Thursday, October 28, 2010

Steps to save 30% of your monthly income

By Sylvia Juuko

THE cost of living is on the upward match. It is therefore becoming imperative to be innovative to meet the changes, given the mostly constant level of income.

Every shilling you spend or decision you make about money today will have an impact on your future financial health. So watching where your money goes should become your daily pre-occupation.

But have you ever considered why people with an income lower than yours seem to do better on personal finances? Despite their modest income, they save more, have invested in property and enjoy a decent lifestyle without the flamboyance that characterises ‘aspirationals’. You, on the other hand, earn five times more but you are still renting an expensive apartment in a leafy suburb, can barely meet your expenses due to an extravagant lifestyle and you mostly borrow for consumption.

This, therefore, cements the argument that personal finance experts put forth that, it is not what you earn that matters but how you manage it and what you keep.

As it is, the excuse of wanting to earn more money in order to maintain a decent living and later on save to invest doesn’t hold water.

If you have not yet paid attention to where your money goes, there a couple of ways to do so. Once you examine your lifestyle, there is always room to trim your expenses. For starters, pay yourself first through automatic deduction. Many of us opt for saving after expenditures but never get to it because nothing is left anyway.

The best way to achieve this is having a standing order that allows for deduction of your income that is channeled through an interest yielding account as soon as it lands on the account.

Further still, focus on those items like coffees or even beer that you consume daily as an area that you can cut back on.

If you spend sh10,000 per day on lunch and go out every evening, is it a surprise that you are perennially broke. You could consider packing lunch on some days of the week as well as cut down on daily outings.

You should also take note of what you need through compiling a grocery list that you stick to. Stories are common of households that go for shopping every other day without taking an inventory of what is in the pantry or fridge. An inventory can save you several shillings.

Do window shopping before making a purchase decision. Whenever you are in a retail outlet, make note of the prices.

You will discover that there are some savings to be made if you watch the price tags. Always be on the lookout for discount days that some retailers announce during the week or month.

You should know by now the advantage of bulk purchases or purchasing at wholesale outlets. If you cannot meet the bill, you can collaborate with the same interest people to bulk-purchase and share the items. This saves some bucks. Further more, some households have two cars which hikes the fuel bill.

If both of you work in the same area, do car pooling on some days to save some fuel money.

For some town runs, it is effective to park at your workplace and use public means if the places you are going to are easily accessible. It will save you fuel as well as the hustle of driving around trying to secure an elusive parking slot. More so, walking is also good exercise for the health watchers.

Another expense that most of us incur is phone bills. Given the discount bonanza in the telecommunications market, it is crucial to scrutinise deals on offer and remember some companies have a clever way of marketing their discounts where you may end up spending more.

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