Everyday Ways To Save MoneySunday, October 10, 2021
In today's economy, day-to-day living is becoming increasingly expensive. Inflation makes it difficult to save. And yet we know that we must save if we are to grow our money in order to keep living the way we want to. Intellectually, we know the basics of doing so: making a monthly budget, setting clear financial goals, building an emergency fund, paying debt off, growing net worth by investing, creating multiple income streams, and of course, simply reducing expenses. But oftentimes, expense reduction, one of the easiest ways to save money, remains only a theoretical concept. It doesn't have to be.
If you're someone who needs inspiration to find ways to reduce your spending, the following are some ways to help you get the ball rolling in seeing everyday opportunities for keeping money in your bottom line.
• Do you have a lifestyle disease? Chronic non-communicable illnesses are on the rise in the Jamaican population, according to the Ministry of Health. If you fall into this bracket, chances are you are on prescription drugs, which, especially with the fluctuating dollar, can eat out a good chunk of your monthly income. Apply for a National Health Fund (NHF) card so that you can benefit from significantly lower medication costs. Also, where possible, purchase the generic version of the drug, which is just as effective and cuts down on expense.
• Increase your physical activity. How does this save you money? Becoming healthier naturally reduces your vulnerability to disease in the first place, and thus your medical bills. In real terms, that $15,000 you spend on medicine each month could be put towards your emergency saving fund. And if you've got a gym membership, chances are the pandemic and attendant curfew times have impacted your ability to go to your gym. Work out from home. You've probably already begun to notice savings in this area.
• During the early days of the pandemic, backyard gardens were all the rage. They are more than a fad, however. The prices of herbs, spices, vegetables and ground provisions add up; planting a vegetable garden, no matter how small your space, can save lots of money on your grocery bill. Also, consider planting trees and flowers if you have a bigger land space; these increase property value for when you want to sell it later on. A house with a well-tended garden will sell more easily than one without, ultimately putting more money in your pocket.
• And, still on the subject of grocery shopping, consider making weekly meal plans and lists specific to the ingredients you will need. As opposed, of course, wandering down supermarket aisles grabbing things that aren't planned for. Also, whilst this is still in play, find grocers who accommodate online shopping. This way, you can stick scrupulously to the items you need.
• Want to save on your electricity bill? Who doesn't, especially now that light and power rates are set to rise? In this fast-paced industrial age, we're increasingly using more appliances in our homes: Dishwashers, washing machines, and dryers. The dryer, especially, is a notoriously huge electricity burner. Consider a return to the humble, old-fashioned clothesline. Also, check the seal for your refrigerator for energy loss. If a $100-note can slip easily in when the door is closed, the rubber needs to be changed. And, if you haven't already done so, convert to LED lightbulbs around the home.
• Do similar water checks in your bathrooms. Faulty flapper balls are often a source of increased water bills, yet they are so often overlooked. If you hear the water still running long after you've flushed, the ball needs to be replaced. Or, if you suspect a leak because of an unexplained spike in your bill, one way to prove it is to pour purple Kool-Aid or food colouring in the back of the toilet tank, but don't flush for a half-hour or so. If the colour shows up in the water in the bowl, there's a leak and you're losing money.
• If you're someone who loves to shop, you probably have your credit card information autosaved to your favourite online sites. This makes it much easier for you to shop, especially for things you don't really need. By deciding not to autosave your info you can “trick” yourself into thinking about the necessity of your purchases if you have to go to your wallet and manually dig up that information required to complete the purchase. Or, employ a buddy system whereby, every time you're tempted to spend unnecessarily, you call a friend who can check you. And then there's also the 30-day challenge, in which you put the item in your digital shopping basket for a month and purchase it only if your desire for it has not waned.
These are just a few of the everyday hacks you can employ to keep more money in your wallet each month. You can find even more unconscious money habits that can be adjusted. List them, and commit to doing so. In this way, you can improve your finances and put yourself on a path to financial well-being.