START A BUDGET:
Even that word is scary: budget. But it’s definitely not something you should be afraid of. In fact, you should embrace it, because a budget is basically just tracking your spending habits, same way you might track your period or your calendar. Let’s get something clear, though: creating a budget won’t actually save you money, but it will open your eyes to how much you’re spending on what, and help you see where you are over-spending, which happens so easily. For one month, write out every single purchase you make – whether it’s a soft drink or a handbag, including your bills. From there, you’ll be able to see where your money goes, and then be able to cut back where’s necessary.
LOOK AT YOUR FOOD:
Let’s be real: Trinis love our belly. Whether it’s a late night doubles run, some shark and bake on a weekend, or a roti for dinner, spending money on food can feel like it’s inevitable, but truly, it adds up. If you’re eating out regularly, then you’re most likely wasting your money. Choose to spend your money smarter – by buying groceries and cooking most night. Yes, while you’re spending money initially on the groceries, the chances are your items will last more than one meal, and it’ll still be cheaper than going out every night. Plus, it’s probably healthier and hey, carnival is around the corner. But don’t get too crazy at the grocery either – make a grocery list, and stick to it!
MINOR EXPENSES ADD UP:
I once read a quote that says we’re all going broke one $20 purchase at a time. But truly, think about it. If something is under $20, chances are we don’t think twice about swiping our Linx or forking over that purple bill for it. But if we continually make these minor purchases, we’ll be spending more money than we even realize. Plain and simple: all money adds up. If you spend $100 10 times, it’s $1000, and the same goes for spending $20 50 times throughout the month on junk, another $1000 gone before you even know it. If you’re serious about saving money, take a look at your smaller expenses!
BUY IN BULK:
Ok, we’re not saying stock up like a hurricane is about to hit *knocks on wood three times, just in case*. But we are saying that sometimes it’s better to buy larger quantities of items upfront to save yourself money in the long run. Yes, while it’s initially a bigger payment – a 12 pack of paper towels is more expensive than buying one singular roll – you’ll get more bang for your buck, and if you do the math, will find that each roll is drastically cheaper when you buy the larger pack. Same goes for everyday items like toilet paper, feminine products and even soap or toothpaste. Plus, it never hurts to be prepared – you never want to be in a situation without any of those.
NOT USING A SAVINGS ACCOUNT:
If you know you’re a spender, the best way to start saving money is to literally take it out of the picture. Go into your bank and open a second account, and once a month, when you’re paid, be sure to transfer a little bit – anything you can – to your savings account. The general rule is that 1/3 of your paycheck each month should go to your savings – but sometimes we know that’s just not possible. So look at your budget and decide what works for you. Even if you add $100 a month, you’d have saved $1200 at the end of the year. Some banks might even offer a feature that automatically transfers a set amount of money from your account each month to guarantee that you’re saving.