How to Save More Money

Singapore
October 12, 2008 2:52am CST
I'm really no good with my finances. Recently, when I checked my savings account, I made simple calculation. I seem to be spending as much as $500 on personal items on average every month. This figure is based on the average spending for the past 9 months. There were times when I spent a little more than $200 but there were times when I spend more than $700 per month. I'm trying to trim my expenses, hoping to save $100 or more eah month by cutting down. With the recent recession we are experiencing and inflation, I'm really concerned. How do you think I can do it? What are some of your tried and tested methods to save more money or to cut down expenses every month? Please tell me your experience. Thanks in advance for your response.
13 people like this
47 responses
@applefreak (3131)
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
i used to spend all my money without knowing where it went. then i started keeping a spending journal. i note down every single expenditure i made for two years. i go through my expenses every month and take note of those unnecessary ones. this also help me make up a budget. this way, i am able to know how much i need to survive in a month. when i receive my salary, i'll put aside a fixed amount into a savings account and just spend the rest. i don't have an ATM card to the savings account so i won't feel tempted to spend that money. cheers ;p
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
I repect you for your consistent effort in keeping a spending journal for two years. Suze Orman recommended that we look into our spending habits for the past two years to truly understand it. You have completed all teh research work you need in order to truly comprehend your spending habits. I do have some records but they are not very comprehensive. I find it difficult because sometimes my hubby does not return with receipts! I'm going to keep my ATM and credit cards at home. Just going to use cash. That's the best!
2 people like this
• Singapore
14 Oct 08
well, after working for years and have nothing to show for, i've got to really work on it. it's not easy initially and i keep forgetting to update my journal. after a while, i got the hang of it and started doing it religiously. now i've even got a budget application in my mobile phone so that i can update my expenditure immediately. for those purchases without receipt, a guesstimate is better than nothing. at least you have a rough idea of how much to budget for household items. cheers ;p
1 person likes this
@ahgong (10066)
• Singapore
19 Dec 08
I used to keep a journal on my expenditure. But I still could not stick to removing items from the list of expenses. Cos I have cut down till it is really basic. No movie, no cabs, no expresso... etc. And I still do not see where my money is going. So I gave up. Maybe I will give this a try again to see where all my money is going. Saving money is like dieting. It takes a lot of discipline to do it!
• Philippines
12 Oct 08
I've tried this money saving tip I heard from a seminar I attended last year. The speaker suggested that every time I receive my paycheck, I should set aside a certain amount (e.g. 10% of my income) and keep it in another bank account and as much as I can I should never touch it. In that way, you adjust your spending to what's left after you deducted an X amount. That really worked for me. Somehow, it 'forced' me to spend less and be wiser when it comes to managing my finances. You would also want to get a notebook and list down every single expense you acquire everyday. At first, it's a little troublesome but through time when it becomes a part of your system it greatly help you in managing your money. If you write everything down, you would be able to assess on which areas do you tend to overspend. Happy mylotting and saving! Good luck!
2 people like this
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
At this moment, I'm depending on my savings for a couple of years since I'm not working. Setting aside money is a good way to make you save a pecified amount. I think I will do the opposite, I will withdraw a specified amount each month and stick to it. Will see if it works. Good idea about the notebook and what to do subsequently. I already have a notebook but I never did analyse my spending habits. I'm going to start looking back to what I have jotted down and see where my money goes to. Thanks for your suggestions!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
14 Oct 08
Your welcome sydney! That's also a brilliant idea. I would try that one. Withdraw just the amount I intend to spend for the whole month. Good luck! ;D
@James72 (26829)
• Australia
12 Oct 08
I think many people would be amazed at how they spend their money if they were to spend a couple of weeks documenting each and every purchase they make! The first thing we have to do when wanting to improve our finances is understand where we are spending and then determine what is actually necessary or not. Many small purchases for example may seem insignificant and not be noticed at the time at all; yet they do add up very quickly. The key is to understand spending habits and then plan budgets accordingly. Then the major challenge comes in STICKING to the plan! There is nothing more gratifying than seeing a small effort on discipline translate into positive balances in a short period of time. Personally I account for each and every dollar I get paid each month so I know exactly what amount is available for what area etc. It has made a tremendous difference to my finances by doing this and it has not been difficult at all. For example, set yourself an amount for treats and STICK to this amount no matter what. If you use it all up before the next paycheck then silly you! lol. You will soon start to learn to space out your purchases this way for fear of running out! Good luck with it all and believe me, small and disciplined changes WILL make a solid difference very quickly. Many people believe that having more money fixes money issues; but it doesn't! A change in financial behaviours fixes money problems.
