Today in the 21st century, urban poor is not new. Everyone is holding a smartphone, sometimes even an iPad or kindle book on the other hand. They are entangled with their earphones, clutching away their expensive handbags. Wether or not it is really expensive, it doesn’t really matter. The key is to look expensive. Drenched in the newest scent of Estee Lauder, they made their way to their imported car.
As soon as the working time is over, the phones screamed with chains of texts. ‘Wanna check out that new joint?’ ‘Starbucks?’ ‘Movie tonight?’ Too embarrassed to say NO after you take out the ‘It’s that time of the month’ card last week, you are very quick to say YES. Even if that means you have to swipe the credit card which is far overdue. The next morning, it’s somebody’s birthday in the office and you HAVE TO chip in for the birthday cake or for a dinner you can’t afford. To calm down your emotional stress, you decided to treat yourself to a skinny latte from the coffee shop and when you’re just about to pay the counter, you have to, grab that chocolate muffin.
Your colleagues donned a new hair, new dresses every other day. She, like many others, bought them online, for 50% off! And that’s the membership’s price. But in order to have that membership you need to spend at least $200/month. That’s sweet. It’s all about the status -dresses, car, hair, food. Even if all of those are borrowed. Yes, borrowed. You owed them from the credit card loans.
In fact, at night time, you are hungry and has no food in your fridge. You haven’t pay your water bill. Your import car has been left unpaid for several months and the warning letter keep pouring in. Your savings show steady decline or even pushed to negative. But you have to keep up -with brand new hair, brand new perfumes, brand new watch and short vacation. Because you think everybody is in debt, so why can’t you? Unfortunately, you can’t be more wrong.
Successful people are NOT necessarily stinky rich. They are certainly wealthy and has NO debt. Below are few tips I used to keep myself out of debt:
- Bring Food To Work
This is quite self explanatory. Don’t be too embarrassed to bring food to work. Make them the night before and put them in a tupperware. Not only it’s good for your calories but to your wallet too. Also, don’t be shy to say NO if somebody asked you to eat out after work. You have the obligation to make yourself and your future happy. If they give you hard times for it, then they’re not worth your time.
2. Invest In a Good Travel Mug
Travel mug has saved me a lot of money. One cup of coffee easily costs $3. And throughout the day, you probably need more than one. Whenever we are on a break aka coffee time, I never hesitate to tell my colleague I’m coming along with my own mug. I poured boiled water into it and take out my own tea bag. Why must I feel ashamed when I’m the one saving? Don’t get me wrong, having a quality coffee is great. But we’re here to save. If you’re interested in expensive coffee, please head to Starbuck and not this website ;p
3. Thrift Store
Whatever you need, you might be able to find it in the thrift store. Clothes, toys, handbags, shoes and books. So what if they are used? They are much more affordable and still serves the purpose. Of course, we love buying things at good price especially when you can get them cheap in stores such as Forever 21, Bershka, H&M. But all I’m saying is don’t forget the thrift stores. They can be your treasure finds.
4. Ditch The Car
Use public transport. If you’re not financially ready for all the jazz coming with the car, then don’t get one. Unless you’re in situation where your workplace is completely not linked in with any transport. Sometimes, moving in to flats where it is within walking distance to your place is an option too. Car has a huge synonym with status in the community. You’re expected to have this, to own this etc. But why living in other people’s expectations when you’re the one living your life? Some of my friends were saying ‘yeah, but it’s easier said than done’. The choice is really yours -to live your life how people wants it or how you want it?
5. Track Down Your Expenses
This seemed rather trivial. But it is rewarding. Recording or tracking every single penny that comes in and out give you the sense of your spending habit. You know exactly which month you overspent on your make-up or eating out and it’s time to do something about it. If you don’t keep track, you’ll lose the sense of direction financially. I certainly find this helps me the most with upscaling my savings.
6. Cut On Subscriptions
We can start with bills. Mobile monthly bills. Do you really need monthly billing? How about topping up as you go? I used to pay $50/month at least for my monthly package. I stopped 6 years ago and only top up $20/month now with unlimited data. I also used to have a TV package that goes with my broadband with extra $20. I cut that off too. Magazines, beauty box, online subscriptions -go through each of them and let them go if you don’t need them. Once you’re much stronger financially, you could re-visit them again.
7. Use Groupon
I have no shame in admitting that I use Groupon all the time. I am quite a Groupon queen. Not only Groupon but also others like Living Social, Pigs Back, Deal Rush and even have my own Done Deal website where I sell things I don’t use anymore. I find them great as you get to experience restaurants or hotels that you otherwise won’t, at a much cheaper price. Some entrance fees to local attractions are halved in Groupon too, so why must I pay more?
8. Free Dates
If you’re looking to enjoy yourself, you can still do so without forking out a fortune and sometimes, this could even be free! I normally look around what day of the week or what time a visit to a particular attraction is free. Then I’ll arrange a date with my husband on these dates. We just stroll along the town and still thoroughly enjoy each others’ company. Sometimes, we make an effort to picnic by bringing our own food in a park which doesn’t cost us anything. Once a week there is also free movie screening in town and this gives you the opportunity to meet up with other people too. I love to visit the farm markets the most. There is no entrance fee but the atmosphere is always lively with food made from the heart (which is the best kind).
They are a lot more you could do to enable you to save more. These are the things I do myself but there are plenty others. The key is to live in moderation and have respect for yourself. Live the life you want to live rather than what is expected of you. In that way, you will start from the right path. Good luck to you and if you ever find it difficult, please, please, ask for help.
Knock and the door will be opened to you. Ask and you shall receive.
(Leave a comment below if you need any help at all!)