How One Hour of Planning Can Help You Save More
We live in a world of instant gratification. Where texts have replaced phone calls, emoji’s have replaced texts, and the streets are littered with Pokémon to catch. It can be hard to remain focused on anything, from where your two feet are going, holding conversations long than five minutes, and focusing on your finances.
If you’ve been trying to put money aside for a car and find your consistently falling short, then it’s time to put down the phone, stop trying to catch them all, and make a strategy for saving.
Whether it was your New Year’s Resolution for 2016 or it’s your goal to buy a car in the near future, all it takes is one hour of planning and you can make significant strides in saving money for that new set of wheels.
First, pick a day to sit down and really go through your budget and finances. And actually stick to it. Call it a Money Date. All you need is one hour to commit to sitting down with your money so that you can understand what's going on. Make sure it's when your schedule isn’t hectic and you’re feeling focused and calm - there's nothing worse than crunching numbers on a frazzled brain. Make notes and go through your accounts. Review your budget, track your progress, and see where you’re at. It’s important to make time for your finances and see exactly where you stand, how much you’re spending, and identify areas in your life that need tweaking.
Part of this tweaking means readjusting different areas of your life.
Next, take a look at what you’re spending too much money on. If you’re spending too much on tacos every day at lunch, then you might need to make tacos only a once a week event (conveniently, Taco Tuesday is a much celebrated Taco day). Commit to eating out only once per week, and plan your meals for the other 6 days. This is one of the easiest ways you can stop yourself from reaching for your wallet.
Similarly, start making that coffee at home. We know. It took you ages to find your drink. It defines you. It emulates your very existence. But at 5 bucks a pop, 5 times a week, that’s 20 bucks you’re spending on your morning commute to work on coffee alone – which means, all in, you’re spending 100 bucks every month on your fancy no foam latte. Think about switching to Foldgers and think about how good it will taste when you’re driving in that car you’re trying to save for.
Stay busy. Work more. Commit to taking on side projects, and plan to stay later at the office for the next few weeks. Keeping busy is one way to prevent you from going out more, which means less money spent. So if you’re finding you have a lot of down time (i.e. binge watching Netflix, watching too many videos on the Chive) then perhaps it’s time to pick up a second job or side gig to keep you busy and bring in some more dough.
Last but not least, take stock of your social activities. Balance your FOMO/YOLO goals. Social media is everywhere and all pervasive. Even the most frugal of us fall victim to FOMO, which can easily tap into your YOLO way of thinking, especially when you’re trying to keep up with your friends and their going out habits. We’re all for living in the present and listening to our YOLO Sherpa, but there is a difference between healthy YOLO-ing and unhealthy YOLO-ing, and the latter often goes hand in hand with excdessive spending habits. So maybe this year you don't go sky diving in Antigua with your friends. But you’ll be the first person your friends call up when they want to do a road trip in your new Forerunner that you got through BC Drive. And that’s pretty sweet.
It only takes an hour to really look into your finances, but it's worth every penny.