering all the information, these apps gather all the data and produce a report illustrating your spending patterns. By the end of the first month, you will know exactly where all your cash went, all you need to do is be diligent about this process.
Furnished with all the information, you will now be able to identify where you could potentially make savings. You may have realized that an excessive amount of money goes toward eating out all the time, or that you spend more than is sensible on clothes you do not really need. Ultimately, you will get to know yourself as a spender and will then be able to “correct your spending” to allow you to save instead.
Create a Budget and Spend Wisely
Identify the areas where cutting back on spending will hurt the least and allocated the saved cash for that dream vacation. Small, seemingly insignificant savings will add up over time and produce nice savings. You may decide to just spend when you need to and refrain from indulging in unnecessary luxuries.
Be sensible though, if you immerse yourself in total austerity, you will just end up feeling miserable. Sometimes, spending a little more can produce long-term savings. Items of superior quality may cost more initially but are likely to go the distance.
Ask Yourself “Do I Really Need this?” and Shop Around
You can easily save money by cutting out all the non-essential spending. By simply distinguishing between wants and needs, you will find lots of ways to stash spare cash away.
When spending, shop around to find the best price, avail of special offers, and use coupons where possible.
Remain Focused on Your Dream
Saving can be difficult at times and reminding yourself of the reason for doing so in the first place will go a long way toward enabling you to stay disciplined. Hang a picture of your dream holiday destination or must-have car on your refrigerator and rejoice every time you look at your ever-increasing savings account balance.