My Tips to Savings

20 May

Saving money is easy for me.  But why is it so hard for others to save?

I’m polar opposite from my younger brother.  He makes more than I do, but he wastes his money on who knows what!  He lives at home with my parents, doesn’t have to pay rent or food.  Yet, his credit card is maxed out all the time.  He’s always asking for money… asking for help.  He lives in the moment, doesn’t care about savings at all.  One day, he has to wake up to reality of the real world and soon it’ll bite him where it hurts.

The sad fact is he still owes me in the thousands, I regret my decision to bailing him out countless of times.  I might as well write it off as a bad debt.  I hope one day he’ll come around, but it’s hard to change a person’s habits.

This is the way I operate:

  • I track all my expenses down to the penny from putting a quarter in a parking meter to groceries.  I know exactly where my money is going to.  Some months are worst than others.  I can pin point as to why.  Can I cut back on this?  Maybe, it is time for me to stop buying junk food cause that’s unhealthy for myself and budget.  It’s all about money management.  Spending under what I make will give me the freedom to do whatever I want in the future.
  • I hate paying fees!  I pay off my credit card balance in full by the due date.  President Choice Financial and ING Direct are online banks that I use for my daily banking needs where I pay absolutely no fees.
  • Most of my purchases are put through my credit card.  MBNA Smart Cash is used for gas and groceries (3% cash back).  Capital One Aspire World Cash is used for all my other purchases (1.5% cash back).  They reward me cash back for using their cards exclusively.  So far, I’ve gotten $100 from MBNA this year.  As for Capital One, they rewarded me $100 just for signing up with them recently!  That’s $200 in my pocket and counting each time I make a purchase!
  • Food takes a big chunk out of my budget!  I try my best to pack lunch for work such as leftovers from the previous night’s dinner, microwavable lunches (not so healthy), or a simple sandwich/wrap.  If I do go out for lunches to eat, most of the time it’s under $10.  Sometimes the portion is too big for me to finish, instead of stuffing myself, I’d save half of it to eat the next day.  Two lunches in one!  Whenever I go out to eat, I usually just ask for water to accompany my meal.  There is no use to adding a few dollars to the tab or meaningless calories to your diet by ordering a drink.  Unless, it comes with the meal!
  • Never pay full price for an item!  There is always a sale around the corner.  Just be patient and wait for it.  I only buy what I need at a good price.  I bought my MSI laptop for $500 when it went on sale.  I got my HTC Desire Z for free by signing a 3 year contract for mobility service paying $20/mo plus tax.  It would be nice to have the latest gadgets like Ipad or Iphone, but the stuff I have works efficiently enough.
  •  Do not buy frivolous stuff that you don’t need!  Take inventory of what you have.  When you add them all up, do I really need this?  It is easy to want new trendy stuff.
  • Cars are money pits that takes you from point A to point B.  Some people pay a premium for a more luxurious name.  That’s all to it!  All cars have the same capability as any other.  If you must get a car, buy what you can afford.  Do not go out on a limb to look good in your car.  I have a 2006 Civic which is fully paid off.  I plan on driving this for a long time, unless it craps out on me.
  • Traveling is really fun, but it can also set you back quite a bit in money terms.  One trick is to take shorter vacations.  It’s always nice to escape the daily grind at least once a year!  Even though, I finally earned three weeks of vacation at work.  I still only take a week’s vacation at a time and budget how much to spend!  My most recent vacation was to Disneyworld in Orlando.  By flying out of Seattle instead of Vancouver, I’d save at least $300.  In total, I spent under $1400 for flight, Disney resort stay for 8 nights, food, park tickets (5 days at Disney/2 days at Universal) and souvenirs!  We went off season in Jan/Feb and it paid off!

When I was younger, I splurged on a $800 snowboard that I hardly use anymore.  I explored Europe with Contiki Tour for 17 days, once in a lifetime opportunity.  I would buy Manga comics or romance books for my reading enjoyment, now they’re just collecting dust and worthless.  Everyone has made buying blunders… so have I!  All I am saying here is however you spend your money, spend it wisely!!

As the years progressed, I have become more conscious of my spending habits.  You can say I’m a little stingy now… but I wouldn’t say I would deprive myself if I really wanted something or to do something!

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