‘Money is only a tool, it will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver’ – Ayn Rand
There is an old adage that suggests that it’s not what we make but what we do with what we make that is important. This is the reason why you may have two individuals earning the same amount but can live very differently.
A reliable and consistent saving habit will encourage you to squirrel away your money and help it grow.
But how, exactly, do you create a good saving habit in the first place?
The very first step towards putting a good savings habit in place is to examine your spending habits. Do you spend to impress your peer group? Or do you spend to meet other people’s expectations?
Once you have understood your spending habits, you now need to explore your motives for saving. Write down your financial goals and make them specific. For example, you could want to buy your own home or you may wish to invest in a college fund for your children.
Set a goal
Set a deadline for yourself and keep the timeframe realistic and doable. Also remember to place the deadline where you are able to see it several times during the day; on your dressing table or kitchen counter would be a good choice.
Learn to track expenses
When you track your expenses for the first few times, you might be shocked at where the money goes! This is all the more reason why you should analyse your expenses. Make it a point of doing it every week. This kind of conscious analysis will also reveal hidden spending patterns.
Divide your expenses into different categories for easy readability. For example, you can consider splitting them into rent, food, utilities, leisure etc. This will help identify the categories that seem to be consuming more money. For instance, you may discover that your electricity bills are too high.
Pay yourself first
Remember to put away the savings amount first even if you have outstanding debts. Work on the concept of paying yourself first and factor yourself in as a debtor that must be paid. Consider paying the saving amount before you start spending for the month. Always save before you spend as it’s nearly impossible to do it the other way round.
If you have money left over from the previous month, resist the impulse to spend it. Think twice about whether you really do need what you’re about to buy. Would you rather save the money and watch your finances grow instead?
Saving money is important because it provides financial security, helps you realise your financial goals and allows you to have fun without incurring debt.
It can be easy to read lists like this and feel completely overwhelmed and throw in the towel. But saving doesn’t have to be a huge change, Woroch says. “If you’re new to saving, start small. It’s easier to adapt to a small change than a complete life overhaul,” she explains. “So begin by automating a small amount each week and when you become accustomed to saving that amount and living off what you have left, increase it by a little. You’ll continue creating a better savings habit each time.”