Nearly a year late but I have found 5 ways that works for me when it comes to financial habits. I wish I took my finances much more serious (I acknowledged my spending but never really commit to changing anything) earlier on but better late than never!
Just in time for the new year, here’s 5 working methods of saving money that could work for you!
1) Unsubscribe from e-mails
Everytime I told myself I was going to save, I got emails from my favourite stores telling me there’s a sale or there’s free shipping… those two marketing schemes gets me the most, especially free shipping. I can’t believe I’ve never thought about it before, but just after Black Friday/Cyber Monday, I unsubscribed to all promotional emails from my favourite stores (and if these stores have loyalty rewards notifications, eg. Chapters, it won’t affect those notification emails). Unsubscribing from these stores was the best thing ever and best thing is that I’m not drawn into the whole Boxing Day Week sales… I seriously don’t know what’s for sale for Boxing Day! I also tell cashiers not to sign me up for their promotional emails and I request stores not to send any advertisements.
2) Develop automatic monthly saving transfers
I may have mentioned this before but seriously, go into your bank and ask them to turn on this feature! I have three savings accounts: 1) regular savings account that’s connected to my debit card, 2) Tax Free savings account that isn’t linked to my debit card but I can still access it through online banking and 3) Mutual Funds that I cannot touch WHATSOEVER. I legit need to make an appointment with a financial adviser to access those money which is better if I ever act on an impulse to drain those funds out. Since I don’t touch my Mutual Funds, I put $50/month, and $20.50/month in my tax free savings, and $1/debit card transaction to my regular savings account. I’m thinking of increasing the monthly deposits once I get a better job!
3) Develop a reward program for yourself
This is something new to me but it’s a classic. Basically, you write a list of things you want but you only buy them if you’ve succeeded in achieving one of your goals. For me, my goals are mostly educational, such as, maintaining at least a 3.00GPA, or finish all my exams with 80% or more, and once that’s crossed off my list, I’d reward myself with a mini shopping spree (of $50… remember, budgeting!) or treat myself to a fancy dinner. Yes, I may be losing out on a lot of events or clothing items but at the same time it allows me to be motivated towards my goals while saving at the same time.
4) Have budgets
I feel like this is the hardest thing to achieve. Instead of planning out budgets (that always fails through), I downloaded Mint and they set up all the budgets for me. Right now, a few budgets includes $100 clothing, $50 restaurants and $10 coffee shops. I think they might analyze your recent spending history to come up with these budgets but I’m not entirely sure. You can customize each budget to increase or decrease the limit and Mint sends notification that you’ve reached your limit or if you’re overspending. Mint also keeps tracking of how much you spend on a month and if you’re spending more than you’re making. Best part, it keeps all your banking info in one app so you’re not constantly logging into several banks to view your statements!
5) Check your credit cards
I recently chose to downgrade my limit to $500. Not only would that decrease my spending, but it’d also maintain my credit score and even boost my credit score. I can easily max out my credit cards and sometimes take a while to pay it back. With only a $500 limit, paying that back is nothing and I can watch what I choose to spend my credit on. Also, consider getting cards that are beneficial to you. For instant, I stop using my TD Cash Back Visa when I realize it doesn’t do much for me. I instead switched to Scotiabank Visa for the free movies tickets – so yes, I spend money but at the same time I save a lot on movie tickets because I essentially get them for free and I’m a huge movie goer. My cousin opted for a TD travel rewards Visa because she loves to travel. Consider branching out to another bank if they offer a suitable credit card for you.