These are ten ways that I save money, or have saved money in the past.
1. Create multiple streams of income
To protect yourself from the effects of retrenchment in this recession, it’s wise to have more than one income. This may be difficult for some whose primary job takes up most of their time and energy, but you can start with small jobs if you want the extra cash, or if you want to buy something without touching all your savings. When I did the budget for my wedding I knew I wouldn’t cover my share without wiping out my savings, so I had to create multiple income opportunities. That year I gave lessons, marked CXC (both January and June), marked CAPE, examined CSEC oral exams and I even worked for elections.
2. Car pool
My commute to and from work daily costs me $35. I car pool with a colleague and we share the driving for the week. This can work for you if you have a safe place to park your car at the pick-up point, if you can get a ride to the pick-up point or if you have colleagues that share your work route. Plus, it’s good for the environment!
My monthly car pool savings: $490
3. Use credit card wisely
Credit Cards can save you money if you know how to use it smartly. I buy everything that I can with my credit card. It offers a small cash reward based on how much money I use and pay monthly and I make sure to take advantage of it. I never buy something on my credit card that I can’t afford to repay at the end of the billing cycle. Interest on borrowed money on credit cards is very high and debt is the enemy.
4. Prioritize debt payments
Repaying money that you borrowed comes with interest. Due to your financial situation it may be unavoidable to be in debt but you should seek to pay all borrowed money as soon as possible, no matter how small your income. I took a student loan while I was studying in UWI and six months after school I had to begin payments. Although I was an OJT earning $4500 a month, I made sure to pay my $2000 installment and live on the balance. It was the best feeling in the world to pay out that loan!
5. Needs before wants
I have this memo on my phone: “Is this a want or a need? Can I live without it?” When I buy something I whip out my phone and assess whether or not I should buy the item. Yes, we all want a new, shiny SUV or 4×4 but do you really need a newer, bigger, more expensive vehicle? I have a used 2004 Nissan March and it is really cheap to maintain and takes me anywhere I need to be debt-free.
6. DIY projects
I never believed I could do things until I actually got up and did it. It is so easy to do things for yourself that once seemed very difficult in the past. I painted my house, grouted tiles, plastered walls, varnished doors, mixed concrete and so much more! It saved me a lot of money. Plus, you appreciate things more when you do them yourself!
7. Buy bulk
Buying in bulk really does save you money. I have a Pricemart card which I use to buy stuff like soap, toothpaste, dishwashing detergent, tuna, sardines, ice-cream, bottled-water, sugar and cheese. However, I compare prices with the supermarket so I know where to buy the cheaper items. Also, for items I don’t need in bulk, I buy in the supermarket as well.
8. Adopt minimalist lifestyle
Being a minimalist means trying to live with the least amount of items possible. I really love the concept and since I’ve shifted to minimalism I find myself much happier. When I left my parents house I saw the opportunity to have fewer belongings. Currently, I have four pairs of shoes to my name which I rotate for work and liming. My handbag once belonged to my friend’s mother and I have two lipsticks and two nail varnishes. I will do another post on how I try to be minimalist, but it really does get rid of the clutter and the need to buy more stuff.
9. Insurance Products
I have an annuity or pension plan which gives me a tax break now. You can look into it if you want a low risk investment and if you think that you will live long enough to reap the benefits. Also, I have a critical health plan which allows me to cash in if I do become critically ill. It doesn’t save you money now but it may save you from selling barbeque if you are dying and need a surgery. There are many loopholes in the policy though, so shop around and carefully read the policy because insurance companies will love to take your money and not pay out. I’m still undecided about this one. Tell me what you think in the comments below.
10. Communal living
I lived with my parents rent-free and now I live with my husband rent-free. I can’t deny that communal living saves money. Living with someone is more economical than living with yourself, especially if that person owns a property. The history of marriage was based on economics. Hence, to save some money on rent you should get married or suck it up and live with your parents.