Being single has its own advantages and disadvantages. However I love the freedom that comes with it, but am worried about only one thing – My finances. So once again I am planning my New Year resolutions to save for my future. I decided not to re visit my last years goals as I am a coward and do not to know if I achieved them or not. For me it is the planning and implementation that is important. I am this year going to adopt a new approach…
Saving is supposed to be hard as you have to stop spending on whatever you want. That is what you all think, but it is not so. You can enjoy buy what you like and still save much for the future. Here is a three-step plan which will make saving much easier.
Step 1 : Understanding cash flow – The very first step is to understand how cash comes and goes out from your account. This is called studying the income and expenditure patterns. This will help understand your behaviour with the expenses. You can also concentrate on earning more. That is what I did. I started writing part-time as freelancer and that brings in the extra money for the saving.
Step 2: Decide your spending in advance – I am not saying that you should not spend when you like. I am an impulsive buyer and do that. But deciding the spending before going for shopping will help you to spend wisely. Lists help the most. Here are some tips to stop impulse buying in this article.
Step 3: Limit monthly bills and Increase fixed saving – You can be careful with electricity, travelling and eating out. Also fix what you will save monthly. This will leave much in you hand and you can go for a holiday once a year! Turkey here I come (I hope).
Spending more when on a holiday with freedom is how you would act, isn’t it? You would stay in an expensive hotel, eat out of the best restaurant not really caring about money. You would not think of saving money for sure. But in these times which are uncertain you would need to be frugal even in places where generally you are care free. Here are some tips for saving while on a holiday:
- Plan and rent an apartment – Hotels are places of luxury and should be enjoyed. Well folks I do not think so. Hotels will not let you experience the culture up close. Try out renting an apartment on your next holiday and you will know what I am trying to say. Saving is a natural outcome as apartments are much more economic.
- Try and cook your own food – Once you have an apartment for the holidays, you can cook at home. This has many benefits. You will be healthier and would enjoy the vacation and saving will be there as you would not be eating out.
- Carry your own water – The apartment will invariably have a water purifier. Carry a reusable bottle and avoid buying bottled water. You are saving money and also helping the environment.
These are unconventional ways but save you so much money that you will be really amazed. Having cash issues when on vacation is a no go. Short term loans can help you solve you immediate cash issues. Ferratum has the easiest process of getting such loans. You can repay when you come back. It is very easy!
My holiday shopping funds are holding up, pretty well. Since aimlessly looking around for perfect gifts makes impulse spending more likely, I’ve mad a list of the exact gifts I want for each person on my list. I spend no more than an hour locating each gift. Since I have all of my promotional emails in their own folder, I choose the store most likely to have the gift I seek. If that store doesn’t have what I seek, I buy a similar item. Gifts will be small, but meaningful.
I’m also calculating how much I can spend at each store. My balances cannot go over a fixed amount, which is much less than my credit limit. I can still pay my balances in no more than 6 months, but can pay at least one balance in full before that much time passes. Things are working quite well, so far. My holiday gift giving will not force me to juggle between food and credit card payments!
I found a great article on alternative gift giving, and may propose one of the suggestions to friends, next year. In my drive to live a more frugal life, I’m sharpening my baking skills. I’m considering a Mincemeat Tart recipe for next year’s gifting. I’ll practice it, then wrap a piece for each friend. Since they aren’t great bakers, they’ll love the treat.
Being single and saving money seem poles apart right. However one can save more while being single. You have less liabilities to take care and can save much more. These savings will augur well for your future life.
Saving Tips for a single girl
There are certain easy actions which will help you build up a corpus for the future.
- Start cooking – Ordering pizza every night is not good for physical and financial health. It eats away at you pocket. Start cooking and eat healthy food made by your own hands. It will be difficult to start but believe me the results are amazing.
- Shop once in a month – Try to be disciplined while shopping. Shopping is exciting but also costs. So, shop for essentials every month rather than stop buying. Carry on the window shopping instead.
- Set saving targets – When you receive paycheck, set some amount aside as an emergency fund. It will help you save more than not having a plan at all.
- Reward yourself on reaching saving goals – This acts as a motivation to keep on saving. Set a goal and once you achieve it, reward yourself with a nice outing. This is really good technique.
