Money: 10 healthy habits to start right now
Whether you’re trying to save, clear debt, or simply find a way for your income to come in as fast as your out-goings go out, it’s always worth coming at the task from a new angle. Gain some fresh enthusiasm for healthy money management with this line up of suggestions from OHbaby!
Make the most of what you have You shouldn’t be the only one working – your money should be working too! Does you bank have an account that rewards you for not withdrawing money? These accounts are great because the more you add to your savings, the more interest you’ll earn. You’ve got to love that snowball effect!
Have savings goals You’re more likely to save when you have specific goals in mind, and it makes for easy money management, and easier budgeting as well. For example many families find it helpful to create savings accounts for Christmas and birthdays, spreading the financial strain across the year.
Determine not to look over the fence Comparison (not money!) is the root of all evil, and nothing is quite as frustrating as trying to keep up with the Joneses. We all have different earning capacities, different levels of family support, and more importantly, different values. Identify what you value as a family, and focus on your goals, no-one else’s. Your list of wants may feel never ending, but stop to consider your list of blessings is also never ending, and that’s a lot more satisfying to count!
Minimalise the chance of impulse buying Bring snacks and drinks from home, especially for sporting activities, so you don’t have to make emergency spends. If you’re not well prepared you’ll require ridiculous levels of self-control – so don’t put yourself in that predicament in the first place. Some people find that they prefer to shop online for this very reason – be it for groceries, clothes or gifts. Sure there’s a delivery cost, but avid online shoppers swear they’re more likely to stick to their list, and less likely to impulse buy. If you’re particularly vulnerable to impulse purchases, get the necessary amount of cash out (and no more) and leave your wallet at home when you go shopping.
Write a budget Finances are far less daunting when you can clearly see where you’re at. Write a household budget so you know what your surplus or deficit is, and start consciously identifying what’s a need and what’s a want.
Brew your own coffee Three bought coffees a week at $4.50 per cup adds up to $661.00 a year. And as for that sweet temptation on the side … for the cost of one slab of caramel slice at café you could make about half a batch at home.
BYO lunch The cost of bought lunches mounts even faster than coffee. Make just a little more dinner and put it to use the next day. Sophie Gray, Kiwi author of Destitute Gourmet, is a master of turning tonight’s leftovers into the basis of tomorrow’s lunch or dinner.
Find new ways to reward yourself A treat doesn’t need to be store-bought. Replace the buzz of a purchase with a more natural high – pamper yourself at home, do some baking, read a book, go for a walk, or enjoy some downtime with loved ones.
Scrutinise sales and be aware of false economies It’s easy to be taken in by multi-buy offers, eg buy two and get one free, but take a moment – do you need more than one? Low-cost fashion items are also easy to fall for, but they can be a false economy when they quickly break and lose their shape. We think we can save money by skimping on insurances but in the long run we’re only cheating ourselves.
“Waste not, want not.” This is my Granny’s expression. She’s 97, so she can remember The Great Depression, and has a full appreciation of the value of a knob of butter. It also became my mother’s catch phrase while bringing up my siblings and I on a tight budget. It doesn’t just apply to food, but toys, clothing, furniture etc. If you can find a way to up-cycle and repurpose what you no longer want, you’ll find yourself lacking less – and there’s a wonderful satisfaction in making do. Now I hear the words on my own lips when my kids are wasteful.