MONEY

5 Questions you need to ask yourself if you’re serious about saving

With the New Year just beginning, many of us will be thinking about making some kind of savings plan. Whether it’s the post Christmas guilt or something we have been planning for a while, the New Year is the perfect time to put these thoughts into action. So, piggy banks at the ready everyone…but before you start, here are five questions you need to ask yourself if you’re serious about saving.

Can I take action?

Remember, saving is something that you and only you can commit to, and it can only be achieved by making changes in your lifestyle. Don’t let this scare you though, the changes can be as big or as small as you like, even if it’s just something as little as taking a packed lunch to work or making a coffee to take out with you instead of buying one. You need to get yourself in the mindset that you can take action, it is possible and that even if it doesn’t work out one way, there are different things that you can try until you find something that works for you.

Do you need to find a saving buddy? Or get your partner on board? Someone who will be in it with you, someone you can share your highs (and lows) with. Whoever it is, make sure you’re both on the same page and that you are both clear about what your goals are. It’s so helpful to have someone else in your corner when it comes to saving.

Sometimes saving can be difficult, especially when you’re in a rut and so used to having the same incomings and outgoings each month. The first thing you need to do is create a budget and decide which things you can do without – or if you can’t do without them, then perhaps think about downgrading some of your outgoings. Are you paying for a larger internet package than you actually need? Or could you get a cheaper cable tv package? Decide on which things you could look at changing and go from there.

I don’t believe in completely cutting out all of the things that bring you happiness but as long as you’re taking baby steps towards your goal then you can do it! (However long it may take). Realistically no-one decides to embark on a savings plan one week to find that by the following weekend, they’ve already reached their goal. These things take time, perseverance and patience.

What can I do to change my situation?

Often your current situation may not be ideal for saving. It might even be that by the time the end of the month comes around, you have only managed to put a tiny amount aside – but that’s totally fine. There are several different ways that you can boost your savings.

Have you thought of taking on a side hustle? Is there something you could be doing in the evenings instead of watching tv? What about becoming an Uber driver? Or, if you don’t like the idea of carrying passengers, how about doing delivery work for Uber eats? The best part of taking on a side hustle is that you can dedicate as much or as little time to it as you want.

With the current opportunities available, working online could be a real option for you. Teaching English online, becoming a virtual assistant (VA) or

If you don’t like the idea of working online then how about taking on a casual job at the weekends? Or if you’re crafty, what about buying cheap items of furniture, giving them a new lease of life and selling them on for a profit?

Sometimes relying on a salary isn’t going to be enough to actually change your situation. If things are tight already then saving money solely from your income isn’t going to be practical. There are lots of things that you can do but you have to be willing to put yourself out there to change your situation.

What makes me happy?

This might seem like a slightly strange one but it’s a good idea to write a list of things that make you happy/satisfy you.

When you’re finished, read through the list and ask yourself if you’re doing enough of these things. How many of the items that you’ve written down cost a lot of money? Often it’s the little things that matter, not necessarily spending huge amounts of money on things you don’t really need. By taking a look at the bigger picture, you can make better decisions about what means the most to you.

Material things may give you a buzz for a brief amount of time but that usually doesn’t last long, and often you’re just left with a feeling of guilt later on.

Spending time with loved ones/friends, going for walks, gardening or even cooking can bring a lot of pleasure without breaking the bank. Try and make more time for the simple things in life.

Do I really need it?

One of the worst things you can do is buy items on impulse. Especially nowadays, people are becoming more conscious with what they buy and the effects these purchases have on the environment.

So before you rush out to buy the latest trend, be sure to ask yourself – do I really need it? Or can you make do with what you already have? It’s a good idea to leave making a purchase for 24 hours at least before making a decision. If you decide that you definitely need it then go ahead and buy it. If you realise that you don’t need it, or better still, you’d forgotten all about the item, then that’s great. As long as you’re constantly asking yourself if you really need to spend money on something then you’re on the right road to saving.

What is my goal?

We all need an end goal, whether it’s something to look forward to short term, like a holiday or a bigger purchase such as a deposit on a house or it may even be paying off a debt. It doesn’t matter what it is, as long as there is a finish line somewhere. You don’t just have to write down one thing either, it could be a few things that you’re wanting to work towards.

Write down your goal/s on a piece of paper/print them out and stick them up somewhere you’ll see it at least once a day. Whether that’s on your fridge, on your bathroom mirror or on your bedside table – it doesn’t matter where, what matters is that you’re seeing it often enough to keep you on track with your savings goals.

So before you start your savings plan, think all of these questions through and go ahead and make some notes. Honestly, your savings goals will feel just that little more achievable. Go on and feed that piggy bank everyone!!

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