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10 Amazing Things You Gain By Spending Less

10 Amazing Things You Gain By Spending Less

Our lives are consumed by constant sense of worth through material items. Do you have the latest TV technology? Do you drive a brand new car?

We are led by our money. We feel that we need money, to buy these material items, in the hope that it will lead us to happiness. I can tell you now, you are wrong. You don’t need money to be happy and spending less will actually relieve you from the stress. Here are 10 amazing things you will gain from spending less.

1. You’ll have a reduced-stress retirement 

Are you in your work pension? Do you ever worry what you are paying in won’t be enough? Do you worry your current spendings will mean a low-budget retirement? But spending less will ease that stress. Remember retirement is about taking it easy, not about appearing wealthy. You have done your years of working hard and saving (for that TV, that car, that house). Now is the time to unwind and to spend time with family and friends. Your stressful days are done.

2. You’ll be free to do what you love

Do you ever feel that there is not enough time for your hobbies? I know I do. I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll take some photos on my DSLR tonight.” Tonight comes and I become busy working out my finances and worrying about what I need to buy. Next thing I know, it’s nearly bed time and all I want to do is watch TV.

Freeing yourself from money worries will open the door to new possibilities. Stop spending your time thinking of things that you need. You don’t need new surround sound, or to replace those salt and pepper mills (because they don’t match the rest of the kitchen). Free yourself from those worries and spend the time doing the things you love. Say, “No, I have finished work for the day, now it is me time”. Spend that time on whatever you love, whether it is painting or reading a book. Whatever it may be, the options are in your hands.

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3. You’ll be free to prepare for emergencies

Disaster strikes and with it your bank balance drops drastically. And those car repairs or vet bills cannot wait for a more convenient time. As a result your overdraft, credit card and future bills are left in a confusing and catastrophic state.
Spending less means that you have the opportunity to put away savings. That way, when disaster strikes, you won’t be left penniless. You feel at ease knowing that you have those savings set aside should you need it.

4. You’ll have less clutter

Do you ever look around your room and think, why did I buy that? Or perhaps you have glanced at the endless items you have in storage and wondered why you bought it.

If you are spending less, that clutter won’t accumulate. Imagine the relief from having only items you need, not a mountain of junk. This can be very stress reliving as you will have less time needed for de-cluttering.

5. You’ll be free of debt

The credit card statement has come through. The amount of debt is frightening and you wonder how you will pay it back.

Wouldn’t you feel better if there were no debts to worry about? Of course you would. Freeing yourself from constant spending will make it easy to become debt free. Focus less on the ‘wants’ in life, which snatch away your money. Choose to cease spending and use your money on things you need.

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By becoming debt free, you will take the pressure of yourself. You won’t be frequently worrying about how you are going to pay it back. Another benefit of this is your credit score will not be affected.

6. You’ll be free to travel and see the world

Your mind is wandering again at work. You imagine how blissful it would be to be free to travel, to see the world. If only that was reality. But it could be with the correct approach.

Spending less opens you up to new opportunities, including travelling. If you can learn to spend less, you are more than capable of exploring the world. Not only will you have the money set aside (see point 3), but you will have the right attitude for travelling. Travelling is about exploring other cultures, with food and shelter being the only necessity. You will find yourself experiencing different lifestyles, not wasting time on going shopping. Remember, you should spend money on experiences, not on material items.

7. You’ll have happier relationships

Ever had a row with your partner because he spent money on the credit card? And the argument just seems to keep going, spiralling out of control, until you have forgotten what you were arguing about.

Money puts a strain on our relationships. We shouldn’t let it affect our relationships, yet it does. We all fear being financially unstable and not being able to afford things. Unfortunately we tend to vent out of worries and frustrations on our un-expecting partners. However, if you are spending less, making you financial stable, there will be less strain on your relationship. You can’t argue if you aren’t constantly spending. This results in happier relationships.

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8. You’ll learn new skills

Do you feel like you never have the time to learn a new skill? Have you always been meaning to learn a new language, but never got around to it?

Spending less money will free up your time. Just think about how much time you spend on useless money spending; searching online for a new wardrobe, finding the latest gaming gadgets, bargain hunting, the list goes on. With all this free time on your hands, you can finally learn that new skill. You can learn a new language or learn DIY tricks, whatever tickles your fancy.

9. You’ll be healthier

Finances restrict us. They take up our time, our energy and resources. You may feel that you don’t have time to work out, or you’re so stressed you need to pig out. As a result, your health takes a hit.

Spending less will greatly boost your health. It will take away your stress as you are no longer fretting over finances. That spare time you have gained will allow you to work out. You will have your full attention on your eating habits and be less likely to stress eat.

10. You’ll enjoy life

Our day-to-day lives are fairly manic. We get caught up in life’s motions that we forget to enjoy the moment. Among these culprits is money spending. It is regularly on our to-do lists; buy milk, find Hayley a cool birthday present, buy new yoga pants.

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This is where the true beauty of spending less comes to play. Our focus on money takes away life’s joys, straining our lives and turning our focus on material items. Spending less teaches us that we don’t need these things to be happy. It allows us to look at the current moment we are in, to appreciate what we have and to experience life.

Life is too beautiful to spend it worrying about material things.

Featured photo credit: sufinawaz via freeimages.com

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Jessica Charlotte

Jessica loves sharing her tips on life. She writes about happiness and motivation on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on September 2, 2020

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

1. Be Clear About the Objectives

Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

2. Keep Goals Realistic

It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

3. Account for Inflation

Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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4. Short Term Vs Long Term

Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

  • Ensuring healthy savings
  • Making smart investments

You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

Ensuring Healthy Savings

Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

1. Track Expenses

The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

2. Pay Yourself First

Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

  • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
  • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
  • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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5. Talk About It

Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

6. Maintain a Journal

For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

Making Smart Investments

Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

1. Consult a Financial Advisor

Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

Einstein once remarked about compounding:

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

Use compound interest when setting financial goals

    Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

    Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

    4. Measure, Measure, Measure

    All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

    If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

    Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

    The Bottom Line

    Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

    and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

    More Tips on Financial Goals

    Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

    Reference

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