This article was published in +977 (a Nepalese Lifestyle Magazine in Australia) in March 2014 issue.
Many times I have had people ask me how I manage to save money to travel, to do various activates and go to concerts. Most of them are in the same boat as me with big mortgage, ever-rising cost of living in Sydney and working average paying jobs. I hadn’t given it a thought until recently so here is my answer.
First and foremost you need to have the willingness to save money. Everyone wants to win a 50 million lotto and take their life from there but that is not going to happen with most of us so one must mentally prepare oneself to save money. It is easy to spend it but very hard to save it.
Second thing is willingness to do things. In Nepali there is a proverb, “Ta aat ma puraunchhu” which translates to you try and I will make sure you succeed. Unless and until you try to do something how will you know if you can or can’t do that. It is better to fail after trying than never attempting at all.
After that it’s all about being disciplined and sticking to the plan. Here are some simple tips I follow to get my saving in line:
- Make a list of things you want to do in writing and pin that somewhere visible. Seeing something in writing everyday will encourage to reach your goal.
- Make a note of every spending, even for 20 cents and put that in an excel spreadsheet. Look at the incomes and expenses and see where you can cut down. This will give you a clear idea of your finance rather than just assumptions. Do this for at least a month.
- Looking at the excel sheet, you will realise that food/grocery is one of the biggest spender apart from rent/mortgage so be smart while buying groceries. Plan your meals ahead and make a list so nothing goes to waste. Never waste food and never comprise on food quality. You won’t enjoy your saving if you have poor health.
- Takeaway lunches are quick but they are not healthy and they make a big hole in your wallet. Try to take lunches from home and treat yourself with takeaway occasionally.
- If you are a heavy coffee or soft drink drinker, check how much you are spending a day on your drinks. You will be surprised how much that amounts to in a year. If you can’t live without your drinks look for cheaper alternative like making your own espresso or buying cold drinks in bulk.
- It is tempting to buy on impulse when shopping so make a budget and stick to it while you are in malls. It is easy to ignore the budget when you fall in love with the perfect dress that you have been looking for months but remember that dress you loved so much will still be around next week. And what are you going to do with the dress if you can’t afford your next planned holiday.
- If you are saving for holiday, house, wedding, kids’ education, put aside a certain amount each month/ paycheck in a separate account and never touch this money.
- Always have emergency money and never use it unless it is a real emergency. Staying so far from our family, you never know when you will need that.
- Try to experiment just once for a whole day not spending a cent. Take lunch and snacks from home to work and do not buy anything. At the end of the day think about it and realise that you just made XX amount working whole day and not even a cent was spent. Isn’t that a great feeling? Don’t you want to have that feeling more often? I do. 🙂
- By following these tips, you are not becoming a miser but being money smart.
The most important thing to remember is: don’t stop living your life because you want to save money. You live only once so no point having millions in your bank account when you die. At the same time, you don’t want to be careless with your money that you have to struggle when you retire.
Good luck and HAPPY SAVING!!!