One thing that we are always completely 100% unsure about is the future. We don’t know when something bad can and will happen (knock on wood) but it is essential to save for a rainy day. You should prepare yourself now if you haven’t already started.
Growing up in a family that didn’t have a lot of money, I always longed to be able to have nice things. I remember going into the Disney Store at the age of perhaps 7 or 8 and wanting a Disney Princess doll but never having the funds to get it. As I got older and finally starting working at 15, I would immediately spend my pay check on food, clothes, makeup, and other items that I did not need but just wanted to have. I never learned or understood the importance of saving. As I reach my 30’s, I realize how important it is to always have something saved up. If you loose your job, if you get into an accident, if you get robbed, or just in general, you will need money to help yourself and your family out.
Here are some tips to use to always make sure that you are saving for a rainy day. These are good and simple habits that I have started for about a year now and they are definitely helping.
**DISCLAIMER: Please be advised that I am NOT a financial expert or money saving guru. I do not have an education in finance and I do not work at a bank. These are just things that I have personally done as an individual to make sure that I save my money for something better for myself**
- Open up an automatic savings account and send a monthly amount to it.
Every month, set aside an amount from your pay check to a savings account. You can ask your bank to make automatic withdrawals because that way, no matter what, the first, last, or fifteenth of the month, the amount you have authorized will come out and go into the savings. You can start small like $50 and gradually increase to maybe $100, depending on how much you get paid. In a way, this will be a type of “out of sight, out of mind situation” where when you see the money going away into a savings account but you are not using it. $50 x 12 months = $600! and $100 x 12 months =$1,200! You could take a trip to the Caribbean for that amount.
- Take advantage of company pension and saving plans.
Does the company you work for have offer these kinds of plans? Most companies that have full time employees do offer a benefits plan so speak to your Payroll department or Human Resources department on how you can save for your retirement. Some also offer other saving accounts with a maximum amount for the year that you can put into it (say $5,000) in addition to the pension plan.
- Piggy Bank/Money Jar.
I know this sounds silly but, my mother did this for herself. Every other day she would put one dollar into a jar that she had hidden away in her closet. She kept tossing in a dollar every time she had the loose change. Nothing more or less than a dollar or a toonie (which is a $2 coin in Canada). After quite a few months when she opened the jar, she had accumulated a good $700! She kept collecting until she had about $1000 which helped pay for her plane ticket when she went Europe for vacation. The good part about something like this is, you just keep tossing a dollar in here and there every other day or two and forget about it. Just don’t think of it as anything. A few months later, you have extra money at hand due to good saving habits. Eventually, you’ll want to do this over and over again as it will help you save for something better like a new furniture set, TV, laptop etc. It won’t feel like you emptied out your bank account in one shot for something you might need.
- Avoid shopping malls and restaurants.
This one can be tricky especially if you have friends that want to go out every weekend. It can add up for sure. For me, when I walk into a mall, I really have to watch myself and make sure I don’t buy anything because I know I don’t need anything but will just buy it because I like it. Truth is, you can’t have everything you like. When I was younger, I used to have six different perfumes at one time because I liked them all however, there were too many of them and some I would just end up giving away because I rarely used them. Now, I only use one at a time and wait until it is done before I buy a new one. So don’t go “hang out” at the mall or go to the mall if you don’t need anything. The spending just piles up and you are stuck with so many things that you will probably wear a few times and then donate or toss in the back of your closet which is most likely full of clothes and stuff anyways! Avoid eating and drinking out because that is also pricey and with tip at the end of the night, you see yourself spending a good $50 that you didn’t have to. Of course, having a social life is important but I have reduced it down. I usually try to do something that doesn’t cost too much and I make more of an effort to have a fun night at my friends house as opposed to a venue/restaurant.
- Teach your kids good saving habits.
Start them young. I would say as young as three! Do not underestimate a child and their ability to grasp on to concepts as important as saving money. Children are bright little beings and they will learn all the positive things you teach them when done in a happy and loving manner. Have a piggy bank for your child and teach them to save in there until they have enough to purchase something with it. For example, give your child 50 cents every Saturday for doing a good chore. When the piggy bank is full, use half the money to buy them something positive, like a new book to read and half for a treat or toy. Read them children’s books that focus on saving and the importance of financial management. The library is your (free) source for children’s books and books for you as well! Finally, never argue about money in front of them and never tell them, “we don’t have enough money for that”. Instead, tell them that they don’t need more and should use what they have first. Or, something along the lines of “maybe we can wait until we save more money in your piggy bank“. As a child, hearing your parents tell you “we don’t have money” and seeing them argue about it doesn’t really feel too good.
- Educate yourself!
There are so many books and online seminars that you can watch (for free on YouTube) that can help you save. You have the power of your own dollar so make sure you do good for yourself. Some authors that I really like also happen to be TV personalities like Kevin O’Leary and Gail Vaz-Oxdale. Both who have written some good books on how to be more financially independent and debt-free.
What I like to do is have a spreadsheet of my fixed costs every month. (rent, car payments, gas, phone bill, grocery, pet food etc). To that fixed cost, I add at least $150 extra as you never know what surprise purchases you will have to make that month. For example, in May/June, I have to take my cat for her annual check up and vaccination. Every December, I have to get my winter tires on and get my car checked for the winter ahead. About $100 on a monthly basis go into an automatic savings account that I have set up and I contribute to my pension plan every pay check. The rest, I make sure to split in half and save one half, while the rest, I use for whatever I want and or need. So, I will use the rest to go out with my girlfriends for a night and have dinner or buy my face cream, or refill on my shampoos and body washes etc.
By: Sadaf Duri