January is upon us, and if you overspent at Christmas, January will seem like the longest month ever! So, the most practical thing we can do, is make the little money we have left over stretch. The challenge is, money is not elastic. It doesn’t stretch when we need it to. Therefore, it’s best to find ways to be smarter with our money. The obvious solution to being smarter with finances involves the two simple things;
- Reducing our spending and,
- Making what we have go further.
I wish it were that easy!
Interestingly enough, everywhere you look there are articles on effective money management. The current pandemic and the related economic impact has taken a toll on businesses, jobs and income levels across socio-economic sectors, forcing everyone to take stock and reconsider their personal finances. 2020 was a unique year in many ways, and conversations about ways to save money are everywhere you turn.
The truth is, most of us probably already know quite a few ways to save money. Things like, telling you to turn the lights off or take a packed lunch to work is really just telling you things you already know.
Bearing that in mind, here are a few ways to save money that might not seem quite so obvious. These tips will work for you all year round. Here goes:
Being proactive about your health is significantly less expensive than regaining good health, in other words, recovering from an illness. Investing in your health; your body and your overall health can pay enormous dividends in the long run. Walk, run, or skip at home, and if you need a trainer to motivate you, download a YouTube video. Start with 15 minutes a day, and keep increasing it until you get to at least one hour, three times a week.
DRINK MORE WATER
Drinking more water is essential for your health, it is also cheaper than the cost of any other drink. Water is good for your body and it has a very immediate benefit to your budget. Cutting out fizzy drinks, juice, iced tea, beer, and all your other drink options in favour of drinking more water can save you a substantial amount at the grocery store.
Just as exercise and drinking more water can drive down your healthcare costs over time, so can healthy eating. The idea that eating well is expensive is untrue, but more important is the fact that good health is cheaper than trying to recover from a health challenge or condition caused by poor diet or lack of exercise. A way to get around the perceived cost of healthy food is to grow your own vegetables. If you don’t have much space, be creative and use containers to grow things like spinach, spring onions or tomatoes.
WALK TO THE GROCERY STORY STORE OR PARK FURTHER FROM THE ENTRANCE
If you live close to you grocery store, take a casual walk to the store. You won’t be tempted to purchase unnecessary items because you can only carry a limited amount of weight in your hands. Also, instead of using fuel while idling your car when you’re waiting for a parking spot close to the entrance to the supermarket or mall, park in the available spaces, no matter how far away they are. Parking in a distant parking spot cuts down your driving distance and adds a few extra steps to your day. Save fuel while increasing your daily exercise.
We are usually very good at checking the prices for significant purchases, but tend to take for granted potential savings on smaller items. Use price checking apps, or better still, use word of mouth, to ensure you get the best value in everything you purchase, including groceries. Friends and family are a great source of information on where to find cost effective quality fruit, vegetables or meats.
LIMIT HOW OFTEN YOU SHOP
Grocery shopping less often will typically lead to savings. Try to shop once a week for fresh fruit and vegetables. If you shop at wholesale outlets, try to shop once a month. Make a point of checking out places where you can buy in bulk for a lower cost.
USE THE 24 HOUR RULE
Before you make any impulse purchases, make yourself wait for at least 24 hours. You will more likely find that after 24 hours, you may not want the item as much as you initially did.
Most people will agree that saving money is ‘easier said than done’. At the end of the day it’s a mind-set that needs to be developed by creating good money saving habits. It also requires patience, but, you’ll thank yourself when you succeed. Good luck everyone! Share any innovative cost saving suggestions in the comments.
Agnes Chikukwa Hove, Brief Profile
Agnes finds fulfilment in being a Financial Wellness Coach. She coaches individuals, couples and organisations on effective personal financial management, and has effectively done so for the past 8 years. Agnes is a seasoned strategist who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Sequor Consulting