Saturday, 9 May 2009

The Value of Money and Saving for Less Stress and Relaxation

We met a 'friend of a friend' in a supermarket at the coffee section. I was picking one of the Italian choices and our 'friend of a friend' was deliberating over the supermarket's own brands. I said I really enjoyed the flavour and aroma of the Italian brand when relaxing in the morning with a fresh cup of coffee. For her, it was the cost and then taste which was motivating her choice.

Later, she briefly mentioned her long financial troubles and how she has now decided to turn her life back to normal. Currently living alone after the breakup of a long term relationship, her spending habits had not changed with her circumstances.

She experienced too much stress, for too long and had been unable to relax due to money concerns. She felt her independent way of living and well being were already compromised.

After the shopping, we sat outside a cafe for a drink. I was curious to discover what she was doing to improve her financial status and get 'back to normal' again. She told me so much, I began writing notes (I often carry a small notebook and pen for those moments when inspiration flows).

The Big Picture - Providing for Your Future Well Being
  • Paying all bills before saving money.
  • Saving money and building up 'easy money' or 'emergency cash' to reduce relying on loans or handouts.
  • Saving for desirable purchases, like evening wear, holiday or car.
  • Investing for the long term future with special bank accounts.
  • Being aware that the value of many things goes down as well as up.

The Smaller Picture with Big Consequences
Creating 5 accounts for different expenses. For example:
1. Bills
2. Food
3. Savings
4. Holidays
5. Long Term Savings

The Value of Money Compared to the Cost
Calculate what you spend monthly or weekly. Design a comprehensive list that shows all outgoings. Be honest with yourself. Contrast the list with your income. Ideally and necessarily the income is to be greater than the expenditure.

Increasing Savings by Reducing Expenses
  • Using only a debit card for shop purchases, having 'locked away' the credit card.
  • Reducing the cost of energy bills by changing suppliers. Remembering to turn off lights and unused electrical items (avoiding 'sleep' or 'standby' options).
  • Choosing cheaper home and car insurance options.
  • Change the mobile/cell phone contract to a cheaper alternative.
  • Finding lower cost telephone, television and internet broadband bundles.
  • Picking bank accounts with higher interest savings.
  • Paying attention to bank account details to avoid charges.
  • Avoiding using the car whenever possible and opting to walk or cycle more.
  • Using price comparison websites.

  • Eating at home more and eating out less.
  • Buying essential foods that will be eaten and not forgotten in the fridge or cupboard.
  • Learning tasty, healthy new recipes.
  • Snacking and binging less.

Health and Well Being
  • Learning relaxation and stress reduction techniques that can be useful for anytime.
  • Yoga.
  • Running outdoors instead of paying to use a treadmill.
  • Cycling and walking instead of using the car for short journeys.

Nights Out
  • Cutting down on the drinks and food bill.
  • Going out 2-3 nights of the week instead of four.
  • Stopping the gym membership and exercising outdoors in the spring and summer.
  • Visiting a variety of restaurants and bars not just the expensive or trendy and expensive ones.
  • Buying only necessary clothes (with the intention of finding cheaper, good quality alternatives) and adventuring into the wardrobe to rediscover what's already there.

Finally, I will add her favourite self-questions: Do I need it and will I use it? Can I afford it?

This describes most of her plan for finding new choices and creating new beliefs for enjoying saving money and spending less. All the while adding value to well being and learning to relax again.

Thanks for reading

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