Everybody wants to, and tries to increase his or her savings in tough times but these are the times when it is very difficult to save. With rampant unemployment, perpetually lowering wages and soaring inflation even the thought of saving money seems like a far-fetched idea.
We save money for long-term security and we need money for short-term needs, for instance food, mortgage, kids school and college fees, medical bills and all sorts of expenditures that take precedence over our tendency to save.
Is it impossible to increase your savings during tough or hard times?
It depends. Sometimes things that seem impossible become possible if we sit down and think up of ways to achieve the task. Listed below are a few ways you can increase your savings even in tough times:
- Avoid impulse buying: Do you really need that gadget or that commodity you are about to buy? Whenever there is a strong impulse to buy something, wait for a few minutes. If you are in a mall, take a round of another aisle and then come back to the one where your desire sit. If you want to save money and if the need to own that thing isn’t very urgent, you will be able to control your urge to buy. Many times we buy things we don’t really need and simply by them to own them.
- Stop worrying about what people think of you: Owning an iPhone doesn’t make you cool, but saving money does. In the same vein going around in an expensive car or fuel guzzling truck might impress people you come across, but it is going to dig a big hole in your pocket and you might soon have to sell your expensive car. Don’t buy stuff just to impress people.
- Do bargain shopping: There are lots of bargains and promotional deals when you go shopping. Look for them, and you will find them. You can also collect coupons and discount cards and then use them when you are shopping. There are some markets where you can purchase food items cheaper compared to other markets. Explore such markets.
- Minimize the use of your credit card: Plastic money is good in a sense that you don’t have to carry cash with you and you can also use it while purchasing goods and services on the Internet, but the more you use your card, the more you have to pay to the credit card company. Pay off all your credit card debts even if you have to skip meals because having money to pay in your credit card means you are constantly paying interest. If it is possible, stop carrying your credit card altogether because it is very easy to shop like crazy without realising how much money you are actually spending.
- Try to create multiple income streams: If a single job doesn’t give you much scope to save money during tough times, try to generate another income stream. If there is some skill that you can offer to your friends, family and neighbors, let them know. If you can open a side business on the Internet offering consulting services, then do that, although getting business on the Internet, whether direct or through advertising revenue takes its own good time and effort, but at least it is better than doing nothing.
- Include saving as a part of your monthly budget: Just as food is an inseparable part of your monthly budget, so should be your saving. Don’t consider increasing your savings as a leisure, or something that you should do when you have extra cash. Even if you can save five dollars this month and ten dollars the next month, fifteen dollars are still more than having no dollars.
- Turn saving into a family project: You don’t save just for yourself, you save for the entire family, so it is the responsibility of your entire family to get involved and save money. Have weekly meetings with all your family members and brainstorm on how individual members can contribute towards your savings. This way even younger children will feel important and you will see a significant improvement in your savings.
- Don’t throw away food: Aside from the fact that the food that you normally throw away can feed almost a family in a Third World country, you are practically throwing away money when you throw food. Devise ways to reuse food that remains un-eaten. Store leftover food in the refrigerator and concoct an entirely new meal out of it for your dinner, lunch or breakfast.
- Take good care of your health: This will reduce your medical bills. Cut down on junk food, indulge in physical exercises and go for long walks. Encourage every family member to take good care of body and teeth.
- Barter with your friends and relatives: Do you have something you don’t need but your friend needs? Does your friend have something he doesn’t need but you need? Exchange it. You can also exchange services for products and vice versa.
- Conserve energy: Make sure your electrical appliances and light bulbs are switched off when not in use. Similarly, conduct an audit of your house and see that heat doesn’t escape in winter and doesn’t enter your house in summer. There are many ways you can change the surroundings of your interiors in order to use less energy and hence save on your energy bills.
- Spend more time with your family in order to increase your savings: Yes, spending time with your family instead of going to the bar or visiting an expensive club is definitely going to be more enjoyable. Even a simple lunch of vegetable sandwiches on your lawn can be an enthralling experience.
So these are a few ways you can increase your savings even in tough times. Feel welcome to contribute your own thoughts in the comments section.