2 people like this
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
Hi James, Thank you for dropping by my discussion. I read Suze Orman lately and she also advocate to study spending habits too. She actually asks readers to look at spending habits for the past 2 years. But I don't have all those details. I'm not good at documenting either. But I'm going to do that this month and see where my money goes. Then I shall set a budget for the different categories and like you said, stick to it. It's going to be tough but I'm going to give it a shot. You are right about changing financial behaviors being the key to fixing money problems. Great post!
2 people like this
@eztuner (451)
• United States
13 Oct 08
Hi James 72, Iam 100% with you on this one. When it comes to money the only way to go is Disciplined spending. If you don't use your will power to enforce this discipline it doesn't matter how much money is comming in, because you will keep spending your money accordingly to your bad spending habits. So it becomes a wheel that never stops (well actually stops when you ran out of money!) Savings=self-disciplined spending habit!
• Australia
13 Oct 08
I have a tips for you to save money. 1. Know your WANTS and NEEDS. WANTS means, those thing that you want but not really necessary, for example an IPOD? can u live without it? As for NEEDS means thing that u really need, like things u cant live without like car (it can be NEED or WANTS) depends where u lived, energy, fuels, food , insurances etc. Instead buying for what u want, why not save the money and keep it or put in the bank. 2. Have Force Saving. Always remember everytime you receive ur salary, always set aside atleast 10% of it, dont spend it. It will be your payment for yourself. Before you pay everything, Pay yourself first! 3. Say NO to Credit Cards. If you have credit cards use it wisely. Use it if you have the money. If you dont have the money, dont use it.
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Hi Rose, I love your definition of needs and wants. I actually need the definition for "desire" and "urge" Just kidding! Force savings! I have never heard of it mentioned taht way, very interesting! I'm thinking of eliminating my credit card altogether. I'm paying annual fees for it and I don't use much of it nowadays. I must look for something that has not annual fees but there is only one in my country. I don;t think I qualify with no income coming in at this moment. So I think I will cut the credit card.
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Oct 08
My husband and I just came to a similar realization and have started to use the envelope system, meaning that you take out in cash certain amounts of money for certain things. For example you put $200 cash in the food envelope and when it is empty you have spent all of the money. You don't go get more out of the atm. It causes you to think carefully about what you are purchasing and it helps you to keep much better track of where your money is going. I also have cash envelopes for doctor/prescriptions, household items (shampoo, dogfood, tooth paste, etc.), clothes, entertainment, and gas. It sounds like a lot of work, but it is so refreshing to know exactly how much money you have to spend in these aspects of your life. We pay our utilities and mortgage and everything out of the account, but we pay everything we can with cash. It is fabulous!
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Deja vu! You know what I just did that envelope thing today for my groceries. I have not started that for my personal expenses yet. That's on the way. I must show it to my hubby! I'm not happy with how things are going around here. There doesn't seem to be enough to go around. It's a great idea! I totally agree!
2 people like this
@aj2006 (1536)
• Philippines
13 Oct 08
Hello Syd! Nice discussion and very informative. I confess that I am also bad in terms of saving way back when I was still single. :) Now, that I have a family, I make sure that I jot down all the expenses that we have in a monthly basis and all the income that we get in a monthly basis as well, I find it easier to budget when I have a list to follow... have a geat day!
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
I know what it's like. Having a family makes you wiser and more conservative in spending. You have to think of your dependents all the time. I must get down to jotting everything down. It's going to take a lot of time but I guess it's worth teh effort. Thanks for your response!
