Unfortunately, saving is not cycling, and the principle “once learned, never forget” does not work here. Saving money is a long process, which acquires personal life hacks and traditions that make the general rules more effective.
Saving is a habit.
A habit is formed in 21 days. This period is divided into several important stages:
- The first day – you began to act.
- The second day – you re-completed the task.
- Seven days – you did not deviate from your plan and on the weekend, which seem to be created to give yourself a break from all obligations.
- 21 days – the habit is fixed and becomes conscious.
Lifehacker offers seven simple but working rules that you just need to make a habit – one for every day. Try doing them for a week to understand the basic principles of saving money. If you like it, repeat the tasks for another two weeks to consolidate the result.
Saving is not necessarily boring and tedious, if you perceive it as a game in which you get coins for winning, and not virtual ones.
Day 1. Expenses
It would be reasonable to compare savings with a diet, the purpose of which is weight gain . For the scale to swing to the right, you need to consume more calories than you expend. Accordingly, in order for the amount of money to increase due to savings, you need to spend less than you receive. And it is important to know what exactly they are going for.
If you do not keep track of expenses, then you do not know how much you spend and on what specifically.
Even if you live exactly on income and therefore know approximately how much you spend, the structure of expenses may surprise you unpleasantly. Therefore, it is worth starting to introduce the habit of saving by fixing all expenses.
Install an expense tracker app on your phone. Lifehacker wrote about the best of them – just choose the one that suits you. During the day, write down every ruble spent in it.
Do not throw away checks in stores, but put them in a special pocket of your bag. Then, using them, it will be easy to restore the picture of spending.
Day 2. Income
A very simple question: how much money do you have right now? Taking into account the funds on the card, savings, placers of euro cents left after the trip, stash for a rainy day in a box, little things in pockets, coins rolled under the sofa?
If you know the exact answer, you are a savings guru. And you are reading this text, only to once again see how cool you are in everything related to finance. Well, or you have 437 rubles left in your pocket before your salary, and therefore it was easy to calculate. But usually a person can answer this question very approximately, and this is fundamentally wrong.
The saying that money loves an account did not arise from scratch, and there is not an ounce of superstition in it – only a practical estimate.
You can plan expenses as much as you like, but this will only be effective if you know everything about your income and the status of your accounts. Therefore, you must have information about your money, not only in cases where there is practically no money left and you need to survive at any cost.
First, record all your income. Cash birthday gifts, envelopes from your grandmother, tax deductions are all receipts that need to be taken into account.
If your salary consists of a salary and a floating bonus, you are a freelancer, the organization pays the thirteenth salary or quarterly bonuses, it is important for you to understand your average monthly income. Collect all payments for the last year and calculate approximately how much you can expect every 30 days. See what month and what was the maximum income, what contributed to this. When and what was the minimum income: why, will this situation happen again and is this amount enough to live on.
Information about the movement of funds on accounts and correspondence with customers in instant messengers will help freelancers remember everything.
After that, think about all your money, even those that were lying around in the pockets of winter jackets. Finally, find out how much money you have in total.
By the way, everything that was found in unexpected places should be immediately sent to the piggy bank . You still didn’t know anything about this money and didn’t count on it, so parting with it will be painless.
Day 3. Motivation
If you make saving a goal, you will quickly get bored with the process. You limit yourself in various pleasant things, spend time dealing with finances, and what do you get in return? It’s time to make saving a tool and think about what goals it will help achieve.
What do you want to achieve financially? For some, the goal will be to live up to paycheck without debt. Someone needs to build up an airbag to change jobs or move. And someone sets himself ambitious goals like buying a car.
There are no miracles: saving money on an expensive car or an apartment in the center of Moscow will not work.
But the accumulated, for example, can become a start for opening your own business – in this case, it is not necessary to have millions. And already the income from the business will fulfill the dream.
Decide on financial goals. Be guided by rational arguments, but do not drive yourself into a rigid framework. You yourself can put an end to your desires, because you are afraid to think too globally.
Once the goal is clear, decide on a long-term strategy. How much money do you need? And is it possible to get them by simply cutting costs? If not, decide what needs to be done to make the dream a reality.
If you approach the issue seriously, you can expect bitter discoveries that will force you to reconsider your life.
Or they won’t. But a long-term strategy is in any case a good thing that helps to set benchmarks.
At the same time, it is wrong to define a financial goal once and for all. Periodically return to it, recount money, review options, weigh the relevance of desires. This is a good habit not only for the financial sector: the sooner you realize that you are doing something wrong, the easier it will be to change everything.
Day 4. Find ways to save money
To save, it is not enough today to refuse some kind of purchase. In this matter, you need to think systematically. So, if you buy a new game for 1,000 rubles, it will not hit your pocket as hard as chocolates for 50 rubles that you buy daily. For sweets for a month you will spend 1,500 rubles, for a year – already 18 thousand.
