In my previous article, I discussed how poverty can make life harder and more expensive for you. If you fall below a certain level of income, it can be exceptionally difficult for you to get out of this situation. However, there are proven ways that can help you save money and to greatly improve your financial position, and possibly save you from going down that slippery slope. Below I have compiled a list of simple and easy life hacks To Improve Your Financial Situation.
The first step to achieving something is to take the initiative. This is a very simple concept but is easier said than done. If you want to start improving your financial position and secure your future and financial freedom, now is as good a time as any. The sooner you start your efforts towards financial planning and the sooner you start implementing that plan, the sooner you will accomplish it. However, if you wait for, say a month, it’s going to take you a month away from your target.
Procrastination also has deeper and deadlier effects that we often ignore. Procrastination in general makes us lazier. It takes us more time to start doing things and even more so in finishing what we started. This makes us less efficient and at the same time, we get less accomplished. On the other hand, if we have a proactive attitude towards things, it helps us get more accomplished in less time.
Another drawback of procrastination is the mental burden that accompanies it. As long as we have pending tasks, our mind is preoccupied with them. This can take a lot of mental space and limits our ability to focus on whatever else we are doing, thus reducing our productivity even further. In my experience, the best way to give up procrastination is to try and get the job done the earliest we can. A more active lifestyle that includes regular exercise also helps in reducing procrastination.
Start shopping smart
An easy way to save money is by dissecting where and how much you spend, and what better place to start this than your shopping habits this is one of the simplest hacks to improve your financial situation. Needless to say, it is essential that you buy whatever you can in bulk. This makes the stuff cheaper and can potentially save you hundreds of dollars. If you do not have a car to bring back all that stuff, consider taking an Uber, or even help from a friend who owns a car.
Another way to save money when shopping is by buying stuff on sale. This may sound cheap but everyone does that. When I say buy the stuff on sale, this strictly excludes impulse buying. Always keep a list of stuff you need, or will need in near future, on your phone. If you find something that you planned to buy next month but find a great deal on it, buy it now instead of paying more next month. Also, try out generic brands for food instead of buying big labels. Most of the time, the quality and taste are the same while sometimes it is actually the same product simply repackaged in a different box.
While doing your regular shopping as well, it is worth shopping around finding better deals instead of simply relying on your local store. This can help you save a surprising amount of money. With the help of the internet, now you do not even have to leave your home for this, as most of the larger stores have everything online.
Do not buy a car
I cannot stress this enough, especially for guys: do not buy a car that you cannot afford. If you do not have enough money to afford a car on cash, do not lease it. It is always going to be more expensive. Use public transport. It can save you a lot of money in the form of the cost of the car and the monthly maintenance and it will improve your financial situation.
On the other hand, if your work requires you to have a car, and the one you have is costing too much to maintain, buy something that you can afford on cash. If borrowing from the bank is absolutely unavoidable, instead of 0% interest loans, consider taking a personal loan at a cheap rate from your bank and compare the finance cost with the discount you will be getting from your car dealer if you get one for cash. More often than not, you will end up better off financially by taking the discount instead of the 0% interest.
Start developing good habits
When you try to quit something, doing it cold turkey is only a good option if you have the will power to do it. However, when it comes to improving your financial position, doing a lot at once is never recommended at all.
It is easier to make a list of 10 things that will improve your financial lives, but to incorporate them all at once into our lives can easily make us relapse from all of them. It is important to understand that making wise financial decisions is not easy and carries a lot of pressure. In order to cope with that immense pressure, it is recommended to take it one thing at a time.
Instead of doing a lot for a short period of time only to give up later, it is always better to do less but consistently. For example, if we look at savings, you can start putting away a small amount every month that does not bother you. Once you get into the habit of saving any amount, you can increase that amount to whatever you can afford. This way you will be less likely to relapse.
Stop eating out
After a long day at work, listening to your boss’s constant complaining and getting overworked the whole week, it may seem like a good idea to reward yourself with a nice dinner at your favorite local restaurant or to order takeaway to kick back and relax at home. This may take the edge off for now, but in the long run, eating out, or even the takeaways are a very expensive option especially if done on a regular basis.
The first thing that most financial advisers would suggest, in order to save money and to improve financial situation, is to stop eating out and start cooking everything at home. This is both more financially wise and a healthier option. On average, we eat out or order takeaway 3-5 times a week. Saving even a few dollars on each of those meals means $50-$100 monthly savings, or even more. Add a cup of coffee that you can brew at home every day instead of buying at Starbucks, and the annual savings can easily go to thousands of dollars.
These savings can help you buy that new car that you need so badly or something else to improve your daily life. An even better option would be if you took that amount and invested it somewhere and make use of the power of compounding. $5000 invested today at a 9.8% return (average return for the S&P500 over the past 90 years) for 20 years will become $32,435 and if you keep saving and investing the same amount every year for the same period of time, it becomes a whopping $279,950.
Take care of your sleep and exercise
This is no secret that a more active lifestyle can get you more accomplished. Not having any exercise can leave you lazy and feeling lethargic all the time. Not only that, but it can also make you less motivated and combined with a poor financial situation can greatly increase your chances of falling into depression.
In order to improve your financial situation, a balanced and healthy life is essential for which regular exercise is an integral part. To make it easy on the pocket, start with a daily run. Do not go to a fancy gym and instead of exercise at home. Do not buy fancy machinery, use lose weights, but make it a habit. Incorporate exercise into your daily routine. Even a few minutes of exercise is better than none.
Another important aspect of a balanced life is your sleep. The most common habit of financially successful people is getting proper sleep and waking up early. Make it a habit to wake up a few hours before work. This will not magically start increasing your bank balance. However, the early hours of the day are your most productive hours. By waking up a few hours before work you are allowing yourself that extra time that you can spend on that online side hustle that always gets ignored because of exhaustion at the end of the day.