By Younas Chaudhary
I grew up in a middle-class family in a remote village in Pakistan. My mother, a homemaker, taught me how to save, live frugally, and avoid waste at all costs. Waste was a cardinal sin and I grew up seeing and learning many common-sense tips to save money and avoid waste.
Here are 10 common sense tips to make and save money that have stood the test of time for me and could be useful to you as well!
- Never buy impulsively: We buy things impulsively because of a sheer lack of discipline. Avoid impulsive buying at all costs and understand the difference between what you need and what you want.
- Cut corners at every angle: If you see light bulbs on in an unoccupied room, turn them off immediately. If you see a high-water bill, check your water pipes, sprinkler system, and plumbing fixtures for leaks. Find the source of the water leaks and take immediate action to stop the bleeding. Little acts like these will help you understand the value of money.
- Create a budget and stick to it: Stay on a budget and save or invest whatever is left. My wife used to save money in piggy banks when my children were young, and we had one in the kitchen, one in the laundry room and one next to our nightstand. When it would top off, she would ask the children to go to the bank with her and exchange it for dollars. Convince yourself that you want to save money every day. If you are making $5,000 a month, build a budget that helps you save a good percentage. Every penny matters when saving money. Be careful how money sneaks out every month, avoid spending too much on eating out, and watch all controllable expenses.
- Make use of technology: Numerous apps are available in the market that can help you manage your money in real time.
- Avoid credit cards: Stay away from them as much as you can. Instead, use cash. The 18% to 24% interest rate on credit cards will kill you emotionally and financially.
- Get a side hustle: Higher income is the quickest path to eliminating debt and saving for a rainy day. A side hustle driving Uber on weekends, being a realtor, online data entry work from home, or any other part-time opportunity will provide additional income that you can save for the future.
- Make good solid investments: When you have additional money coming in, invest them in blue chip stocks that pay dividends, higher yield bonds, or high growth mutual funds. Their rewards outgrow the risks, especially over a long period of time. Real estate, like a rental home, or a piece of land is another great investment vehicle that has stood the test of time.
- Distinguish between need and want: Understanding need and want is common sense and is the key to stop unwanted spending. How many televisions do you need? How many fridges? How many unused clothes do you have in your wardrobe? People buy more things than they need today because of convenience and the pandemic has increased people’s buying habits. We get tempted daily to buy things online because they appear on our front door within a few hours or days. Eventually, this becomes a habit that could ruin you financially. Once parents start doing it, children pick up the habit and nobody will have any idea who buys what except that your street will be busy with delivery drivers. When you buy so much stuff you forget to return the things you do not want and waste even more money.
- Never use credit to pay your bills: Avoid this habit at all costs. Otherwise, you will be stuck living paycheck to paycheck, standing in front of payday lenders every month.
- Create no spending days: A good common-sense way to start saving and stop spending money is to create “no spending days.” Select a few days in a week where you will take a vow not to spend any money at all and slowly this will become a habit, offering you substantial savings. Blessings.
The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this article are my own and do not represent the opinions of any entity with which I have been, am now, or will be affiliated. Further, I make no warranty regarding the accuracy or effectiveness of my recommendations, and readers are advised to consult other advisors as well as their own judgments in making business decisions.