#YOLO and the #AmericanDream are all fine, but have you ever assessed if you are financially able to do what it takes? Have you ever sat down and accounted for your spending and savings? Ever compared how much you can afford to spend vs. how much you actually spend and how much you need to meet your goals vs. how much you end up saving with your current lifestyle? Well, these are merely questions that you may ask yourself today and forget tomorrow but certainly not the way forward if you wish to boost your savings.
To save (or not) is not a question, but a compulsion
Sooner or later you will have to hold yourself accountable for your financial situation. After all, it is you who earns, spends, and saves (or not). When it comes to everyday living, you always have a choice. You had a choice when you earned your first paycheck and you have one now when you are taking home a fat pay. In the end, how you manage your money, depends on your lifestyle. You may have taken to extremely frugal living, a modest lifestyle or even a lavish one.
Depending on what you sowed in the past, you either reap benefits or pay for your actions in the future. But what’s important at this stage is to know that your finances treat you the same way you treat them. If you have spent your money diligently from the start, you should have accumulated handsome savings by now. If not, going forward, you will have to save beyond limits to secure your future. It is that simple really.
Lifestyle changes help you save more
By making small to big lifestyle changes, you can certainly witness your savings rally. Fear not, because asking you to tailor your own clothes is like asking you to go that extra mile, which is scary (because you want to dress decently). So, here are 5 other lifestyle changes that can boost your savings and help improve the quality of your life (as a bonus).
Accounting for every rupee counts
Saving every penny you can help in accumulating a lump sum over time and *every penny* here means coins. Remember the 1, 2, and 5 rupee coins that you slide into your bag or pocket and forget about? Yes, those. When you put all the change in a piggy bank instead, you can save a decent amount and add it to your investment or make better use of it (and no, don’t let them tell you are a miser for doing this).
Pay all your bills on time
Procrastination is the thief of time (and money). Not paying your bills on time attracts fines and drains your finances without you realising it. Depending on the services, the provider either charges penalty in the form of interest or a flat figure. For instance, delaying your credit card payment attracts a high interest of 3% to 4% monthly. Now, imagine what happens when you don’t clear your dues for a couple of months. Needless to say, you will accumulate a fat bill over time and attract hefty interest until you clear the bill.
And let’s not ignore the concept of ‘minimum payment’ on a credit card bill, which is a mere gimmick. Why, do you ask? Well, when you make the minimum payment on your credit card bill, you only avoid a late penalty but in reality, continue to attract interest on the balance amount. This lands you in a never-ending vicious cycle of debt. Add utility bills and EMIs to your monthly liabilities and you will know why you can’t afford to delay bill payments. So, manage your bills wisely to side-step penalties.
Keep a tab on your self-love
Self-love essentially means to love yourself fairly. From going on a shopping spree to buying yourself a cup of Starbucks coffee everyday and dining in a fine-dine restaurant over every weekend, you show yourself love in various ways. But sometimes, you end up going overboard by spending a significant portion of your income to pamper yourself. And too much love is like reckless love, which harms your finances in the long run. Do the math and you will know how.
So what’s the deal? Instead of buying a cup of cappuccino on your way to work, make one for yourself at home or office. Control your impulsive buying behaviour, limit your shopping to the essentials, and only go out of the way during som weekends or deserving occasions such as your birthday or anniversary. By doing this, you can establish healthy boundaries that help you shore up your savings.
Save first and spend later
Another lifestyle change that can make a huge difference to your finances is how you save (or not). You may be one of the two types of people who save. You either spend first and then call the remnants of your income as savings, which is foolishness or save first and then spend the remaining, in which case you are smarty pants.
If you belong to the first category, you need to do some catching up because you are like a driver with no sense of direction. You may have goals but end up saving for them only if you have anything left after meeting your expenses. This way, you will take longer to meet your goals because you won’t have ample savings.
In contrast, when you save first and spend later, you set aside a portion of your income, which gives you limited access to funds and forces you to spend diligently. When you look at the bigger picture, you will be better equipped to realise your dreams and goals because you would have saved generously over time.
Do it yourself
Blame it on the lifestyle or working hours, but millennials heavily depend on help, which is quite expensive. From cooking to mending clothes and fixing the drain to gardening, you may have hired help to sail through the day conveniently. But what you can’t see immediately is by hiring help you are forgoing a significant chunk of your hard-earned money on something that you could easily do yourself. If doing the chores all by yourself is the pain, consider dividing it among your flatmates or with your spouse. When all are on the same page, saving becomes easier.
Repurpose all that you can
Another habit that disrupts your finances is your love for everything shiny. Of course, you need some sparkle in your life, but it doesn’t mean you discard or replace everything that loses lustre. You can always revarnish your old dining table or get a new upholstery for your couch instead of listing it on online reselling portals.
If you want to become rich, you will certainly have to go that extra mile. More so, you will have to embrace a modest lifestyle because that is the only way of saving more, if not simply saving in the first place.