So 2014 is here, and chances are you will have had a great party, spent a ton of money and had a ton to drink. That’s all good and well, but now it’s time to start cleaning up your act and making amends. That’s where your New Year’s resolutions will come in, and those may very well include saving some money and budgeting a little better.
But of course New Year’s resolutions are infamous for not lasting very long and in fact they often tend to fall through even before the end of January.
If you’re planning on saving money this year then, you need to make sure you don’t fall prey to the same mistakes that normally ruin such plans. This means looking out for common threats that tend to stand in the way, so read on and let’s take a look at some of the issues that tend to destroy even the most well-intentioned plans to save cash…
Activities and Opportunities
One of the biggest dangers to any plans to save money is the possibility of a great opportunity or activity coming up – particularly if that opportunity is social in nature. Imagine for instance that you’re thinking of saving money and not buying much this week, when you receive an offer from a friend to go to the pub and get some drinks. Saying no doesn’t just mean not spending money on something you want – it means missing out on an opportunity to bond and to recover from a stressful week with a good friend and a tipple. Worse, you might be invited to go to a concert, to see a show, or to do one of many other things that will end up costing you money. You go, you tell yourself you’ll save the money next week by spending even less, but of course you never know what the next thing to crop up will be.
So what’s the solution? The first is to try to find ways you can enjoy company and a bit of fun that won’t cost the Earth. That might mean having some drinks at yours for instance, or going out for a meal but not ordering a starter or a desert. Alternatively it might mean turning down that show, but suggesting an alternative that you can get excited about – like going to a free museum.
Explain to your friends ahead of time that you are going to be saving money this year and that they should expect you to occasionally turn down offers of outings so that it’s less awkward when you have to say no. And if you want to go a step further, consider giving up alcohol for a bit – this is one of the most expensive aspects of most nights out and no one will argue with your plans to try being t-total.
Items You Want
Saying no to nights out is very tough, but it might be that you’re someone who tends to spend more money on things like flat-screen TVs and new clothes. The problem is that most purchases we make along these lines are actually emotional in nature rather than logical – we buy things because we’re overcome by impulse rather than because we need those items. The problem is that it’s again very difficult to then save money later in the year to make up for it because no doubt you’ll find another item that you feel you simply must have.
To prevent this from being a problem you simply need to learn to wait. Don’t buy things you want right away – make a pact that you will always wait one month and then see if you still want them. Then if you find you do, set yourself a target to save for and then only treat yourself once you save that target amount.
You can stop yourself from buying treats and from going on lots of nights out, but if the boiler breaks and needs fixing there’s nothing you can do about it. Likewise if your computer gets damaged or your phone gets lost you’ll need a replacement.
This is where insurance comes in handy, and it’s why sometimes spending a little money up front can be a good investment. Do this and put away a contingency fund for such occurrences and you will be ready for whatever life throws at you.
Miley Brooke, the author of this post, works for Donnelly’s, providers of IT industry insurance. In her spare time, she likes to paint and is passionate about collecting works of arts by Australian artists. You can connect to her team on Google+ and have a look at their profile on LinkedIn.