- Have a piggy bank – Collect the smaller notes and coins. The change that you get after buying should go in this. You will be amazed by the amount you can have at the end of the month. Otherwise the change just strays.
- Schedule holidays – Once you plan your holidays in advance you can get cheaper hotels and airline tickets. So save while you enjoy.
I have a personal experience of Credit cards. I knew more about credit card brands rather than the denomination of currency notes. And Yes I landed in a debt soup. Inadvertently you pay more while using credit cards.
Why am I telling you? Well I have learnt the hard way and want to share my knowledge. They lure you into a trap. The luring methods are cash back bonus and reward points. If you miss one payment your credit suffers. So, avoid use of credit cards.
Credit Card and Currency Notes
Let us understand with an example. It will give more clarity. You are out shopping for clothes. You have 200 Euros with you. That is your budget and no credit card. So whatever you buy is within the 200 Euros cash with you. Even if you like a dress that is more than 200 Euros, you cannot buy it. Now let’s explore another possibility. You have a credit card and you like a dress which is 300 Euros, much above your budget. But you will think, hey I need to pay later so let me buy it. That is the trap. Here you have spent 100 Euros more than your budget. Surely you have to balance it somewhere else. If you do not balance you will end up paying more on interest too. A recent study at MIT confirmed that people spend more with credit cards than cash. The overspending you do with credit card eats away at your savings. The seller will want you to use credit card, as there are benefits for the seller. Do not play into the hands of the marketer. Go without a credit card and instead use cash. Ferratum gives great advice with easy loans for freedom from debt. So be aware and avoid the debt burden if you can. I want you to avoid the mistakes I did.
I am such a happy lady; I have at last paid for my holiday to Greece – 2 whole weeks of nothing but sun, sea and sand… And a few drinks of course. I am going with a friend to an all inclusive resort and now it is all paid for. The holiday includes transfers to and from the hotel and drinks up to midnight. I am so glad we checked about that as some hotels stop the inclusive alcohol drinks as early as 9pm!!! Shocking, we paid slightly more to go to a larger resort hotel with a lot more inclusive amenities. Always worth checking what you is and isn’t included; like sun beds and parasols or spa facilities, indoor pools if going outside of season. If they are extras your holiday budget will go out the window. I have made sure we are both fully insured; I looked around for the best comprehensive deal, especially re health. Glad I read this article as my home insurance covers my personal belongings away from home so I saved on baggage insurance. As will certainly need some cash I looked at what using my debit card would cost then decided that for me a pre paid card would be the better option – reduces my impulse buys if I have a limited budget and in an emergency I have arranged with my back to transfer further funds.
I recently read an article that said single women are generally more cautious spenders than men. Note the word generally because I don’t think that is a reflection of my spending habits. I am not stupid, I hold a responsible job as a manager, I don’t regard myself as having an extravagant lifestyle so why am I always struggling by the end on the month?
To answer myself, I am aware I am a bit of an impulse shopper; I shop online a lot as work hours keep me away from shopping in town. It is so easy just to pop into a virtual shop and pick something up. I am sure there are 100’s of women just like me. So I thought I would share how I am trying to change, well curb my impulse shopping habits.
- I now have a folder that all my store emails go into direct, rather than my inbox, to curb my “I’ll just take a look’ syndrome.
- I only look in the folder once every 2 weeks, I am aiming for once a month, and then I delete any that doesn’t have special offers unopened.
- Sometimes stores will send out 2 or 3 emails in a month with ever increasing offers of discounts so worth waiting for the highest.
- I don’t shop online during work hours anymore – I wouldn’t go out to the shops then and this eliminates the “don’t think and buy” element of my shopping as I purchase quickly when I am suppose to working…
- I have put a time limited on myself for online shopping – I use my kitchen timer!!
- As all the shopping is done via my credit card I have decided the amount I have to spend each month. Now I have done this before and ignored it when splurging on a “must have’ hopefully with the above aids I can avoid that situation.
- If I go shopping I only take my credit card with me if I know I am going to purchase something – cant buy if no money. Simple but I am finding it does work. Note to self: Have to make sure I have petrol in the car before I leave home.
- I am paying off all my store cards and then they are going – currently they are in a drawer rather than my wallet now. I will then only use my current credit card which I change regularly to get the best interest rates. More on that in later posts.