Hello January! With so much talk of New Year’s Resolutions, we’ve decided to focus on an aspect which will actually allow you to tick off that list with ease. It might not be the most glamorous or sexiest resolution, but saving money is something we all need to do. Easier said than done, right? While we may have the incentive to save on account of the high cost of living in Hong Kong, the temptation to amass a wardrobe that would leave Carrie Bradshaw green with envy can be overwhelming with so many shopportunities in HK! And with some of the world’s most beautiful places on our doorstep (hello Bali, Thailand, the Philippines… the list goes on…), it’s always tempting to fly off for the weekend! Now imagine always having enough cash to spare for any one of these treats. Exciting, right?
The good news is that saving more money is actually a piece of cake! Sure, it may take a little bit more planning and self-control than you’re used to. But hey, if you can juggle your job, your relationships, and that rigorous new fitness regime, then anything is possible! Here are just a handful of tricks you can try the next time you’re itching to splurge:
1. Take Your Career to the Next Level
Improving your current financial situation is a two-step process: earning more money and saving more money. Think about the job you have right now: do you think you can negotiate for a better salary, or earn more doing the same work elsewhere? Don’t be afraid to take a long, hard look at your current prospects. The more money you take home, the more you have to spare for regular spending.
2. Baby Steps
Of course, getting that much-deserved promotion at work is only half the battle when it comes to filling your piggy bank; the other half is tweaking your spending habits so you don’t drain your pay-check dry every single month. Start eating out less and prepare your own meals more: you’d be surprised how much money you can save that way. Draw up a very simple budget plan, allocating a percentage of your pay-check to savings, food, bills, and other expenses. And – this is the real trick – stick to that budget for the rest of the year!
3. Less Is More
Here’s another surprisingly easy way to save: cut out unnecessary purchases with extreme prejudice. The truth is we spend on stuff we don’t need all the time, and we do it more often than we admit. For example, how many Starbucks coffees do you buy every month? Or have you ever talked yourself into buying that cute bag just because you had to have it? Once you start catching on to these buying patterns, you can set firmer boundaries where your wallet is concerned.
Before buying anything big, don’t forget to clear your closet of the stuff you don’t use anymore! You can always swap old clothes with your friends, donate them to charity, or even hold a garage sale. Pay a visit to your local library or check websites like Project Gutenberg to save on reading material.
4. The Internet is Your Friend
Thinking of restocking your newly-overhauled closet with fresh new pieces? Check online for all kinds of bargains, including end-of-season sales at your favourite stores and exclusive discounts you can get through your credit card. Don’t forget that there are tons of online boutiques and private sales that specialise in gorgeous, trendy items you can’t buy in the city. You can also make use of apps like Toshl and Mint to track your purchases and curb impulse spending.
5. Keeping Up With the Joneses
Peer pressure: it’s not just for high school! It’s not uncommon for people to buy more expensive stuff just to project a certain “image,” even if they’re not doing it consciously. You don’t have to drop cash on the latest MacBook if your current computer still works fine. And unless you’re a serious photography enthusiast, you don’t need to invest in a flashy DSLR when you’re perfectly happy with your camera phone. Recognise status symbols for what they are without falling into their trap; sometimes, a brand is just a brand.
These are just a handful of tricks you can use to save a few extra bucks without missing out on the best things in life! You’ll be sure to pick up on tons more ideas and cheap thrills the more you learn about personal finance. Just remember that the key to any kind of financial success is building good habits through discipline. Here’s to a happier 2015!
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