How to… Be Better with Money

Do you feel like you can’t spend when you wish, as you wish, however much you wish? Do you have to weigh all the pros and cons of a purchasing decision?

Watching the wallet can seem like such a drag sometimes. Well, not entirely, especially if you’ve figured out the secret of cutting back without cramping your style. As with so many other perceived annoyances (waking up early, turning in early, eating healthy) in life – all it takes is making it part of your regular routine and getting the hang of it, then these previously pesky concerns, such as ‘budgeting’ and ‘saving’, will become second nature.

It’s what personal finance expert and author of The Automatic Millionaire, David Bach calls ‘The Latte Factor’; unconscious daily spending on small items that add up. The sooner we recognize our own Latte Factor, the better we’re able to put our money to better uses.

Here are some money-saving tips that you can try:

* Never shop for food on an empty stomach. Ever noticed how you tend to grab at everything with a vengeance when hunger pangs are wreaking havoc on your stomach, and your sense of better judgment? You’ll tend to buy less, and stick to what you need, instead of succumbing to stomach rumblings and filling up your cart with items you’re only craving momentarily.

* Make a list It’s hard to rein in impulses when you’re faced with a multitude of merchandise at stores. Before a shopping trip or a trip to the supermarket, make a list of the items that you need to buy. A shopping list works to steer us on the course of buying what we really need, and away from spur of the moment purchases.

* Plan purchases according to what’s on sale. Sale times are a good time to stock up on items that need replacing or that you’ve been contemplating buying. However, go in with a game plan. Do a quick inventory check on your wardrobe before your retail spree. What are the essential items that need replacing? Make a list of these items so you limit your spending to what you need when you hit the shops.

* Employ vigorous questioning How many times have you bought something, only to end up never using it, or wearing it? Our emotions, and other people’s opinions can often cloud our judgment so when faced with a tempting buy.

* Enquire about credit card discounts and promotions. Many retail shops offer discounts with various credit cards. Likewise, F&B spots also feature one-for-one promotions or similar deals from time to time. These can shave off significant amounts from your monthly bill.

Once you get the hang of these useful money-saving habits and start putting them in practice, you’ll realise how they help you make better spending decisions and how

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