Like most things in life that require a little discipline, saving money is easier said than done. Often, the most difficult part of it is getting started. What you need right from the get-go is a plan – which means you should set some goals.
These steps will help you get going.
Note your expenses
Obviously, the starting point is looking at your expenses. Try break it all down into categories and don’t leave anything out. Write everything down. Start with the big numbers – rent, transport, insurances, accounts, groceries. Keep track of the small numbers too – coffees, snacks, tips. Now that you have your costs grouped, you can begin the next step.
Here again, some banks have useful tools to help you structure your personal budget plan. Once you have an idea of what you spend in a month, you can begin to organise your recorded expenses into a workable budget. This should measure your expenses against your income – and give you a clear picture of where you’re over-spending and where you can trim. Besides all your monthly commitments and living needs, be sure to allow for those “surprise” expenses, like new tyres or a medical emergency.
Be tough on yourself
Common wisdom is that you should aim to allocate 10% of your income to savings. Not always possible, right? You may have to trim a little here and there. Look at those expenses that you can realistically cut. Usually, the money you spend on yourself or on entertaining others. To make it a little easier on yourself, try thinking of savings as an essential expense, like food or rent. That might help put your “night out” spending into perspective.
One of the best ways to save money is to set a goal. Start by thinking of what you might want to save for—break them down into short-term and long-term lists. Then figure out how much money you’ll need and how long it might take you to save it.
Short-term (1–3 years)
– Unexpected expenses
– Deposit on a vehicle
Long-term (4+ years)
– Home renovations
– Kids education
– Your Retirement
Again, check your bank’s website for savings tools or free Apps.
Open a savings account
Choose a bank that gives you a choice of savings plans to suit your personal goals. Fixed, flexible or tax-free savings plans are available. Compare interest rates and monthly service fees. Having a savings account creates a framework of discipline to help you stick to your plans and reach your goals.