You have just received your salary and you swear that this month you are going to save your money and in turn saving yourself from the cash crunch you face every month end. This month you will take control of your finances! However, these thoughts quickly fade into oblivion in the first two weeks. You find yourself in the same spot as always. How to break this vicious cycle? Let’s find out!
Step #1: Pay Your ‘Piggybank’ First
Every month, before you start spending your salary on anything and everything under the sun, pay your piggybank. Think about saving as paying your piggy bank. Start by taking out at least 20% of your salary and putting it away.
Let’s say you earn Rs 30,000 a month. Once you get your salary, take 20 percent of this salary i.e. Rs. 6000 and keep it aside. You should keep this money away; may that be in a drawer at home or a savings account. Keep in mind that you cannot use this money. This will make sure that you don’t accidently end up using it if it is in the same account or your wallet.
Now, to break it down further, 6000 distributed evenly throughout the month brings it to Rs 200 every day. If keeping Rs 6000 aside is too daunting a task, you may break it down further and at the end of each day take Rs 200 and keep it aside. This way, at the end of the month you will have Rs 6000 which you have saved up and now will invest.
Saving this way should not be looked at as a burden. Think of it as a personal tax you are paying to ensure that you in the future will be in a better place financially than you are today.
Step #2: Set Financial Goals
Do you want to buy a house? Do you wish to own a car? These are your goals, but they cannot simply be termed as financial goals. You need to understand that financial goals set down the amount that you need as well as the amount you realistically hope to achieve. This constitutes your financial goal. You need to plan to achieve your financial goals.
For example, you may say you want to take a vacation on your 25th birthday to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. On research you find out that you need near about Rs 1,00,000 to fund a trip. You have a realistic timeline attached to it as well. Keep a margin for deviations in the prices of tickets, hotels etc.
When you have a well-defined financial goal, you know exactly what you need to do to achieve it. Thus, you’ll realistically be able to see that small efforts will lead to a greater reward at a later point in time. This will in turn help you to be judicious and mindful about your spending habits.
Step #3: Create a Budget
One must make a realistic budget and limit overspending. When you make a make a budget and follow it, you will find out a couple of subscriptions that you have but don’t use. These can range from gym memberships to content streaming apps. One must mindfully cancel these subscriptions and save the amount that otherwise wasn’t serving you. The price benefit of cooking your own meals is also a bonus on top of the health benefits of home-cooked meals.
With these three simple steps, you will be able to take control of your finances. Knowing you cash flows is important. You must know and understand where your income is being spent. This way, you may find that saving and then investing that saving amount has slowly grown over the years that you have worked. These investments will reap returns and help you beat inflation at a later point in time.