What makes people decide to start saving money?
Different people have different reasons. It could be because of the loss of a job, a divorce, starting to think about retirement, a reduction of income, or simply the desire to live a simpler, less wasteful, more frugal life.
Whatever the reason, the most efficient way is the same: spend less.
A good piece of advice I was given at beginning of my frugal journey was to keep an exhaustive list of all my purchases – and by that I do mean ALL, from my mortgage repayment down to the 40p bar of chocolate.
My fist thought was: Good, that’s easy, I can do that.
But when do I start? When I get my next pay packet and I know exactly what I have? But some of my other income comes in at different dates – some students pay weekly, others monthly.
Do I start on the first of the month so I have a clean start?
Do I start next Monday and do one week at a time because a week seems more manageable than a whole month?
The best answer is: Start right now!
Yes, your first month will be incomplete and it won’t give you a full picture but it doesn’t matter. Don’t wait for the “perfect starting day” (it will never happen), don’t wait until you find the perfect little notebook (I’ve actually really heard that one), don’t wait until you get paid. There are just delaying techniques. Don’t find an excuse. Just do it.
Personally, I tried writing things down as I went along but I didn’t find it practical.I found that when I was at the supermarket, juggling with my purse, my groceries, my bag plus the pen and paper while the queue behind me was patiently waiting, was too stressful.
I have gotten into the habit of systematically asking for a receipt: it’s easy to put it in my purse with my change and I can write it down once I get home.
Whatever method you decide on, do write everything down for a few months. You will be very surprised at the amount of money you spend without realising it.