Being single doesn’t mean there’s something wrong with you. Gone are the days where hunting down a groom or wooing a lady was the most important part of an individual’s life and tying the knot was the be all and end all of social life. Singles are taking the world by a storm and to all of you out there reading this, in order to continue ruling the world, y’all have got to figure out your finances, folks!
It’s easy to fall into the YOLO (for all non-millennial readers YOLO stands for You Only Live Once- a phrase used by most of us from the younger generation to justify every crazy move we make) trap, throw caution to the wind and go Kardashian Krazy on our shopping. That, however, is perfect recipe for disaster. Luckily for you, we have some savings tips that could help maximise your savings and pave the way for a solid financial future.
We’ve all heard this word a hundred times in our lives, but what is it really? And how do we go about it? Well, a budget is, quite simply put, a plan that helps you figure out your income and expenses, basically, keep a track of how much money you spend as opposed to how much you earn. Budget is an intensely dreaded word, no doubt, but an equally pivotal one. It’s so much easier to simply splurge, run out of money, scramble for cash to survive the month and pay the bills, and then repeat the same vicious cycle over and over again. However, the sheer joy of having your finances sorted and having enough money at the end of the month is akin to golfing down cupcakes on a cool summer day.
Now how does one budget? Well, it’s not all that complex if you just follow the 20-30-50 rule. Surveys have shown that while 40% of married folks have emergency funds, only 30% of singles do. An even simpler approach to budgeting would be to simply use a budgeting software or an app wherein you only need to feed in the data and let it do the planning and scheming. After all, what’s the point of all that AI and coding if it can’t make your life easier.
Do you really need that ‘all new’ iPhone XS (which might just end up being like the others)? Does your wardrobe really need that faux wool and fur coat that will probably never see the light of day considering Mumbai’s sweltering heat? While we’re not advocating a minimalist only approach to life, we would most certainly advice that you cut down on the unnecessary to ensure money for the necessary. It is of course much easier to go with a ‘I don’t care’ attitude when it comes to expenses, but it chains you to debt and takes away your financial freedom. Once you start making a conscious effort to cut down your expenses, you’ll see that it’s the smallest of changes that go on to make a huge difference. You could start by comparing prices before major purchases and assessing if you really need to buy a product. It might be on sale, but that doesn’t mean you’re saving if you don’t need it.
Learn to cook. A huge chunk of money is usually spent on food that can simply be cooked at home. Singles tend to spend 25% of their income on food, and that is a lot. With a little practice and smart grocery shopping, you can make restaurant worthy food or even snackable food for half the cost. When it comes to shopping, use shopping lists in order to keep track of your expenses and avoid buying things you don’t need. Also, shop at wholesale stores and local shops for basic goods instead of shopping at the mall which will invariably make you pay for their furnishing and air conditioning.
What we’re saying is avoid debt like the plague. All those fancy loan schemes and EMIs may seem glamorous and just the thing to do but know that you’re piling on debt which you don’t need to burden yourself with. Unpaid debt makes savings hard which renders you financially stagnant. If you do have debts to pay off, settle them at the earliest and avoid taking on future debt. Pay with cash whenever possible. Avoid the mistake of using a credit card to buy things you can’t afford. Remember that if you don’t have the readily available funds, the product isn’t for you. When in doubt, don’t pull the credit card out. Don’t miss credit card payments. Once you miss a payment, your next payment due will be much higher since you’ll have to make two payments and pay the late fee. It gets tougher to catch up, puts a strain on your budget, and tempts you to use your credit cards to make ends meet. Do not lend your credit card to someone. This may seem like a no brainer but even if they promise to pay your credit card bill, you are ultimately responsible for the charges they make and that means if they go on a spending spree and refuse to pay up, you’ll have to pay the balance. Limit the number of credit cards because the more you have, the more you can charge and the more you will have to pay up. Never put a vacation on credit, save first.
These are some basic Savings 101 tips. Following these will result in a guaranteed improvement in financial stability and money smarts. I’d bet my Ravenclaw scarf on it!
(This is the first in a two part series on Saving Tips for Singles.)
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