Making money is hard but saving it, can be even harder! Who can blame you! There are so many temptations out there for you to splurge your hard earned cash on. Some are of course needed and some… well they are just not. It is these things that I am hoping to help you save your money on. The coffee from Costa that you absolutely need every morning, them new shoes that you need for next weeks party and of course that brand new Xbox game that comes out tomorrow! So please, let me introduce you to a very simple technique.
But before we start, I would just like to say that there is nothing wrong with treating yourselves here and there and in fact, I recommend you doing so every so often. Tasting the things that you like and want is a great motivation to aim for more in life (I speak about this type of motivation in a future article). But for those that need help saving those extra pennies and pounds (myself included) here we go.
Right, to start with I will give you an example of how this technique started in my mind. During my first semester at my university we were based in a campus where a Starbucks was. Almost every time I had a morning lecture I would buy a coffee (Latte with a caramel shot…yum!). This in the UK cost around £3.50. Although expensive for a coffee, this seemed small(ish) at the time in the grand scheme of things. However when I added it up at the end of my first month and looked at my bank statement, I ended up spending around £80 on coffee! £80 on coffee!! This to me was madness and I was actually really disappointed with myself that I did this. I certainly could not afford to spare £80 a month, let alone on coffee! Add this up with an occasional meal deal and impulse buy of a new shirt or a CD and you can see that per month all of this adds up!
So this is how I monitored and stopped my spending on small levels like this. I used my percentage rule. I compare every cost to a percentage of £100. So the coffee that cost me £3.5o was now in my head 3.5% of £100. This to me makes it sound a lot worse. Some more examples:
- New Ted Baker shoes cost: £69 – Which would be 69% of £100 spent on shoes!
- Brand new Xbox game cost: £45 – Which would make it 45% of £100 on one game!
- In one week I had 5 coffees costing £17.50 – 17.5% on coffee I just spent!
Now I am sure you can see how this works and do basic maths. Its so simple and is actually blatantly obvious. However what it is, is a change of mind set. A different perspective to spending small amounts of money that add up into big chunks. Thinking in terms of percentages really does stop you from buying as much.
Now having this for a put off to spending was really helpful for me and I hope it will be for you also! With the money that you do save you could use it to save more as well. For example, all I had to do was not buy coffee for one week and instead I used the money I would of spent, on a flask and some coffee granules. Therefore never needing to spend money on takeaway coffee again. For a university student this is my idea of a sound investment!
This technique will not make you rich, it will not stop you spending what you need to spend, but what it will do, is make you think twice before making the purchase decisions on perhaps something you may not really need. Think about it, If I said to you right now that if you spent 70% of your weekly budget (assuming its £100) on a pair of shoes, would you? Or would you look for perhaps a cheaper alternative? Or if you was about to impulse buy a Blue-ray DVD or Xbox game for £15, but told yourself wait, that 15% of £100, is that really worth it? Would you buy? Maybe you will, maybe you won’t, but it will add that perspective in your mind before you purchase.
I can honestly say that this technique has saved me hundreds, if not thousands of pounds and has actually reduced my need for small superfluous items. I have less stuff but I am happier and I have saved a massive amount of money compared to other students that I have spoken to.
I hoped this has helped you all. Let me know if this technique works for you, what has it stopped you buying?
Thank you all,