It’s easy to spot similarities between the intention to save and to workout. We think about it, we read about it, and then we sleep over it. We admire friends with better bodies and better savings, and wish the same for ourselves. Then we live out this life in our heads with the promise of starting tomorrow, which never comes! We are just too lazy to save or follow an exercise regime regularly.
The good news is that there is no problem that cannot be fixed. According to research, if you perform an activity regularly for a certain number of days, it becomes a habit. But again, researchers differ on the number of days required to turn an activity into a habit.
We know savings, for its part, doesn’t come easy. So, we have identified 8 challenges which you must practice for 8 days. If savings doesn’t become a habit by the end of it, at least, the experience will be an eye opener in terms of where you falter with those hard-earned bucks. Once you figure out the problem areas, well, you are pretty much ready to start saving!
Boot up for the challenge, now!
Challenge #1 – Keep A Track
If asked about how much you spent today, will you be able to spit out a number? A ball park figure, maybe? No. This is because you don’t keep a record of all your spending – this is the bane of ‘I am supposed to have savings’ life. For the next 8 days, keep a record of all that you spend. Download an app that’ll allow you to make notes on the go, or you can get a notebook. Banks do make instant changes to your account and the same gets reflected in your online statement almost instantly (courtesy – net banking). But, that won’t tell you specifically what you’re spending on when you do cash transactions.
Writing down your expenses will give you an insight into your spending patterns. You will learn how much of your spending mix reflects necessary spending, and how much of it is unnecessary.
Challenge #2 – Follow The Grocery List
The biggest household expenditure comes from the kitchen section. Most of us shop for groceries like there is going to be a food apocalypse! Let’s take it easy on this one. Sit on your kitchen counter and make a list of all the things you need. Now walk to the grocery store and buy ‘only’ what’s on your list. You will be amazed to see the bill amount drop. Also, make sure you are full when you go grocery shopping. It’s been proven that people shop more on an empty stomach. And we know these little snacks don’t come cheap. So, for the next 8 days, make a list of grocery items daily and follow it diligently. Keep your wandering hands to yourself! Don’t forget to add the bill amount to your expense list at the end of the day.
Challenge #3 – Cook At Home
Takeaways or home deliveries are for sure a big drain on your wallet. Now, if you do this for even 4 out of 7 days in a week, you have just killed your chances at amassing wealth! For the next 8 days, cook at home. You might just find yourself participating in the next MasterChef. Cooking is a good stress buster, and getting a new dish right everyday will be a great ‘feel good’ experience. So, take out those cookbooks and start stirring!
Challenge #4 – It’s Always Been Food And Travel
Now that you are cooking delectable food at home, it’s important that you digest it well! If you are visiting the neighbourhood market, take a walk. You don’t have to hire an auto or take your two-wheeler to run small errands. Walking will definitely help you lose some weight and make you active. Likewise, for your daily commute, opt for public transportation or carpooling. Once you are used to walking, the closest bus stop won’t seem far away.
Additional Reading: 5 Money Mistakes The Young Make And 5 Kickass Solutions
Challenge #5 – Scout For Discounts
You can step up your savings challenge by looking for discounts and vouchers. If you shop at a particular store regularly, chances are you have amassed reward points with them. Or, if you use a particular Debit or Credit Card to shop more, check for reward points. You can convert your card points to gift vouchers or redeem them directly at the merchant store. Keeping a tab on gift vouchers, discounts, and reward points will help you build a taller savings pile.
Challenge #6 – Curb All The Spending
For 8 days, shop only what’s absolutely necessary. Don’t go shopping for clothes or buy wind chimes off the pedestrian shops just because they looked colourful and pretty. Avoid impulse shopping at all costs. Just your groceries and bills and any other items that might be absolutely necessary. Once you do this, you’ll notice a drastic change in the money that you save in your account. Impulse shopping might be cheap, but little trinkets shopped for over a period of time, sum up to quite a bit. It’s just for 8 days, then it’s a habit (we hope!).
Challenge #7 – Check Your Bank Accounts Regularly
Checking your bank account is crucial for saving. Are you wondering how? You put all your money in a savings account and then earn interest on it. Though you know it, do you check whether or not you receive your interest regularly? Once you start checking this, you can also start scouting for savings accounts which offer a better rate of interest. Savings is also about earning in these small, little ways. A few hundreds here and there will go a long way.
Challenge #8 – Earn More
To save more, you have to earn more. We are not asking you to pick a fight with your HR to up your salary. What we are saying is start something small alongside your regular day job. How about baking and partnering with a café near your house? Or you can carpool. This supplementary source of income can directly go into your savings account. You can surf the net for thousands of ideas. One of them is sure to click!
Additional Reading: Financial Habits Of 20-Somethings: The Good And The Bad
Test yourself against these 8 challenges for 8 days and you are sure to see improvements in your money management habits. You can thanks us later.