Today, I want to share with you a very valuable nugget of wisdom about money: The number one contributor to your savings is NOT the amount of income you earn in one month.
Savings is all about your habits and attitude towards money. And thankfully, these are things that we can control and develop in ourselves.
If you are the type of person who lives from paycheck-to-paycheck, TODAY is the best time to start evaluating your spending habits and to work on filling up that piggy bank.
In case you find the mere idea of straightening up your financial situation intimidating, fear not: for there are some very basic, small habits that you can easily inculcate into your everyday lifestyle. Trust me, saving does not have to be tedious.
Have a concrete goal
As one of my favorite authors, the late Stephen Covey, advised, “Begin with the end in mind.”
Write down in exact figures how much you want to put into your savings and your investments, and how much budget you are working with each month. Determine your timelines. If you want to save up for your first million, decide when you want to achieve that and work for it.
As a rule of thumb, you should have at least 6 months worth of living expenses in your savings account- and it should be readily-accessible, should you need it.
And remember: Always live below your means.
Figure out where your money is dripping into. Get a notebook, bring it with you everywhere and start listing down everything you are spending on. Or you can also use your trusty mobile phone to take down notes.
Write down EVERYTHING. That includes that P20 bill you handed over for street parking, or the P5 you rewarded the security guard for his assistance. Be as detailed as possible.
There are various methods to accomplish this list. If it is hard for you to take notes every time, one option can be to have an envelope or small pouch where you can place all the receipts you have for the month- and then sit down to consolidate them all once a week, twice a month or once a month.
Once you have your list of expenses, try to identify which of these are actual needs (must haves) and which one are the wants (nice to have). Your goal is to make the second group smaller.
Are you spending your money in line with your personal values and objectives? Are you prioritizing the more important things or are the trivial things eating up a big slice of your monthly funds?
Don’t buy things that you do not need is a classic, and still very practical piece of advice.
In our fast food culture, we have gotten used to getting what we want and getting it NOW.
When you see something that you like, make it a habit to step back and ask yourself- do I really need it and why? Avoid impulse buys- Wait for one week and check if you still like that item as much as you did seven days ago.
Compare prices and products- you might find a better deal.
Resist the temptation and you will develop the discipline- not just in your spending habits, but also in all aspects in your life.
Make it fun!
If you view saving as a chore, then you will have a hard time being successful at it.
Make saving something that you enjoy doing. Always have visual reminders of the rewards you can have once you put your financial matters in order.
Be creative. I know someone who challenged himself to put any P20 bill he gets his hands on straight to his piggy bank. It seemed petty at first, but guess what? He saved up at least P10,000 at the end of the year!
Let money work for you
After you have worked hard to have your desired savings amount and have a good sum that you can use, it might be tempting to splurge on a new gadget or a trip.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with rewarding yourself- but here’s an idea: why don’t you use that fund to generate additional cash flow through investments?
Manulife has several investment options- and all of them even come with a guaranteed life long insurance protection for your loved ones.
Our Affluence Series provides the flexibility of either a one-time placement or 5-10 years annual premiums.
The best thing about investments is that your money can grow while you sleep.
Call your financial adviser or contact us here to learn more.