Looking for ways to save costs in two stages:
- Work on costly habits that take money out of you: take coffee to go, go to a business lunch instead of bringing lunch from home, smoke. Just count how much money is wasted – this is a great motivator.
- Eliminate unnecessary background spending. For example, you pay monthly for your home phone because you are too lazy to go and turn it off. Or your Internet tariff is not the most profitable with a mediocre speed. Or water is constantly dripping from the tap, taking your money down the drain.
Think, remember, analyze which items of expenditure can be reduced or eliminated. To start with, start with one bad financial habit and one background expense, and add more each week thereafter. At the end of the 21-day challenge, that will be three habits and three background expenses, not bad, right?
Day 5. Lists
As you already understood, saving and planning are inextricably linked. Therefore, you need to learn how to think ahead and, of course, make lists and schedules.
The most obvious of these is the shopping list. Firstly, this way you will not forget to buy something you need in a hypermarket with reasonable prices, so that later you do not buy it at exorbitant prices in a convenience store. Secondly, with such a list it is easier not to buy unnecessary things.
Another example is a financial calendar where you set reminders for when to pay utility bills so there are no fines, make a loan payment, and so on.
The lists are individual, so just keep an eye on yourself. If in some situation you say to yourself: “It’s better to remember or write it down,” then this can be the beginning of a full-fledged action plan.
Start with two lists – next week’s menu and shopping list.
Think carefully about all meals and snacks. At the same time, be guided by your preferences and the possibility of cooking in the middle of the week. For example, you will not have time in the evenings. This means that already on Sunday it is necessary either to prepare food for the whole week, or to make semi-finished products so that they only need to be warmed up. At the same time, you can eat some dishes for years, while others get bored in a day. It is logical to add the first to the menu.
In the shopping list, add the products that you need to prepare food from the menu and that are not at home. Check your kitchen and bathroom shelves. You may find that something else needs to be added to the list.
Get in the habit of immediately adding products and funds that are running low to the shopping list.
In the future, it is worth considering what other lists could reduce the financial burden. It can be, for example, an application with photos of clothes so that you can quickly understand in the store that you do not need a seventh white shirt .
Day 6: Budgeting
It is no coincidence that organizations plan a budgetin which they include all expenses and incomes. This, in particular, helps to avoid difficult situations. So, on the second day of the challenge, you marked the periods with the highest and lowest income. If in the second case it was a really small amount, you might have thought: “Oh, I wish I could move part of the income from the “fat” month to the unprofitable one …”
The beauty of a budget is that it can be done with it.
Let’s say you’re a freelancer who works on a piecework basis. The dangerous months for you are January and May, because they have a lot of holidays. Accordingly, in February and June, finances will sing romances. But with a budget, you take this into account and go through unprofitable months without problems. Another example: you only have enough money back to back for essential expenses, and the need to pay a tax of 10 thousand is unsettling. But you have planned a budget and set aside a little less than 1,000 rubles every month in advance. This is less painful than spending a significant amount of your monthly salary all at once.
In a word, the budget is a very useful financial document, and everyone needs it.
You have just begun to get acquainted with your finances, so it will be difficult to draw up a full-fledged budget for now. Start with a monthly and yearly financial plan layout. Try to remember all the expenses, compare them with income.
With a ready-made layout, it will be much easier for you to improve the budget and make changes to it in the future, because the global goal is to make it a habit.
Day 7. Date with money
If you’re hoping to have a long-term relationship with money, you’ll have to make regular dates with them. Plan a day and hour in your weekly schedule that you will devote to finances.
Ideally, you should do the following at this time:
- Check the correctness of the records of all expenses, sort out checks.
- Analyze spending. Find out which of them were necessary, which were spontaneous, and which arose through an oversight (forgot a bottle of water at home, had to buy a new one).
- Record weekly earnings, if any.
- Start a new shopping list for the week.
- Calculate the weekly savings, set aside this money or transfer it to a savings account.
- Make adjustments to the budget.
Over time, there will be more things for a financial date, but you will complete them faster – this is the magical power of habit.
If you lasted a week, an important milestone has been passed. Your smartphone keeps records of all expenses, and it’s time to analyze them.
Make no mistake: they will most likely be all right. People at the beginning of their journey are extremely disciplined.
However, these almost ideal items of expenditure will tell you a lot. Analyze your spending and think about how to adjust it in the future.
For the first week, this will be enough, but in the future, add new financial tasks to the list.
Days following. Habit formation
Repeat the starting week twice more with new conditions. Three times is better, because the month will give more comprehensive data about your finances. And you will notice that saving is much easier for you.
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