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10 Saving Tricks You Haven’t Tried Yet

10 Saving Tricks You Haven’t Tried Yet

It seems like we can never have enough of cash. Most of us are in the perpetual state of needing more than we earn. Most often, it appears we are actually earning less than what we need. But the reality is quite different. It’s not that we don’t earn enough, it’s actually we don’t save enough. We’re eager to spend as soon as we get our paycheck and thus, how much we earn, we readily spend all of them. The end result is,  we find it difficult to afford things we need the most and often, we might end up turning to loans to save ourselves.

But all of this continual despair and hardship can be avoided. It just takes a bit of self-discipline and wisdom. With proper planning and wise spending, we won’t have much difficulty in making ends meet. Below are the 10 unique and rather unusual saving tricks, often looked over by most of us, which can helps us save a few dollars each month.

1. Partner with someone frugal.

The truth is that not all of us are very wise in terms of making financial decisions. But we could make up for our shortcomings by seeking out a significant other who’s frugal and has a financial head on their shoulders. This is one of the great saving tricks. They help us make better decisions while spending money and keep the balance between earnings and expenditures. One could even focus solely on earning and leave all the works of financial management on the partner’s shoulders.

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2. Unplug.

The plan to execute this trick is quite simple. Unplug just about everything when you are not using it. This includes lights, laptops, coolers, fans, heaters and other such electronic items. This way we can save a significant amount of energy. And, saving valuable energy doesn’t mean we are only contributing to mother earth but also to ourselves. As energy bills make up a significant chunk of our expenditure, with this way, we can spare ourselves a dime or two.

3. Buy fewer clothes.

This one might seem rather silly of the saving tricks. But clothes do make up a significant portion of our expenditures. Moreover, in the case of most adults, they do not actually need to buy more clothes as they already have a fair possession of attires. People often wear only a fewer set of clothes among the ones they possess and rest remain hanging in the closet more often than not. So one could do with buying fewer clothes. For this, going a year without buying clothes could be a good idea.

4. Become good friends with your neighbors.

Well, it’s always good to be friends with more people and more so with one’s neighbors. This way, one doesn’t always need to buy new goods even if they’re required just for a while or even just for once. One can not only turn to their neighbors for help when something is needed at the crucial moment but also look up to them for those things one needs once in a blue moon. This way, a significant amount of unnecessary expenditures can be avoided.

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5. Save your time.

They say time is money and rightfully so. One could save a little bit of time across their activities and add up those moments to do more, leading to some more cash. By saving time, we can use it to do other jobs to make more cash. Time can be saved by avoiding unnecessary chores, which is of course for a person to decide himself/herself, by spending less time on social media, increasing speed at reading and many other ways. By doing works quicker and avoiding waste of time, life can be made significantly more productive. So, search for the moments you can steal every time you’re at work.

6. Graduate sooner.

Normally, bachelor courses are four years long. But one could take more courses in a year so that the program can be completed even within three years. This way, the tuition fees for the courses can’t be reduced as they need to be paid anyway. However, extra annual fees for accommodation, food, libraries and other annual college fees can be avoided. Moreover, you could even avoid potential tuition hikes by paying the fees early. It’s quite challenging but you could save thousands of dollars with this trick.

7. Go shopping at late hours and at sales.

Go shopping at closing hours, just when the owner is about to call it a day. You can bargain and get a few more things at the same price. Furthermore, with late night shopping, you can avoid bustling crowds and won’t need to go through lines at the checkout. And, along the way, you can have your pick of the bargains and markdowns that would otherwise be put out for the next day. This way, you can spare a considerable portion of your monthly budget.

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8. Go vegetarian.

Generally, vegetarian food items are less expensive than even the cheapest varieties of meat. Moreover, vegetarian diets have proven to help reduce the risks of various health hazards, thus avoiding the potentially high medical expenses. So consider going vegetarian and see how much you can save by doing without flesh. Going vegetarian has several benefits, one being that it saves you a considerable share of your budget.

9. Go to bed earlier.

You may be wondering how something like this made the cut. But this one has huge potential, although it is more likely to have never struck more of us than not. The idea is that, going to bed early means we don’t have to use electricity at late hours of the day. We can work with daylight, if we can make up for going to bed early by waking up early in the morning as well. This way, extra expenses which would have to be used for paying electricity bills can be avoided.

10. Buy cheaper versions of goods.

Everyone knows that buying items at a cheaper price will surely help reduce expenses. There’s nothing to fancy about with this idea. But what I’m trying to suggest is that a lot of times, we could do all fine by turning to lesser known brands, which are also the cheaper ones. Let us take the example of Finecoffeeclub. They basically provide coffee capsules to fit Nespresso machines, but at about two-third of the cost of the Nespresso brand. So if you are looking to regularly save money and you are a coffee drinker, this is a great way to go. This is just an example. Most often, prices are inflated just because of the brand name, with not much difference in terms of quality. So this could help you solve a lot of your financial woes.

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Featured photo credit: Tips on saving money via stockrockandroll.com

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Nabin Paudyal

Co-Founder, Siplikan Media Group

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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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