Saving Tips for Beginners

Image of a hand putting coins into a transparent jar to indicate the concept of saving.

Saving is one of the most critical but underrated habits. While we wish to and think of saving money often, unless we incorporate it into our lifestyle and habits, it’s unlikely to become a reality.

Our intent in writing this article is to share the best saving practices for beginners. Let’s take a look at some practical life-hacks and approaches that can be game changing for our personal finances.

Mindset shifts

otepad with New Mindset New Results text with light bulb and gearwheel mechanism. The image indicates the mindset shift needed to save better.
otepad with New Mindset New Results text with light bulb and gearwheel mechanism. The image indicates the mindset shift needed to save better.
Learning to manage one’s personal finances is a combination of mindset shifts and habit cultivation

Figure out ‘why’ you want to save

Figuring out your personal and unique reasons for what is important to you in life, the kind of life you want to build for yourself, and why you should be saving money to create it, is the foundational mindset shift that is needed before you do anything else.

Spending mindlessly or not giving importance to saving are the result of not knowing what is important to us.

If you spend some time with yourself and think of your goals and consider how you need to be placed financially in order to achieve them, you may be far less keen to spend your hard-earned money on a cup of coffee that costs way more than it should.

Save NOW! Don’t wait for ANYTHING

You don’t need to wait for anything at all to save. Whatever amount you’re earning, you should be saving a certain percentage of it.

The younger you start, the more headway you have in terms of the sheer number of years to work on your financial destiny.

So avoid making excuses (because that’s what they are) and start saving right away.

Treat saving like an expense

In the words of the great Warren Buffett, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.”

So ideally your saving has to feature in your budget. Allocate an amount for saving (which later becomes your investment fund) and then think of spending any amount that remains.

Think long-term and consistency is key

They say, wealth creation is not a sprint, but a marathon.

So it might seem that you won’t get anywhere far with your current meagre savings, however every drop makes the ocean. What is a small amount today can turn into a massive amount over time, if you keep up with your saving habit consistently.

Take pride in your saving habit, adopt a long-term mentality, and rest assured knowing that these small efforts and sacrifices to save will add up in the long run.

long term short term strategy planning or thinking plan and think ahead for the near and far future road sign arrow. The image indicates how long-term thinking is needed when we plan our saving.
long term short term strategy planning or thinking plan and think ahead for the near and far future road sign arrow. The image indicates how long-term thinking is needed when we plan our saving.
Long-term thinking is critical to cultivate when we start on our saving journey

Take advantage of financial windfalls to save more money

Blowing it up on a fancy vacation or a gadget you’ve been craving is one way. But the better mindset would be to not use it for short-term pleasures. Delaying your gratification and choosing to save it (even partially), or to repay a loan are great ways of utilizing such strokes of luck.

Basically think of how you can use the windfall to maximize your satisfaction, instead of using it impulsively.

Make adjustments to your lifestyle to save more

As young adults who’ve recently started exploring and experiencing life, the temptation to live it up and splurge on the good life is always there. However, partying every weekend or wanting to own the latest gadgets can lead to you very soon living from paycheck-to-paycheck to pay off credit card bills.

Instead of letting your lifestyle expenses spiral out of control choose to continue living like a college student a little longer and actively look for free or inexpensive ways to have fun. Chilling at home with friends, cooking together, movie nights at home, going for hikes or treks are great ways of spending meaningful time that don’t cost much.

Finding inexpensive ways to entertain yourself is an invaluable life skill.

So set a budget for entertainment and stay within it. Having an enviable life on social media, mostly comes at a high cost. It is less glamorous to save money but that way you’re working towards financial freedom in the future.

(Financial freedom is basically the freedom to live the kind of life you wish to so that you can take up the kind of job or work that truly makes you happy. This is possible when you’re not under the pressure of financial liabilities or a lifestyle that you have to constantly work for.)

top view of blackboard with the slogan "cut your expenses" scissors, wallet with credit cards and house shaped paper. Reducing expenses is more or equally effective as earning more.
top view of blackboard with the slogan "cut your expenses" scissors, wallet with credit cards and house shaped paper. Reducing expenses is more or equally effective as earning more.
Reducing expenses is as effective as earning more

Your lifestyle should work for you, you shouldn’t be working for your lifestyle. Learn to live with less right now.

This is also the moment in time that minimalism as a movement is also gathering momentum. It’s great for the planet and super for your pocket, so jump into it!

Beware of the consumerist economy

Advertising is so seductive that we often buy things we don’t need or never even wanted in the first place.

Besides advertising, the whole sales and discounts culture is also a big trap to make us buy more than we need at present. Tricks such as countdown timers, the use of ‘999’ instead of ‘1000’ and the like, product pairings, multiple deals, fancy displays, attractive adverts, clearance sales, coupons to name a few, are ways of making us buy more than we need.

It’s hence extremely crucial to think through your purchases before you make them. (Read the Shop Smart section below for some great tips on shopping hacks).

If you fail to plan, you plan to fail

The common notion that saving is for older folks is quite a dangerous one as it leads to us delaying starting with the critical life and personal finance skill of saving. Saving is not uncool or for older people alone; it’s for everyone.

Here are some tips that’ll help you with the planning aspect so that you are more encouraged to save.

Set financial goals

Each one of us is different and have our own unique visions for our lives. Money of course plays a hugely important role there. So based on the kind of life you envision for yourself, create your financial goals in alignment with them.

While your goals may change and evolve over time, remember that not having financial goals in the first place can cost you in the future.

It’s better to have financial goals and be working towards them. That way even if the goalpost changes, you still have progressed financially and are in a position to chase a new goal.

(If you have trouble settling on financial goals, think about the kind of life you want to live, and why. The bigger questions will help you frame your life goals and subsequently your financial goals).

Financial goals on notepad on blank notepad with calculator, coffee, pen and smart phone on a wooden table, retro style
Financial goals on notepad on blank notepad with calculator, coffee, pen and smart phone on a wooden table, retro style
Setting financial goals is both exciting and helpful to charting out a clear path ahead

Setting up a retirement fund, becoming debt-free, and creating an emergency fund are some universal financial goals.

Hone the art of budgeting and alter your lifestyle

However, making a budget is only 10 percent of the task. The real objective of budgeting to mould our expenditure in accordance with our income flow.

Budget planing concept. Top view of notepad with word Budget, mobile phone, cup of coffee, pouch on wooden background. Write idea success solution concept. Vintage toned picture. Copy space. Budgeting can help in reaching our saving goals.
Budget planing concept. Top view of notepad with word Budget, mobile phone, cup of coffee, pouch on wooden background. Write idea success solution concept. Vintage toned picture. Copy space. Budgeting can help in reaching our saving goals.
One of the most underestimated skills today is that of budgeting

We can achieve this by observing our spending patterns and inculcating more discipline in our spending habits. Distinguishing between our needs and wants is a big one here. We have discussed budgeting in one of our previous articles.

Lower your big three expenses: housing, transportation, and food

Looking for a house close to your workplace, cooking meals at home as opposed to ordering in or eating out are simple ways of lowering these basic and major expenses.

Setting budgets for each of these categories and spending within them is a great way of ensuring you meet your saving targets.

Shop smart

Did you know that people mostly overspend while grocery shopping? All those fancy labels and jars can overwhelm us, and we may end up wanting to buy stuff that we don’t even need. Making a grocery shopping list and stick to it.

 woman holding smart phone standing next to basket full of vegetables and healthy super food while shopping in the supermarket to indicate smart shopping
 woman holding smart phone standing next to basket full of vegetables and healthy super food while shopping in the supermarket to indicate smart shopping
Using shopping hacks can help us reduce over-spending that typically happens when shopping

Another great tip is to carry only cash of the designated amount. If you avoid carrying plastic money, and have only a certain amount, there’s no way that you can overspend!

Online shopping can also be a big trap. A good habit to cultivate is to add items to your cart, but not check out. Sleep over things and think if you really need/want those items and then only buy them.

Using such hacks can help you up your saving game.

Calculate your real hourly wage

Divide your salary by 2000 work hours in a year (40 hours/week * 50 weeks, considering 2 weeks of vacation). You may want to deduct your taxes from this amount (you can look at your pay slip for that information).

Once you know this amount, you can get a sense of how much of your life energy you devote to your work and for what returns. Now you can be in a better position to assess if going to that concert is really worth the money, or getting your nails done at the spa is something you should be truly spending on.

Conclusion

But apart from the tips listed above, there is one more important tip that you should always consider: invest in yourself!

Never shy away from investing in your knowledge and learning. Embrace the fact that the journey of learning doesn’t end with the college. And that’s where Lokyatha also comes in, to help you in your journey of learning essential life skills that can positively impact the quality of your life.

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Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. It should not be considered financial or legal advice. Please consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.

Lokyatha is an education focused initiative to enable young adults to live better, more fruitful lives by delivering real world life skills.