Ever wondered why you’re always out of money despite always sticking to your “frugal” measures?
You’re working hard, get a good pay, and yet you struggle to make it to the next payday. Clearly it’s not how you’re earning. It’s how you’re saving.
Saving money is like losing weight. You can employ a variety of methods, but they’d only work if you do them right.
Here are five wrong ways to save money and five ways to stay on track.
1. Chasing the red tags (buying an item on sale just because it’s on sale)
Everyone loves red tags. Even the most frugal spender can go crazy over the sight of a poster that says “SALE” or “Buy one, take one.”
Pop quiz: When you buy a P4,000 jacket you don’t really need for a sale price of P1,500, did you save P2,500 or did you spend P1,500?
The right way to go about it, really, is to plot a schedule of your purchases at the start of the year depending on when they’re on sale. Splurging only during sale season can also actually be a perfect reward for yourself and make sure you get a good bargain as well.
2. Going for the cheaper options (rather than the quality ones)
Frugality isn’t always about being thrifty and going for the cheaper, lower quality options. Doing so will not give you the same outcome all the time.
It is so easy to get caught up in thinking that you can save money by buying the cheapest version of whatever you need because “saving money” is your top priority. However, price tags have no real reflections of the quality of the products that it is selling.
A keen shopper knows that if you really want to save money, what you should do is invest in is quality, even that means having to spend a few more pesos.
Smart buying decisions include considering what your money will cost you in the long run not only with what you will be able to save by just comparing the price.
3. All or nothing at all (rather than be reasonable)
You may think that cutting down all your discretionary expenses to zero is the key to saving money.
While it might look reasonable on paper, in real life, however, you can’t just eliminate all your non-essential expenditures and put all that money into your savings account. This all-or-nothing approach to saving is going to set you up for failure down the road.
Saving a peso a day is better than aiming to save a hundred a week and ending realizing you cannot do it at all. Make adjustments that are sustainable or else you are not going to make any real change in the long run.
Write down your plans, set up a realistic goal, and stick to it. If you spend a bit more on Monday, try saving a bit less on Tuesday to keep up with what you have lost the other day. Do everything in moderation and keep everything realistic.
4. Refusing to have a social life (rather than finding cheaper ways to keep in touch)
Going out for a drink or two or a having dinner at a fancy restaurant with your friends once in a while is not the reason you’re losing all your savings.
If you think that the easiest way to double up your savings is by cutting all your social activities, you’re doing it all wrong.
Instead of isolating yourself and cutting down your connections, why not find other alternatives that are inexpensive, or, better yet, free?
Rather than meeting your friends in a fancy restaurant every Friday, why not invite them over at your house, have some home-cooked meals or pot luck, plan a game or have a movie night? How about find some free events in which you can all attend together? You can also attend yoga sessions together.
You don’t have to struggle with having to choose between saving your budget and your relationship with your friends. You can also talk about within your family and friends your goals and ask them to help you stay on track. Treat them as a support system instead of a hindrance for you to accomplishing your saving goals.
5. Focusing on cutting costs (rather than working more and spending less)
Focusing on reducing your expenses seems to be the most fluid way for you to save money. But have you ever thought of spending some extra energy earning some extra income rather than putting all your strength into just cutting your expenses to the bone?
Don’t spend too much time adjusting and calculating your budget. Try going through other ideas than concentrating your mindset to “I don’t have enough.”
Don’t overuse your energy over the mindset of your account but instead, use your ability to pursue earning more money and put forward to your saving goals.
Maintaining discipline may be hard, but always keep in mind that you can, and you will. Try spending your free times on other things that can make you feel busy rather than spending those times spending on impractical things and worrying about ticking through your budget.