Still feeling a little unbalanced? It’s time to brush up on budgeting basics. Here’s a mini refresher course in taking control of your finances.
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER
Before you can find out how to best save your money, you should identify how you spend your money. This is often called finding your ‘money personality’. Learning about your money personality will reveal your financial habits, both
the strengths and the weaknesses. This knowledge will help you set out a fail-proof plan in saving and taking control of your finances: In other words, now that you understand yourself a bit better you can implement the best approach for you– an individual journey laid out to best suit you, aimed at curbing those bad habits, and working with your unique needs. Although placing yourself within a specific archetype can feel counter intuitive to finding what’s best for you as an individual, it is a task in understanding ‘where you are’ to make clear the areas of growth hiding beneath all those bills.
TAKING CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES
SAVE WHEN YOU SPEND
Budgeting is where it all comes together! In order to achieve your financial goals you are most likely going to
have to make adjustments, and grocery shopping is one of those necessities that can easily become a trolley full of luxury items.
There are many practical ways to make a real change to your grocery bill:
- Organisation: Writing a shopping list needs to become your new favourite hobby. It will help you plan meals for the week ahead, making sure to use what you have at home rather than ordering in or eating out. It’ll stop you wandering aimlessly buying things you don’t need, and it will ensure you’re not buying anything you already have at home.
- Seasonal Shopping: No matter where you decideto shop, it is always going to be cheaper to buy fresh produce in season. It takes a little extra work initially but it’s a sure way to save bucks and get the freshest produce with the most nutrients.
- Freezer Section: Frozen foods generally tend to costless than fresh produce, but the nutritional benefits can actually be just as high. When products such as berries are out of season, this is definitely the way to go. And of course, you should keep freezing those dinner leftovers.
SET FINACIAL GOALS
Goal setting for your finances gives you tangible motivation and a bigger sense of purpose to saving, beyond that nagging feeling that you should. But don’t get carried away! Your financial goals should be personal and reasonable. The simplest way to start is to set two initial financial goals: one short-term and onelong-term. Short-term goals will be things like saving for travel, home improvements, or creating an ‘emergency fund’. Long-term goals should be focused on the future, like starting a retirement fund or saving up for a child’s tertiary education. Once you’ve achieved a short-term goal and have managed to stay on track with your long-term goal, you can look at adding another short-term goal and perhaps a medium-term goal, too. Medium-term goals lie in a grey area that’s usually for bigger purchases (such as a car or a property). Like everything in budgeting though, this is completely dependant on who you are and where you
are in your financial journey. Your goals should be revisited every few months, not just to keep on track but to adjust where necessary too. If you notice that you are missing your short-term goal every month you’ll need to revise whether the goal is too ambitious for your budget or re-examine your lifestyle choices during the month. Be gentle and patient with yourself here.
When setting your goals, use the SMART system:
- Specific: What are you saving for?
- Measurable: How much do you need/want to save?
- Attainable: How will you make it possible to do this?
- Relevant: What is the importance to you?
- Time bound: By when would you like to achieve this goal?
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