“You must learn to save first and spend afterwards.” - John Pool
I can always remember my grandparents telling me to save my pennies, and the pounds would take care of themselves. As a result, I had a piggy bank to save those precious pennies, and when it was full - that’s right, I spent it. However, the idea of saving for what I wanted has remained with me to this day, and even though I was a complete spendthrift as a teenager; I can now see the benefit of saving. For many, the concept of saving is rather outdated. We live in a world based on credit, where we want something and we want it now. However, living on the ‘never never’ has its drawbacks, and as we cannot predict the future; without a buffer, we may fall through the cracks.
With inflation constantly on the increase, many people are struggling on a daily basis to simply make ends meet. I frequently think back to the lives my grandparents lived, and have listed below some of their very helpful hints on how to cope when times are tough:
• Eating Out - is this really a necessity? For many, eating out has become a way of life and a hard habit to break. However, this is a very expensive habit and one that could be restricted to ‘special occasions’ only. These occasions will be looked forward to and appreciated. Add to this the knowledge that you have managed to save money, and you will be surprised just how enjoyable these occasions become.
• Taking a packed lunch to work - big savings can be made here by simply taking your own lunch to work. Add up what you have saved during the week, and give yourself a little treat (coffee out).
• Car Pooling - this is a great idea and benefits everyone. With the ever increasing cost of petrol, car pooling saves money and benefits the environment; not to mention your bank account.
• Entertainment - family entertainment, especially a trip to the cinema is very expensive. Try a few cinema evenings at home – make your own popcorn; the kids will love it, and it’s a great bonding experience. Have a dinner party and ask your friends to bring a dish. You don’t always have to go out to have the social experience. Using your imagination will create lots of happy entertainment memories.
• Veggie Patch - this is great fun if you get the kids involved, and certainly beats a trip to the supermarket. If your neighbour has a veggie patch, swap veggies and hints. This is great for the community spirit as well. The plus side here is you know exactly what you are eating and where it’s from, not to mention that all important factor - it’s grown with lots of love.
These are just a few areas where savings can be made. All that is needed is an open mind and a willingness to make it work. We have become conditioned by what the media thinks we want or need, when all we really have to do is be honest with ourselves and take charge of our own future.