2 people like this
@smiley83 (1535)
• Malaysia
12 Oct 08
hey dear, well, the only thing i do is to never bring lots of money while doing shopping, coz i know myself; if i bring lots of money with me, i'll end up buying for un-necessary stuff which unwanted for the time being... these days i'm staying at home for a while coz i just graduated from a university last month.. so, i'm planning to do some writings before starting with my master within 2 months from now...although i'm still struggling in finding great sites that pay for writing and stuff...it would be very helpful Hazelton if you know any great sites that pay! Smiley,
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Hi smiley! I practice that too. For instance, if I just intend to buy a small item at the shop nearby, I will just bring enough for that, so I won't be enticed to buy other stuff. It's a great tip! As for writing sites, there a few you may want to look into. I write for Triond mostly and a new site which I do not wish to mention until I really get paid there. You can try Helium or Associated Content as well. If you intend to sell your articles, Constant Content is another site you can look into. I have done research on this and wrote an article. Here is the link. Check it out! http://www.writinghood.com/Online-Writing/Nine-Legitimate-Writing-Sites-Which-Pay.199101
1 person likes this
@checapricorn (16066)
• United States
12 Oct 08
[i]Hi Sydney, I guess you need to list down the breakdown of your expenses every payday like every 15 and 30 what are the bills and necessary things you need to pay and buy and also from each payday, allocate amount for recreation and savings and you have to track it down to monitor if you were able to follow it! In our case, we need to minimize our eat out so that we can save and also from simple things around the house like soap, tissue etc, we are very conscious about it![/i]
2 people like this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
hi checapricon, Today I listed down the bills I have to pay this month and I did not have much left over. Gosh! I need to take math class again. Really, I now why I'm not able to meet expenses. I have to look into that. I must think of simple stuff around the house too like you, to save more. I'm monitoring my expenses closely this month. I have been doing it all wrong.
2 people like this
@insulin (2483)
• Philippines
12 Oct 08
Well I myself don't really know how so save more money because I spend to much and I know that it is now really a good thing but one thing that I know how to save more money is to minimize buyings things that you really don't need.Budgeting is another one too.It will help you earn more money if you have a proper plan on how to budget your money.:-0 I hope this helps a little..:-0 God bless and have a nice day..:-0
2 people like this
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
Sometimes, implementing these techniques can be quite hard in reality. We may say that we shall nt buy things we don't need but we still succumb to temptation and still buy them. Budgeting is also a big word. Sometimes what I have tried so far is not helping me. I must be doing somethign wrong. Anyway, thanks for your suggestions.
1 person likes this
@lingli_78 (12845)
• Australia
12 Oct 08
well, for me it is really simple... i don't buy things that i don't need... i differentiate between needs and wants and i don't buy things simply because i want it... and i try to do budgeting as well to cut down my expenses... that really helps me a lot... good luck... take care and have a nice day...
2 people like this
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
I'm trying to implement this in my life. I have tried but can't resist sometimes. I really must enforce this rule and the next time I want to purchase something, I shall ask my self whether it's a need or a want. Hope it works! Thanks lingli
1 person likes this
@ganda8831 (816)
• Philippines
12 Oct 08
If you're really determined to save more money, there are alot of ways to be able to do that. Cut back on your spending. Only buy the things that you need or are necessary. Dont shop for things that you dont really need. Every pay day, try to save at least 10% of your salary and put it in your savings account. Dont use your credit card too much. Better yet, dont use your credit card anymore. The interest is just way too much. You can also save on electricity by turning off light and appliances which you dont need.
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
Thanks ganda for your suggestions! At this moment I don't have a salary so I can't put aside money in that way. I'm depending on my savings for awhile. I must learn to shop for necessities instead of luxuries. I'm thinking of not using my credit card anymore. I think that is one of the reason why my spending habits went overboard.
1 person likes this
@bbsr13 (4198)
• India
12 Oct 08
Hello,hazelton! I always cut short my expenditures and save as much as 30% of my income arbitrarily to meet expenditure during emergencies and to make some assets like purchase of home or purchasing a bike or a car.Unless you save money how can you meet expenditure on these items.thanx.
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
At this moment, my only source of income comes from my online activities including writing articles and reviews. I made a decision to stay at home to look after my daughter for a couple of years and depending on my savings at the moment. From the way I'm spending, I don't think my savings will last very long. So I need to find ways to cut down. Your idea is a good one if I have a fixed amount of income, I guess.
