Much of the world has been given a small portion due to the grave effects of the pandemic. Sickness, unemployment, budget cuts, and other painful transitions can give us a taste of poverty. Being in this situation allows to take a closer look at our finances.
How is your financial health? Before anything else, evaluate your financial objectives and assess your spending and saving patterns. Ask yourself why you want to save and what your priorities are. This is to ensure that you know which path to take to reach your desired goals. Afterwards, review your cashflow and create an allocation plan. Move any excess funds to a bank account to help facilitate discipline against impulsive spending. Choose a bank with a high interest rate.
Other lifestyle changes include automating your finances, shopping smartly in supermarkets, switching to generic products, discussing about household finances, and going on a cash-only diet. Let us start with automating your finances.
Most bills can be paid online and many establishments have the option of setting up automatic payments. Try automating consistent payments for fixed costs such as your telecom, insurance, Netlix, or Spotify bill. This way, you will not miss a billing statement and will not incur late fees. You may also apply automation to your credit-card bills, if you want smoother transactions.
Secondly, you must use savvy shopping strategies in the supermarket such as using a coupon. Coupons can help you save a lot, especially when you are buying in bulk. Grocery tricks such as employing the numbers game – wherein they will put an irrational price of “S$3.99 or S$3.96” (instead of S$4) can trick your mind into saving more. Watch out for this!
If you are grocery shopping, it is best to shop on a full stomach. Shopping on an empty stomach may cost you a lot. Your feelings of hunger can make everything enticing, including junk food and other unnecessary items. Try eating a healthy snack before heading to the store. Your wallet and your tummy will thank you for that.
Thirdly, you may switch to generic products whenever possible. My sister and I recently went to the pharmacy to pick up some antibiotics. Interestingly, the generic brand was three times cheaper than the branded ones. You have to weigh your options and consider generic products for items such as toiletries and pet supplies. What is important to you? What are you willing to sacrifice? Only you can answer these questions.
Fourthly, you must discuss your finances with your spouse or partner. Knowing each other’s spending patterns and financial plans can help you set a life of success. Dealing with financial issues is something that most couples have to do. However, you have to do it as a team. Get comfortable talking about money, because a single conversation will not suffice. Reduce your electric and water bills by conserving water and switching off the lights when not in use. Use money-saving household cleaning hacks that enable you to make your own cleaning products.
Lastly, you may go on a cash-only diet. This entails that you will ditch you plastic cards for a month or a certain period. It takes a lot of self-control and patience. Buy things that can only be bought through your allocated cash. When your cash runs out, you will be out of funds until your next scheduled withdrawal. Spend and plan wisely!