Although she writes about money, Vanessa Tai often finds it a struggle to save. However, through trial and error, she’s discovered several saving tips that are easy to implement.
Saving money is something all of us know we should be doing, but it just seems so difficult. After clearing my bills at the start of each month, I’m usually left with only a tiny amount to live on. Any form of savings seems unthinkable. However, over time, I realised it’s not about how much you put away, but simply putting away a small sum and ensuring you don’t touch this money. That, and learning how you can cut corners, can go a long way in growing your resources. Read on to find out how.
1. Automate Your Savings
While the interest rates on automated savings accounts aren’t anything to shout about, this is an almost effortless way of saving money. By setting aside a fixed amount of money at the same time each month, you could land yourself a pretty tidy sum by the end of one year. Most banks offer automated bank accounts, so shop around for one with the best interest rates and features before committing. Ideally, you’ll like one that does not include an ATM card and does not allow you to withdraw from the account for at least a year.
2. 52 Week Money Challenge
This is something that fellow Material World co-founder Lili introduced me to, and we’ve been contributing to it faithfully since the beginning of 2014. How it works is simple: in week one, you contribute $1; in week two, $2; in week three, $3 … and so on. By the end of 52 weeks, you should have $1,378 of liquid cash in your pot. Perfect for treating yourself to a year-end getaway!
3. Get Rid Of Duplicate Services
Take a few hours to sit down and review the services you’re currently subscribing to. Are there any unnecessary services you can get rid of? For example, do you really need both a mobile phone line and a landline? Or if you’re already subscribing to cable TV, do you still need an Internet streaming service? Make a decision on which service you use more often, and cut the other out.
4. Adjust Your Mobile Plan
Some of us have been on the same mobile plan for years and we pay our bills each month without really considering if we still need the services we signed up for years ago. Work out which features you use the most often, and find out from your telco provider if there is another plan more suited for your needs.
5. Review Your Insurance Policies
Ideally, you should aim to review your insurance policies once a year, when you receive your renewal notice. That’s because your needs may have changed – perhaps you’re planning on having children, or your health has changed and your plan is no longer suitable for your needs. Or perhaps you’re simply looking for better value coverage. Speak to your financial advisor and find out how much savings you’ll be able to make by changing your level of coverage or even switching to a completely different insurance plan.
6. Pay Yourself
Were there services that you used to pay for that you now do yourself? For example, did you forgo that part-time cleaning service in favour of doing your own chores? Or maybe you even decided to skip your monthly facial treatments and DIY instead. Whatever you used to pay for these services, set it aside in a jar as “payment” to yourself. At the end of the month (or year), you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you’ve saved. You could even give yourself a pampering treat. After all, you deserve it!
7. Be “Loyal” To Everyone
It may seem “kiasu” (fearful of losing out), but it really doesn’t hurt to sign up for the loyalty card scheme with every retailer you shop at. While most people are in agreement that credit card promotions may not always be worth it, loyalty can still pay off when it comes to shopping. You can use your loyalty card to bag you discounts, rebates, and freebies. Just remember not to get carried away and buy things you don’t need!
Truth is, with a little bit of forward planning, it’s not that difficult to set aside money. It’s just how committed you intend to be. I would love to hear how everyone saves small sums of money. Share with me in the Comments section below!
About The Author: Vanessa Tai is a founder of Material World who has previously worked on magazines Simply Her and Cosmopolitan Singapore. Now a freelance writer and a full-time contributor to this website, the 27-year-old dreams of attending every single major music festival before she turns 30. Follow her on Twitter @VannTaiTweets.
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