1 person likes this
@Metalchick (1387)
12 Oct 08
There are several ways to try an beat the current recession. I know at the moment I try and put by a comfortable amount of money every month in a savings account...it's not alot but it does add up and the oppotunity of earning interest on this also helps. With the current banking crisis you may also find some banks or financial services will be offering very good rates of interest in order to help enitce new savers/customers with them. I only save £50 a month into a high interest rate account of about 7.5% which soon adds up every year. Cutting back on the amount of shopping you do or switching services providers could also be beneficial. I know that in our household instead of buying brand names we tend to buy a lot more shops own brand products now...many of which are just as good as the main brands. Of course some aren't and in certain circumstances we do slip and purchase the better quality items. If your really serious about helping yourself during the recession and cutting back I suggest you take a look at the moneysavingexpert website as this provides oodles of really helpful information. It also ahs a forum which although I am not registered I regularly use to find new ways of boosting my income. People on there seem very friendly and eager to help anyone. In addition to this you can sign up for a newsletter which I think is sent our fortnightly to your email address and is jam packed with extra information and very oftend includes ways to eat out cheaply with two for one offers etc.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
12 Oct 08
Thank you metalchick for your response! I agree that in-house brands are cheaper and have made the switch for most of the things I buy nowadays. The website you gave me is very useful, I will explore more it in my own time. Saving $50 a month is good amount. I think it is important for us to do whatever saving we can according to budget. With 7.5 interest, I think you should be doing quite well.
1 person likes this
@cornyman (1128)
• Germany
16 Nov 08
Hi Metalchick, which money saving account gave you 7,5% interest in UK, was it one from Iceland?? Just wondering, since the interest rate in UK was only about 5,25% in beginning of october. Perhaps could allocate my money more internationally.
16 Nov 08
Britannia building society are currently offering a 7.5 percent fixed rate regular saver so as mine has just matured I might perhaps reinvest it but with slightly more this time to take advantage of the current rate.
• Philippines
13 Oct 08
Hi there,I made a post on my blog entitled 100+ Effective Ways for Family Members to Save Money, but I think it is not appropriate if I put all of them here. But anyway, here are some of them that you can do quickly and easily. 1.0 Make a strict budget and stick with it. Discipline your self. 2.0 Save time in everything you do. The time you save can be spend to earn more money. 3.0 Coins are heavy on the pocket, so keep them at home and let them grow. 4.0 Identify your NEEDS and separate them from WANTS. They are the two kinds of things inside your house. 5.0 Unsubscribe to your favorite magazine. Not all issues are useful. 6.0 Don't buy discounted good items that you really don't need. 7.0 Shop on line. Prices are usually lower since managing a warehouse is more costly than an on line store. 8.0 Don't join membership with fees that you cannot maximize, like gym membership. Walking is free exercise. 9.0 Don't shop clothes during their peak season. Jackets are cheaper during summer. 10.0 Buy wash and wear clothes, and ironing will be lesser. Again, these are only among the 100+ money saving tips that you can find on my blog, on my profile. Please feel free to check the sidebar - My Favorite Family Tips where you can find the link to the said post. Hope that helps. Good luck!
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
You have excellent tips there from your blog. I really like your last point. I have been encouraging my husband to do the same but he finds those kind of wash and wear clothes to be less comfortable. Sigh! So I do that for myself nowadays, at least I need not do too much ironing. I think it is a waste of electricity and money. I will check out your blog pretty soon!
1 person likes this
• Philippines
13 Oct 08
Thanks for appreciating my tips. If you have noticed, the title is 100+ Effective...because I may add some more as I find more useful tips. I will be glad to welcome you when you visit my blog. Actually, my posts are about family and blogging, and everything in between. Hope you find some other useful tips there. Regards.
