Here’s part 3 of this series with 5 more financial hacks just for you.
Watch the company you keep
If I were to be more harsh about this – avoid spendthrift people, or, limit the time you spend with them. Spend more time with people who share your money values and have a similar lifestyle as you.
For instance, I have a close friend who is more of the spendthrift sort (relative to me). Anytime I’m out with this person, the bills just add up. We might start off with a cheap 5 dollar movie ticket – heavily discounted – but then the lunch, tea, desserts, dinner, drinks, cab fare home (cause we always stay out late) always adds up.
This means I easily spend $100 when I’m out with this person, and that is roughly two-thirds of my monthly meal expenditure! This is how money leaks out.
I’ve resorted to spending less time with people like that or suggesting alternatives that don’t require much spending.
These days I always suggest coffee or an activity instead of dinners at overpriced restaurants and cafes.
Limit how often you do something, instead of keeping to a budget
A study found that limiting the number of times you indulge in something – instead of agonizing over the amount of money you spend on it – is were much more successful at curbing certain behaviours.
For instance, in the study, respondents most regretted spending on restaurants, cafes and eating out. Those who told themselves things like – “I will eat at a cafe once a month instead of 5 times a month” were better able to curb their behaviour than people who thought – “I can only spend $14.95 eating out this month”.
The former option sounds less stressful, more flexible and more manageable; making it more likely that you’d do it.
Pay bills annually instead of monthly
You feel the pinch once a year instead of feeling it each month.
Also, did you know that annual payments are usually cheaper than monthly ones? For instance, if I chose to pay my insurance monthly instead of annually, I’d be handing over $200 to my insurance company each year.
And I’m gonna be holding this plan til I’m old – so that’s say, 35 years more. That’s $7000 in cold, hard cash to them for nothing.
I could invest that money or spend that on a well-deserved holiday!
So check where you could reduce the additional charges you are paying on your bills.
Pay via cash and not a card
Whenever we hand over cold, harsh cash for any purchase – our brain somehow registers it as more “concrete” and “tangible”.
It activates our pain-pleasure pathways more highly than paying via a card. When you are feeling the pain more, you spend way less money.
When you pay via a card:
- You don’t see the deduction – it happens electronically, so the transaction is literally hidden from you.
- There is a time delay between the transaction and the actual amount being deducted.
All these means that you don’t really get to feel the “pain” of spending and are more likely to spend above your budget.
Check your phone plans
Mobile phones are another area where we spend lots of money on.
Everyone these days want to have the latest handphone model (in my country at least). But at some point, you gotta ask yourself if that is absolutely necessary to get the latest model? Or will a less recent model suffice? A new Samsung or iPhone could set you back a few hundred to a thousand dollars.
Another potential waste of money could be the mobile phone plans you’ve signed on with telcos – are you getting a good return on what you are paying?
I recently cancelled my contract and opted for a sim-only plan, as I was paying a ridiculous $75/month for only 3G of data and unlimited SMSes/calls (which i don’t need). Now I only pay $20/month for 5G of data – it makes a world of difference.
So check out all the plans from the telcos in your country carefully and select the one that fits your needs.
I’ve also noticed that sales reps would tend to recommend a more expensive plan (duh) when you request for more data etc. But in some countries, you are able to attach add ons (which are much cheaper) than upgrading the entire plan.
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Want to start cultivating better financial habits? Check out the other parts in this series: