Half of the year has gone by. You check your savings account and you see that you’re not nearly halfway to your target savings amount. During the start of the year, you’ve made a plan on how to save more. But as months go by, you start forgetting to put away some money or have spent the money to buy something “important.”
To be honest, it’s tough maintaining the habit of saving towards the end of the year. Here are some tips to help you meet your financial target.
1. Keep your coins.
Let’s start with something easy—keep your coins. Sometimes, when we drop our coins while walking, we forget about them and moved on. In some stores, cashiers don’t even bother to give your change if it’s less than 1 peso. But what we forget is that these coins add up! So, pick up your coins and demand for your chump change. Place them in a jar and watch them add up by the end of the year.
2. Pack your own lunch and snacks.
Usually, lunch out at a restaurant costs 100-250 pesos per serving. Cooking your own lunch costs less than that. You can buy ingredients in bulk which will save you some money. Another benefit is you get to cook food that you really like. Don’t know how to cook? Try cooking simple viands like fried chicken or porkchops. When you’re confident to try some challenges, check out recipes of food you like and learn how to cook them. Alternately, try packing your own snacks. Instead of going to your nearby coffee shop to buy a bagel, why not create your own sandwich? A simple peanut butter sandwich is easy to make and tastes so much better. Saving 50 pesos may seem small, but these small amounts will definitely build up towards the end of the year.
3. Make your own coffee.
Speaking of coffee, make your own! You’ll save a lot of money by avoiding coffee shops. Yes, they’re comfy and welcoming. You’re heart and tummy flutters when the barista calls out your name. But if you really want to save a few bucks, better keep your visits to a bare minimum. In some offices, pantries are equipped with coffee makers, use them! If you buy coffee grounds for the price of one venti drink, it’ll last for at least a week.
4. Spend time at home.
Instead of going out every night, take the time to relax and have fun in your own home. Want to watch a movie? Grab a DVD. How about some spa time? Lather up and take a nice hot bath. Of course, you don’t have to be an outcast to save some money. Arrange a sleepover or a potluck dinner with your friends. You’ll be able to spend quality time with them for less the expense.
5. Sell items you don’t need anymore.
Take a look at your closet. Do you have outfits you’re not using anymore? How about some of your shoes or gadgets? Declutter your life and make a profit. Make some money by selling things you no longer need. Your profit can be added to your savings!
6. Record your expenses.
Of course, saving money means you have to create a budget plan and stick to it! Best way to stay on budget is to know what expenses you’ve been making. Nothing beats seeing how much money you spent on retail therapy to make you re-evaluate how much money you could’ve been saving. Listing down your expenses will help you determine how to spend your money in the next few months. What expenses can you avoid for a while? What expenses should you prioritize? Having a record can also help you determine what kind of spender you are. That way, you can know how to stop yourself when you’re spending over your set budget.
7. Keep away from your credit cards.
For the next few months, hide your credit cards. It’ll be easier to control your spending if you know there’s no money to spend. Since credit cards are virtual money, there’s a tendency to overspend without realizing that you’ve gone over your budget. If you use cash in all your transactions, you’ll be more mindful whenever you’re shopping.
8. Make sure to research on the items you do need to buy.
Saving money doesn’t mean you have to stop buying things. However, it is better to prioritize spending money on items you actually need instead on those you don’t. But in doing so, it’s important to plan your purchases—especially if those purchases will be expensive. Research on the item. Find out if you can get a better deal from another store. Or better yet, find out if that item gives the bang for your buck. Knowing the details of your purchase will help you to avoid dipping into your savings fund.
9. Shop wisely.
Be on the lookout for sales. Promos and discounts are always available at the latter part of the year. If there’s really a need to purchase a new blouse or a new phone, it may at least be a couple of bucks less than its original price.
10. Buy Christmas gifts early!
Okay, since we’re talking about buying stuff, we might as well talk about the most expensive time of the year. Instead of buying all of your gifts during December, start buying gifts now. Spread out your Christmas shopping from now until December so you won’t have to spend all your money in a one-time big-time shopping spree. And because you’ll be buying gifts during off-season, prices won’t be that high. Again, take advantage of the sales. Just make sure you won’t go crazy on the gift-giving and start buying gifts for yourself.
Other than that, make sure you create good spending and money-saving habits. There’s no doubt that you’ll be able to save a lot by the end of the year. The only question is how will you spend your money? Go on a vacation or buy a car. Better yet, invest the money so you can earn and save more. Whichever way you choose, saving money will guarantee you a sense of security and accomplishment. Happy saving!
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Lorey is a small girl with a big appetite for love, life, culture, and food. Yes, most especially, food.