1 person likes this
@BYOLA2871 (4373)
• South Africa
13 Oct 08
the best way ii see to save your money is to first have a budget and try a little discipline to keep it at least reasonably
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
I think I need a lot of discipline, not just a little
1 person likes this
@BYOLA2871 (4373)
• South Africa
13 Oct 08
the beginning of any success in life is realisation,it is oftten said that realisation will lead you to mactualisation,noiw that you realise that you need a lot of discipline then its time for you to start no matter how little effort it will eventually payoff
1 person likes this
@savypat (20246)
• United States
13 Oct 08
I find that if I can control impulse buying, you know that bargan you just can't pass up, I can keep to the budget. And keeping to the written budget is very important now. Keep trying.
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Hi savypat I will keep trying. I'm avoiding shopping malls nowadays so that I won't be tempted. I will try to keep to my budget closely.
• Saint Lucia
13 Oct 08
Wow!!!!!!!!!!! That's one long list of things. I have a pit of a can't save problem myself but not as much as $700.00 a month. I have rent, kids, myself, food etc.... So i have to try my utmost best to save as much as I can Take it one step at a time and you will get there. Best of Luck
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Thanks brownsuga, You are right about taking one step at a time. I'm taking whatever steps I can and cutting back slowly, so that I won't feel it that much. Thank you for your encouragement.
• United States
13 Oct 08
I think it is very good of you to check on your spending. All and all, it displays a certain ability to self-review and self-correct, if needed. It is hard, however, to cut back on personal spending if you get used to being able to have a certain degree of freedom with your checkbook. I know of a friend who is going from $300 a month living expense to well over $1000 as he finally buys a house, actually a condo, and moves out on his own. He will have to look over his personal spending and make cuts. However, there is also a nice side effect to spending a bit on personal expenses each month. It is built-in 'fudge factor' in your finances. Much like a tithe, if you give up a certain amount of your money each month, then you have 'fat' to trim when times are tight. Of course, saving money for when times are tight seems like a good idea, too. Even the built in days off on the Weekend can be helpful in a similar vein by giving you spare "time" to employ when needed. I don't think living life to the Spartan edge of frugality is necessarily a wise choice for most people. Too stressful, I think.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Thank you Daddy of the Rose for a wonderful perspective. When I used to work, I really spent on things I liked, went out to restaurants whenever I wanted. BUt now, times are tight and I was surprised when I reviewed my accounts that I actually spent that much. So I have to make the cut. I feel that there are ways to cut back without you noticing it much, Suze Orman taught me some strategies. BUt I have to check my current spending first.
@nishdan01 (3055)
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
You need to cut down the amount on personal spending. 500$ seems a lot on money for personal needs. By personal items, I guess money for your own needs. Make a spending plan at the begining of the month and stick to it. It will help to limit the spending. As you are not working that amount is being cut from you already saved amount in bank. You can cook food at home, reduce spending on cosmetics and creams if you spend too much. Try some cheaper brands than the costly ones. You can wait for the festive season to buy clothing than to buy whenever you are in need. You can use public transport instead of driving own car and carry your own water bottle from home when you go outdoors. So you save on drinks! Use a saving box for home. Put every 5 dollar note you get in your wallet. If you get 2 such notes a week, you save about 40 dollars a month. Not much but any amount helps in recession.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
Hi nishdan, I know. Actually the amount seems to be part my own personal expenses as well as a little on groceries (i think it's a LOT on groceries). I have to speak to my hubby about this! I'm keeping my debit card and credit card at home, even if it's going to cause some inconvenience. Thanks for all your suggestions! They are very practical ones.
2 people like this
@robert19ph (4584)
• Philippines
13 Oct 08
Hello SydneyHazelton, Saving is really hard especially if you have a lot of wants. I believe you should set your goal which is your priority - to save or to spend. As for my experience, I used to do your style also but I realize that I should change my style so I can have a better future with my family. So I did this formula: Income less Savings = Expenses. It's really effective for me. Everytime I have an increase to my salary, my savings will increase too. I'm not bringing my credit card always to control my expenses. I'm only bringing it if it's time to buy groceries, gasoline and the likes. Try it, it might work for you too. Good luck.
1 person likes this
• Singapore
13 Oct 08
I like your formula, but now I don't have much income. So my formula may look like this Savings less Savings = Less Savings. I don't know if it makes sense I'm going to terminate my credit card facilities altogether. It's not doing me any good at all.
2 people like this