As the famous saying goes, you reap what you sow, so if you haven’t been planting any crops for your financial future, the time to start is now. You can begin by asking some simple questions, for example, what are your future plans? Do you have any? If so, what can start doing today to ensure that these will come to fruition? You don’t have to sacrifice every pleasure or save every dime, but simply keep in mind that if you want to achieve your goals of tomorrow, you need to start saving today.
This may seem obvious, but before you can save you need to make sure that you have some money left over at the end of the month. What kind of lifestyle do you lead? Are you living beyond your means? We often find ourselves struggling to live a life we can’t afford to maintain, living from paycheck to paycheck, buying shoes we don’t have the money for, or getting expensive repair work done on our houses on credit.
Oftentimes, this is fueled by a fear of being left out, and according to Investopedia, peer pressure often has a big influence on a large portion of our society’s purchasing decisions. Maybe we want to dress like our favorite celebrities, drive a car like our neighbor’s, or live in a house better than theirs. This is a slippery slope that can lead to a pile of debts accumulating and make it almost impossible to reach the end of the month.
Budgeting, however, is more than a minor change in your lifestyle and if you’re serious about saving money, whether you live in New Orleans or California, you’re going to need to work on that budget day after day, month after month to improve your personal finance.
So try this exercise. Think about how much money you spend in a day. Do you account for what you spend each day? Let’s take for example, your transport. If your workplace is far away from where you live, you could be spending a large amount of your budget on fueling your car every month. Running a car can be a costly business, with repair work, road tax, insurance; and it could be worth considering other options, such as public transport, or riding a bike to work.
Think about writing a shopping list before you go to buy so that you are not tempted to deviate from the list with impulse buys, and record what you spend each day in a journal or excel sheet. You can often be surprised how much money you could save buy cutting out on your daily Starbucks or learning to live without ready-made food and taking your own lunch to work with you.
Take a look at your bank and the credit or debit cards you are using, and make sure that you check the terms and conditions regularly. It’s worth doing some research as you could be paying more interest than you need to and it may be worth changing your provider. Be strict with yourself, without cutting off all pleasures, and stick to this motto – don’t save what’s left after spending; spend what’s left after saving and save today for what you want tomorrow.
This is a guest post by Michael Peggs.
Michael Peggs is the founder of Marccx Media, a digital marketing agency specializing in SEO and Content Marketing. Before Marcxx, Peggs worked at Google in business development, forming digital media and advertising partnerships. He is also a blogger and podcaster, hosting the iTunes Top 10 New & Noteworthy podcast You University – The Personal Branding Podcast.