How To Save Money Without Getting A Raise
You love the role, but you need more money. Here's how to make your work work for you, by Jade Carpenter
Do you ever think ‘I just can’t afford to save’? What a funny concept, you can afford the bits and bobs you’re spending money on, but you can’t afford to save some. Of course, sometimes the expenditure in our lives can be non-negotiable, unexpected and genuinely leave us with less than desired at the end of the day and there’s no clear answer to how to save when you feel like you genuinely can’t.
But I’ve been guilty of using “I can’t save this month” as an excuse to blow a little more cash than usual on some fun things. And there’s no problem with that, as a twenty-something having fun is what it’s all about- within reason.
On the other hand, as a twenty-something, (I’m verging on 25 but refuse to use the term mid-twenties just yet) I’m constantly being reminded of all of the things I need to have money stowed away for, rent or a mortgage in the future, a car, emergencies, a holiday being planned and maybe even a treat you’ve been looking at for a while. Having no money in the bank to fall back on is not it, and blaming your pay cheque isn’t quite going to fix it unless you get a raise or a new job.
This article isn’t saying ‘Get up off your f**king a** and save’ by any means. I know that everyone’s financial situation is different and what’s possible for some may not be for others. But I wanted to hear more about the idea that “money relies more on psychology than finance” which Morgan Housel argues in the book The Psychology Of Money. For those who have the means to save but need a little help handling their money, this content could be helpful.
Morgan says, “If you view [building wealth] as powered by your own frugality and efficiency the destiny is clear.” Seems simple right? Be more frugal… But why is it so hard to actually do it?
Denise Kenny Byrne, life and wellness coach and co-founder of The Head Plan explains how possible it is to save without changing your income revealing it’s all about creating a good money mindset and healthy money habits.
“If you don’t work on these, it doesn’t matter how much money you earn your relationship with money will always be the same. It’s about being good with the money you have and aware of where you stand with it at all times, making mindful spending choices, it is NOT about earning more money,” she says.
“Believe it or not, if you earned twice as much as you currently do now… you would still be in the same situation,” Denise continues.
“Your spending habits will repeat again and again if left unchanged, no matter how much you have. Becoming ‘good with money’ or a ‘saver’ is not an overnight transformation. It is the day-to-day habits that separates the financially free from the rest.”
These day-to-day habits are the ones we don’t even notice adding up, think the coffees and lunches that are so easy to pick up when working.
Denise challenges us to get out all of our income and expenditure over the last three months and see what we’ve spent…*Gulp*.
“This is such an eye-opening exercise that we very rarely do. Then have a look at your average month and review your income v outgoings; rent, subscriptions, bills etc… This will give you your spending power for the month. This exercise alone gives you huge clarity and motivation as to where you are with your finances which [will help you] see the powerful results,” she notes.
The thought of taking a look at my finances over the last few months is a little daunting, but maybe it’s the kick I need…
Something that Denise points out that really resonated with me is that money shouldn’t bring you stress or dread it should be something you have clear visibility and control of.
Wanting to improve my saving habits should be exciting and empowering. I should feel like I have taken control of my finances and am steps closer to my goal. I hate the feeling of being conscious or stuck for money, and I hate the feeling of being unable to enjoy myself because I’m thinking about what I’m spending. There has to be a balance.
Having a goal in mind when saving is something I find really helpful and something Denise says makes it, easier to align your spending habits to it and cut expenditure out. When you’re about to spend money, you don’t need to spend, thinking about what that could get you on your holiday or how much you could put in your savings if you hold back, can help you focus on your priorities.
“Set a financial goal for yourself – maybe it’s paying off a loan by a specific date, saving for a mortgage, a trip with your bestie, a new pair of trainers you’ve been lusting after – write it down,” advises Denise.
“Then review your income v expenditure and asses if the 20 taps for coffee during the month are worth it – maybe you could cut this down [for example].
“It’s not about denying yourself of what brings you joy – if those 20 taps for coffee make you happy and is an important part of your day…review your spending and to take something else out!”
Of course, sticking to a budget is not easy. We all have days when we let loose and splurge and we shouldn’t be filled with shame after. Spending money is fun! But consumption for the sake of it is not cute. Some fear setting goals in case they don’t meet them, but Denise explains this is all part of the process.
“I mentioned having control and overview of your income and savings a lot, but we also need flexibility and compassion… Sometimes it can feel like we are on a Monopoly board and you’re doing great for three weeks smashing the saving targets you set for yourself and then boom the car breaks down and needs a visit to the garage. This is life, this absolutely happens and for this we need to be flexible.
“But equally we can also land on more favourable parts of the Monopoly board, so do embrace them when they come. You can never let yourself to live too well… Maybe you need a treat day that you didn’t plan. Have compassion for yourself and remember that every day is a new opportunity to begin again. One day like this won’t knock you totally off course.”
If you’re feeling inspired to get your funds in order, grab the piggy bank or set up a vault on Revolut, name it with your goal and get saving! Seeing the numbers add up is very satisfying and think of how great you’ll feel once you hit your target.
It will be time for the fun part of spending it before you know it!