How to Overcome the Difficulty of Saving Money
I remember walking to our house carrying one kilo and half of rice, 2 cans of sardines and a few packs of noodles with a wide smile that could almost reach my ears. The smile came from the feeling that I was able to finally buy food for me and my mom. Just like every Filipino wanting to help their family, there’s this feeling of priceless joy whenever you bring something to the table – literally.
I was paid a little over 20 pesos per hour then and made barely 3000 per month. Yet, I was so happy and hopeful. Too hopeful that I even decided to open to a savings account in a local bank. Every time I get my salary, I look forward to putting a portion of my meager salary to the bank. It was very difficult to make both ends meet as I needed to pay my tuition (it helped that I was a half scholar), buy our necessities and still manage to save money.
Looking back, I’m thankful for that decision to try and save money. I’ve learned to overcome the hurdles and most importantly, I’ve learned the principles of saving money – especially when it was most difficult to.
1. Find a bank that allows you to open a savings account with low opening balance
Most banks require such a high opening balance that’s why most people are often discouraged to save at all.
1. Find a bank that’s near your workplace so you won’t be tempted to go to the mall first and splurge your hard earned money there.
The goal is to have a budget plan and ensure that a portion of your money goes to your savings account.
I started by opening an account (with now defunct LBC Bank) and I would save at least Php200 every salary. Remember I was only earning Php3000 then so Php200 was already quite a challenge for me though it may seem too small for some. The key is to not be discouraged with how little money you start with, as long as you keep doing it.
2. Focus on your needs, eliminate the wants
I was lucky to have an Ilocano mom who was (still is) thrifty and taught me the value of hard work and the need to save money. At that stage of my life, I knew I couldn’t afford to have expensive wants, so I focused on our needs instead. Simple things like buying vegetables for lunch instead of meat (not only because it’s cheaper but definitely healthier) helped me develop a discipline in myself to actually stick to the budget no matter how tempting it is to buy something else. It’s those little things we sacrifice for the sake of our long term plans that will eventually pay off.
3. Have more goals and fewer likes
Focus on the things that you wish to achieve rather than the things you wish to have. Stay away from activities or even friends who don’t help you achieve your goal to save money. Yes, stay away from parties and all sort of unnecessary expenditures. I don’t suggest you be a loner, but trust me, there’s plenty of time for celebration once you’re to have enough savings already.
Don’t be afraid to start small, develop a habit of prioritizing your goals over fleeting pleasure and keep that discipline in yourself. Once you’re able to save, think of ways on how you can make that money grow whether it be opening a new business, investing or keep saving till you’re sure you’ve learned enough about where you’ll spend your money.
The best time to save your money is when you think it’s most difficult to because you’ll try and find ways to actually achieve your goal and develop discipline you couldn’t establish in any other ways.