How to Save and Make Money in the Year of The Ox
This Year of the Ox, let your finances be as strong and hardworking as this dependable animal. Here are some simple tips to boost your financial health this 2021.
What do Barack Obama, Princess Diana, and Margaret Thatcher have in common? They were all born in the Year of the Ox. An industrious and humble animal, we can take a cue from the ox this year when it comes to our finances.
Take a long, hard look at your finances and set yourself up for greater security with these tips.
Before we get into the nitty-gritty of pinching your pennies and growing your money tree, here are three things you should do first, according to financial expert Larese Purnell:
1. Get organized and prioritize.
Go through all your bank statements, credit card statements, bills, and receipts. Figure out where your money is going, both needs and wants. You’ll be able to work out all your regular expenses and deduct these from your income. Decide on your money priorities: Which items are necessary (basic living expenses, for example) and which are extras or luxuries you can cut back on? You can then set a financial goal, whether it’s to build a bigger emergency fund or get out of debt.
2. Make it a team effort.
Purnell says it’s best to create accountability partners so everyone is on the same page, whether it’s your spouse or the entire household. “A lot of time we don't realize that people in your household will keep you from accomplishing those,” Purnell shares.
3. Assess your budget every week.
“I just ask you on Saturdays to date your money,” Purnell advises. “Give yourself one to two hours every Saturday to just sit down and go through your finances so that you can really make sure at the end of the year that you're better off than the beginning of the year where you started.” Track your progress with a method that works for you, whether it’s a notebook, a spreadsheet, or a budgeting app.
Now that we’ve established a strong foundation for your financial goals, here are some ways you can save money, save while spending money, and make even more money.
How to save money
- Pay yourself first. Commit to putting a certain amount of your income towards savings every month. Experts recommend 20 percent, but that’s not feasible for everyone. Figure out what works best for you, no matter how small at first. The important thing is to start. Set up an automatic savings plan. This “set it and forget it” strategy will keep your contributions consistent.
- Don’t wait until you're debt-free to start saving. It takes time for your money to grow--and that’s what you miss out on when you put off saving. It’s not just how much you save, but for how long. The earlier you begin putting away money, the bigger your compound interest will grow over time.
- Stop unnecessary spending. Delete unused direct debits that are going out of your current account. Are you still paying for magazines you never read or trial subscriptions you meant to cancel? Now is the time to stop paying for them.
How to save money while spending
- Look before you shop. The best way to make sure you only shop for what you need? Duck your head in the pantry, the laundry room, or the refrigerator to see what you already have. Buy less, waste less, and save a lot.
- Never pay full price. Keep an eye out for sales, discounts, and other promos. Look for vouchers online, sign up for newsletters, and follow your favorite retailers on social media. Stock up on pantry items and other everyday necessities when they go on sale.
- Redeem your loyalty points and gift cards. Use those points before they expire--you earned them! Don’t waste those gift cards, either. Gift cards worth USD3 billion go unused every year.
- Make a switch. From supermarkets to household utilities, always try to get a better deal. Go for less expensive brands that are just as effective. Start shopping at a discount supermarket. Switch--or threaten to switch--to a new service provider and see if they offer you a better deal to stay with their company.
- Get paid when paying your bills. Choose a credit card that offers benefits like cashback bonuses, free insurance protection, and other perks for paying your bills.
Buy your big-ticket items based on the best times to buy. Take advantage of yearly retail sales like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Know when your favorite brands are about to release new models so you can get last year’s model at a discounted price. From air conditioners and school supplies to travel packages and outdoor furniture, try your best to buy off-season. Your wallet will thank you for it.
How to make more money
- Sell what you don’t use. Long-forgotten toys, unused gifts, small appliances, and other items taking up space in your home can fill your wallet instead. Post your items for sale on sites like eBay, Carousell, and Facebook Marketplace. What isn't sold can be donated. Let 2021 also be the year you get closer to being zero waste.
- Start a side hustle or a full-time business. You can turn your passion for baking or your skills in graphic design into another income stream. Evaluate your skill sets, ask people you trust for advice, do your research, and get cracking. These days, diversification is the name of the game. Given all the uncertainty in the world, it’s best not to put all your eggs in one basket. Who knows? One of them might transform into your golden egg.
Small expenses add up fast, but so does taking consistent steps every day towards your financial goals. Keep your gaze forward and your eye on the prize. When you look back at the end of the year, you’ll see it all adds up.
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