Money is the root of everything in this world. We place a lot of value on different things, but one thing that’s a constant in this life is the need for cash. You cannot get by in life without it, and it pretty much rules our lives. It’s a strange situation, isn’t it? We’re controlled by notes, coins, and numbers on a screen. On their own, they hold little actual value, but in terms of the system we have in place, they’re all so very vital. Most of the things we do in life are to ensure we get the money, and not a day goes by without it entering our minds. We need it in order to have fun, relieve stress, and in order to put a roof over our head, drink clean water and eat food.
So, with all that said, it’s probably a good idea to keep or make as much of it as possible, right? There’s only so much of it to go around, unfortunately; if you’re not doing what you can to grab your share, then you might miss out on an awful lot in life. It can be a pretty cruel world, and you’re not owed anything from it, so you’ll have to have your head switched on throughout your working and retired life.
Thankfully, looking after money, and making the most of what you have doesn’t have to be too difficult. If it were so hard, then hardly anyone would have great, stable lives. A lot of emphasis often gets placed on poor financial choices, so it’s understandable if you feel as though this kind of thing is more likely to crush you. I’ve said before that if money were easy then no one would be in debt, so it’s not always a walk in the park, but it’s not rocket science, either – especially if you’re in a pretty safe position as it is.
What can you do to watch out for your money then? On the whole, it’s just down to making a few simple financial adjustments. Here are some ways to watch out for your money, save it and protect it.
Come up with a plan
It might seem a little obvious, but having an actual structure to your financial life would save you a lot of problems. Some people don’t bother with this kind of thing as they don’t want to be shackled by any kind of order. Their view is that life is to be lived and not contained. You have to respect that kind of zest and optimism, but it could land someone in a big mess financially in the long term.
Simply writing out what you should be doing over the next few months can help out a lot. When you have ideas in your head, it’s easy to forget them and make them vanish forever. When something is written down in front of you, it becomes real and holds a lot more authority than before. Write a plan for your finances, a goal perhaps, and hold yourself accountable. You should also write out what you have right now, and allocate funds to appropriate parts of your life.
Budgeting might seem boring, but it will keep you afloat more often than not. It will allow you to see what you have coming in and out. This shows you where you can make cut backs, reduce bills and how much you have left for saving and spending.
Once you realise all your debts, if you have any, then you can come up with an action plan to make savings in certain areas in order to pay back debts. Or you might have a goal to save more money and budgeting will allow for you to set a certain amount aside for savings whilst still allowing a portion for spending.
Writing it all down and seeing what you have each month or week will help you to stay on top of your financial planning and goals.
Stop with the impulse purchases
One thing we humans like to do is act on our impulses. Our brains tell us that we absolutely need something, and if we don’t get it, we feel a small sense of regret. Well, a lot of those impulsive actions never really amount to anything, in all honesty – they satisfy a need that lasts a few seconds, and then you go back to how you were before.
It’s a really bad spending habit to constantly act on impulse when purchasing things. It stops us from saving and can even land us in huge amounts of unmanageable debt.
If you have a limited budget then you should forgo the impulses you feel at the checkout counter. Sleep on large purchases and ask yourself if you really need the smaller ones. Wouldn’t that money be better spent on debts or put away in savings for the future or for a much better use?
You also need to realise that things in life aren’t as scarce as you think – there will always be another opportunity around the corner; don’t throw money at something straight away.
Realise that material things aren’t all great
Again, it’s easy to look at the latest trends and to want to be a part of them. Unfortunately this culture we have of throwaway fashion and mass -produced easily breakable goods is not good for our wallets or the planet.
Material objects can be great, but there’s a time and a place for them, and they aren’t great one-hundred percent of the time. Don’t fall into the trap of wanting to buy the latest things every single week/month. The novelty will wear off sooner or later, and you’ll be left with items that have depreciated in value for both yourself and everyone around you.
Instead, choose things wisely and make them last. Remember your impact on the environment as well as your wallet when you keep buying the latest things every few months, especially when the thing you already have is perfectly fine and doesn’t really need replacing!
Try to buy things that last for years. Buy clothes that you’ll wear for years, not a couple of times only. Buy technology that will last a good few years and not need replacing after a few months.
If you do need to replace things then sell your preloved things to recoup some of the value.
Watch out for scammers
Scammers are rife in this world, unfortunately. For some reason, some people like to take things that don’t belong to them. Have your wits about you and don’t let people have your personal details. If you receive a strange and invasive phone call or email, don’t bite immediately. Do a little research, and then see if it’s a legitimate thing.
Always hang up if your bank calls you. Call them back using the number on the back of your card. Never assume it’s your bank calling you. Scammers can be really clever nowadays so you should never trust that a phone call or email is really from the person it claims to be.
Once you’ve got some hard earned savings then you want to keep them. Don’t fall prey to a scammer and lose your cash.
Be secure online
Things like fraud and online theft are real dangers in this day and age. We’ve just talked about how you shouldn’t fall for people’s ploys, but this is something that can attack you without you even moving a muscle. Thankfully, we can work with different companies to prevent that kind of invasion. Installing anti-virus programmes is a good start if you have a Windows computer. There are also lots of different pieces of cybersecurity software around that can protect you. This Borgata online security post will tell you a little more about online issues and security as a whole if you’re interested.
Make sure your computer has protection and be careful about the websites you click on. Only use trusted websites and payment methods. It’s a good idea to use a payment method that offers buyer’s protection if anything goes wrong, such as PayPal.
Manage your habits
This is, of course, easier said than done – there are habits and then there are addictions. A few lifestyle changes, however, could mean you end up with an awful lot more money in your bank. Sure, smoking is hard to kick, but do you realise just how you spend a year on cigarettes? It’s an astonishing number – especially if you’re quite the smoker. 20 a day can cost £10 which means you spend the best part of £4000 a year just on cigarettes! That’s crazy! That could be a huge chunk of savings towards your future, a house deposit or even a once-in-a-lifetime holiday!
Going back to the first point - if you are recording your incomings and outgoings and budgeting for the month then you’ll be able to see where you can make cutbacks. Recognise where you are wasting money or making poor spending decisions on things that don’t really bring you joy, then save this money instead.
There are lots of ways to watch out for your money to make sure you have more, save more, don’t lose it and don’t waste it.
Related blog posts
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How to properly manage your salary and budget throughout the month
3 easy ways to save more money and increase your family’s savings balance
How we saved £6500 in 6 months to reach our £10k emergency fund savings goal