By Younas Chaudhary
- Run your home finances like a small business
I ran finances at home like a small business during my early days. My wife and I had a fixed monthly budget for groceries, children’s needs, the mortgage, and other home related expenses and payments. We would stay within our budget. If there was a surplus, it would go into her personal account. Our children watched these habits closely and picked up good money saving habits as they grew older. I was self-employed running a business but did not mix any of my business income to pay off household expenses.
2. Not all people need a list
Financial experts urge people to prepare and use a list of items to manage their expenses. They are handy but it does not make sense for everyone. For instance, my wife knew what our exact monthly expenses were, and she never needed a list. She was consistent with her spending, and she found ways to save money.
3. Managing utilities will save you more than you think!
Contrary to popular belief, monitoring and managing utility costs will save you a ton of money! We used home thermostats that automatically adjusted the temperature so that consumption was kept at optimal levels, adjusting from warmer during the daytime to colder at night. When we were at a lower income level, we closed the air-conditioner vent in the living room area when that area was not occupied to save money. At home, saving water was habitual and my kids were taught to open the shower faucet only when they were ready to take a shower and not to open the water faucet all the way.
4. There is no substitute for home cooking
I do not believe in Uber Eats. I know a lot of people are going broke spending inordinate amounts of money getting food delivered to their door. A coffee that takes 5 minutes of your time and a few cents to make is delivered to your door for $20. Do it three times a day and you have wasted sixty dollars just on coffee! No wonder, many people in this country live paycheck to paycheck or use payday lenders! That is sheer laziness!
Do not blame inflation or the war in Ukraine, instead, watch and control your spending!
Early this week, I went out for lunch with a friend and the check came to around $130. If the same food were prepared at home, it would cost me less than $20. I do not need to worry about the price to go to any restaurant, but I will not go because making food at home is always way more fresh, healthy, and affordable.
5. Be proud of being cheap
Despite all the wealth I am blessed with, I am the cheapest at home. My kids tease me saying my shoes are five years old and I am out of fashion. I have stopped buying clothes despite criticism from my kids. I tell them not much has changed in the world of men’s shoes, shirts, and trousers. In fact, the pandemic and work from home has killed the demand for dress shirts, suites, and ties.
6. Why go on a vacation when you are already broke?
I have seen people take lines of credit on their homes, get brand new credit cards at 24% interest, sell real-estate, and do all kinds of excessive spending just to go on a vacation. Never take a loan and never fall for airlines that sell you miles to purchase their credit cards to go on any so-called vacation.
You must avoid these debt traps, or you will return so miserable that the vacation would just be a blur. I believe it is a sin to go on a vacation on borrowed money.
7. Online temptation will make you go broke!
The pandemic has accelerated online spending and it is now a habit for millions to click and buy without thinking if they need something or not. Some even forget to return stuff they no longer need and waste money when they forget the deadline to return items! This is the same as throwing money away.
Uncontrolled online buying is like gambling and it will become habitual. Remember, there are no slots at home for you to gamble and the numbers on your paycheck do not lie. Make a budget, follow it diligently and do not indulge in online buying. 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.