As the pandemic continues ravaging the world, the aspect of our life that is worst-hit is the financial aspect. It has become increasingly apparent that the pandemic has plunged most people into a financial crisis that they can barely come out from.
You are not alone in this! Just last week, my closest friend called to lament about the current economic crisis in the world. Amongst other things, we pinpointed the saddening fact that there are spikes in food prices, transportation, accommodation, and other essentials, and yet no addition to salaries or wages that we earn.
This reality – much as it is grim – calls for an effective intervention strategy. It calls for a review of our usual expenses prior to the pandemic and demands for more financial literacy to meet up with our responsibilities and still have extra to save up for rainy days.
A few of us know about some money hacks, but do you know how much it helps you save some money? Do we really implement these money hacks? Also, do you know that there are everyday money hacks that save you tons of money if you include them in your daily life? I bet you don’t!
So, here are a few ridiculously-easy money hacks that you can adopt to cut down your expenses. Do you know what else? They totally work because I use most of them. So, here goes the list;
OPT FOR MORE OF HOME-COOKED MEALS – Like you and everyone else, I enjoy going to restaurants to indulge in lavish meals. The luxury (you know, having someone wait on you!) it affords, and the opulence of the environment is always heavenly. But you know what else? They create a gigantic hole in your pocket long before you realize it. No matter how affordable you think it is, it is surely more expensive than home-made meals. Rather than spend the little money you have on takeouts, home-delivered meals, or lavish restaurant meals, opt for a nicely-cooked home meal. You will be saving tons of cash! Not enough time to cook every day? You can whip up extra batches of meals and stock your freezer, then microwave to eat when hungry.
BUY SHELF-STABLE FOODSTUFFS IN BULK – Do you know that by buying those household essentials and groceries that you use often in bulk, that you are saving tons of cash? Think about it for a minute. A pack of pasta may be sold at $1 but if you buy a carton (about 20 or so packs in it), you may get it at less than $15. In other words, that is $5 saved from buying in bulk. If you do the same for other household essentials, the total amount saved would surely be enough to make a significant change in your pension savings. Another advantage of buying in bulk is that even when the price of that commodity rises, odds are that you will still have some in your pantry to tide you over till the price either lowers or stabilizes. Personally, this is my greatest money hack.
REFILLED WATER IS JUST AS GOOD AS BOTTLED WATER – Often, I hear people complain a lot about their finances and yet have made it a habit to drink only bottled water when they have a good source of clean drinking water. Truth is that there’s nothing wrong with drinking only bottled water, if you can comfortably afford to do so. But if you can’t afford to do that and you have a good source of clean tap water, refilled water is just as good as bottled water. All you may need to do is either get a good water filter or practice boiling and cooling the water before drinking. It saves tons of cash. Do you know what else? By doing this, you would be living a sustainable life that will aid preserve our planet for future generations. How? Because these cans are not organic and cannot be degraded, they cause more harm to the earth and contribute to global warming.
DRINK MORE WATER THAN OTHER BEVERAGES – Most people would rather eat each meal with a glass of artificially-sweetened drinks than with water. Asides the fact that these drinks may not be so healthy due to the high volume of processed flavourants, they are also pretty expensive; and thus, capable of leaning noticeable dents in our pockets over an extended period of time. So next time you get tempted to eat each meal with expensive drinks, remember that your pocket would blame you later on!
THRIFT STORES EXIST FOR A REASON – Are you amongst those that splurge on new clothes and shoes every other day? Do you earn less than Kim Kardashian and yet share the same favorite clothing store – even buying from there – with her? Do you know that most of the clothes in your favorite boutique are overpriced? Most often, the prices are there to satisfy your whimsical desires to own expensive things. Odds are that you don’t wear half of the clothes in your closet. Adding more clothes on a whimsical desire rather than due to a real need is certainly not the best way to cut down your expenses.
LIVE IN APARTMENTS CLOSER TO YOUR WORKPLACE – A recent survey by the U.S. Census Bureau showed that over 200 hours (4.35 hours per week) are lost yearly by people who commute to a full-time, 5-day-a-week job, roundtrip. This is asides other frequently-visited places like Church, schools, parks, restaurants etcetera. When you consider the financial implication of the commuting, the amount is staggering. Living close to your most frequently visited places saves you the stress of always commuting and the additional expenses of paying for your rides or buying petrol for your cars. By living close, you can just stroll to work hassle-free and in harmony with nature.
PAY YOURSELF FIRST – At the first sight of a paycheck, the mind comes up with multitudes of wants and needs that it would like to have. What do we do? Most often, we tend to focus on acquiring those wants first. A better financial mindset would be to pay yourself first by investing at least 20-30% of your monthly paycheck into your pension savings. Then prioritize needs over wants and spread the rest of the money towards meeting those needs.
CHOOSE TO WALK SHORT DISTANCES RATHER THAN TAKE SHORT RIDES – Human beings are naturally wired to want comfort over stress. One of such desires is never having to walk more than one or two inches outside your home. For some people, it has become such a habit that they hail a ride when they want to get to the next street. Some even call a cab when they have to switch malls that are barely 5-10 minutes apart. Last year, through my monthly expenses, I realized that I saved over $100 (just over NGN 35,000) from walking short distances rather than entering rides. On the other hand, my sister saved up over $170 just from minimizing her use of rides. Do you know what else? It is not just about saving money. It is also healthy for you to take at least 30 minutes walk each day. So, when you have those short distance places to go to, use the opportunity to take your daily work. You will be simultaneously saving your money and health.
NEVER GO SHOPPING WITHOUT A LIST – We all know this tip, but yet most of us never practice it. Going for shopping without a list is like shooting yourself in the leg and still expecting to walk immediately without limping. For one, you spend most of the money you initially planned for the shopping on impulsive goods and buying. Then again, you overextend your limit by still buying those items you had in mind to buy prior to stepping into the mall. Make a list before going shopping and ensure to stick it irrespective of the temptations that abound. Another way you can curb impulsive spending and buying us by sticking to a 30-day rule to make sure you really want an item. If after the 30 days and you still need it, then buy it.
TAKE CARE OF YOUR HAIR YOURSELF – Have you ever calculated the amount of money you spend on your hair in a year? It will amaze you the amount of money you spend on it. While it is not entirely bad to spend so much on hair grooming, you can maximize this a little by adopting some tips.
For the gentlemen, you trim your hair and beards every week, right? Have you considered buying your own hair clipper? You can shave those beards just as excellently yourself. All it needs is a little practice. As for your hair, prices tend to be cheaper if you come with your own hair clipper.
Summarily, there are more than a hundred money hacks that can save you tons of cash. But it all starts with the mindset. You have to have decided to improve in your financial life before you can pull through with these money hacks. Truth is that it may be hard initially to adopt some of these methods but it gets easier with time too. With enough practice, using some of the money hacks will surely become a habit that would have you smiling to the bank in your old age.