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10 Things You Can Do to Start Spending Less
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10 Things You Can Do to Start Spending Less

by programmerJuly 28, 2015

We all want to save up, whether it’s for that new iPad we’ve been eyeing, or for our nest egg post-retirement. However, being young and robust and surrounded by friends who are the same means that you might feel pressured to spend beyond your means in the guise of building and maintaining your social networks.

Good news: you needn’t become a social hermit in order to spend less. Just follow the tips below!

1. Make A Budget And Keep Track Of Your Daily Expenses

This is perhaps the single, most important step of all. Set aside some time to figure out your budget. Divide your income as necessary: an amount to save, to repay debts, to support your parents, for groceries, for family use, and so on. It may not be possible to stick to it down to the very last cent, but that’s okay.

That said, notate all expenses you make daily so that you know how much you’re spending and what you’re spending them on. Soon enough, you’ll be carrying a budget whip in your mind just waiting to keep your purchases in line.

2. Master The 30-Day Rule

Do you really need a new computer when your old one still works? Do you really need satellite Pay TV in addition to your television’s basic package? Or are all those wants based on spur-of-the-moment decisions and peer pressure?

30 day rule
Keep those purchase impulses at the back of your mind for a month, then re-evaluate them for necessity. Then you can buy it if you can, or must.

3. Make Shopping Lists (and Stick to Them)

The next best thing after a budget is also a list: shopping lists, to be exact. The simple act of writing (or typing) down what you need to buy before you step out of the house will force you to think about your purchases and save you some guilt trips down the shopping aisle.
Compare prices before buying.

Technology has made price comparison a lot easier to do. Mobile apps such as SmartShopper Malaysia lists hundreds of groceries offered by various major retailers along with their prices, allowing consumers to compare prices before they buy. A few cents here and there can become a pretty sum at the end of the day.

4. Buy Reliable Things That Last, Not Cheap Things

long lasting bulbs
The cheapest offer you can find is not necessarily the best you can get. Balance the price factor with reliability, quality, and even your personal preferences. It’s pointless to buy a cheap kitchen appliance that breaks down after a few months, or a bag of fruits that will end up mostly in the bin just because they were too cheap to pass up.

5. Start Cooking

Cooking your own meals is often cheaper than eating out, and it’s not just because of GST. If planned creatively, the same few ingredients you used for breakfast can be used for lunch too, and maybe your next few breakfasts, saving you some cash in a minor play on economies of scale.

Cooking at home will also teach you the monetary value of the ingredients that goes into your meals, so you’ll know how much they’re marked up outside and decide if they’re worth it or not.

6. Don’t Skip Breakfast

It might sound innocuous, but breakfast is actually pretty important. It’s not just to give you enough energy to start the day.

full breakfast
Image via Flickr

In fact, a full tummy curbs impulse purchases, mainly because your brain won’t confuse your hunger pangs for material wants anymore. So remember, the next time you’re going shopping, eat first, shop later!

7. Rethink Entertainment

Your idea of entertainment probably revolves around indoor entertainment, meals with friends, or some other variation of some payable recreation, but that doesn’t always have to be the case.

Entertainment can mean inviting your friends over for a pot-luck or a home movie, or reading a book, or a walk in the park. And no, none of these are obsolete yet.

8. Kick Expensive Spending Habits

Rental, loans and necessary expenses aside, some of you may have some expensive hobbies, or maybe you’re just bad at noticing your cash outflow until it’s too late to prevent it for the month.

If you happen to like premium wines or limited edition figurines, you can still buy them – just set aside some money every month until you can afford them, and don’t buy them the moment you get your salary just because you feel rich at that moment.

9. Take Care Of Yourself

Very often, people care for external factors more instinctively than they take care of themselves. There’ll always be things that seem important. A possible job promotion, upcoming repayment deadlines, sick children, ailing parents… all of those are important, of course, but never lose sight of what’s most important: you.

Malaysia yoga day
Image via Mashable

Above all else, take care of yourself, because you can’t help anyone if you’re confined to your bed on expensive medicines just because you worked too hard to save more.

10. Avoid canned goods

Fresh produce and dried food products are typically cheaper and healthier than canned items. They probably taste much better too!

Conclusion

Money isn’t everything, but it sure comes close enough to ruling the world! Control it, don’t let it control you, and your wallet will thank you for it.

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