The main success factor for saving money is not your personal finance knowledge. What matters most is your ability to organize and, above all, emotional control.
Let’s face it, knowing that you don’t need to be an expert in finance is a relief, but dealing with consumer temptations and the need to put the brakes on certain decisions doesn’t make the process that much simpler. True, but beware of this mental trap.
When we become hostage to our justifications, it becomes more difficult to believe in the power of financial education. I invite you to read this text with another thought, which is that you are able to start saving money and put your accounts in order.
Check out the 6 tips to start building your family budget
The most important thing in the household budget adjustment journey is to focus on practical actions, while taking advantage of their results to create habits. Financial education cannot be a one-time test of transformation, like when we decide to get out of debt or plan a wedding.
Virtually everyone is able to start controlling their budget and saving money, but it’s important that this becomes a lifestyle. Follow some tips to change for the better.
1. Take a break from financing
The main financial institutions are granting the possibility of renegotiating the debtor balance of loans, now with much more interesting conditions due to the coronavirus pandemic.
You can reassess your debts and create a new budget from the renegotiation or even request a temporary break in the payment of installments. Banks offer 60 to 120 days of “window of peace” for those who are up to date with their loans.
In practice, you use the self-service terminals or call the bank and ask for this deadline to be given, simple as that. From then on, you will have, for two to four months, a budget without these installments. Take the opportunity to organize it in that time.
2. Reduce energy and water consumption
Those who are in the Electricity Social Tariff (TSEE) program already have discounts and can get up to 100% off their energy bill for three months, according to Provisional Measure 950/2020.
In addition to this great possibility, we must also assume the responsibility of using electricity and water more consciously. Whether it’s a quicker (and warmer) shower or even reusing water, it’s always possible to lower consumption a little.
3. Repurpose everything you can
Food is a good example of what can be better reused, which saves money and time. The key here is to think a little bit more in advance, creating and organizing your menu more intelligently.
Many ingredients can be used to prepare a main course, but also snacks and meals for other times of the day. Peels can turn into candy; water used for cooking can turn into soup; creativity and patience can turn into delicious recipes. The pocket thanks you.
4. Write down everything you earn and spend
This recommendation always appears in all good financial education material, and the reason is simple: it is very difficult to reduce expenses, save money and better manage the family budget without knowing how you spend what you earn.
The simplest financial control means meeting what you earn, always considering the net amount, and what you spend, everything properly categorized. The purpose of this is to allow you to see a “picture” of your financial reality and be able to compare your expenses in different periods and trace trends.
Can food expenses go down? At what rate are grocery expenses going up? How is transportation, especially in the month when we rarely leave the house? By registering values and their dates, all of this is much easier.
5. Involve the family
When only one family member is motivated to get the bills in order to save money, everything tends to take a little longer. It’s frustrating. The objective of financial education is to allow the family to realize their dreams, but this requires commitment.
The secret here is to act transparently, always encouraging the truth about the family’s financial reality. No playing “smart” and trying to “shield” others from the situation as it is. Instead, try to approach the matter naturally and humbly, asking everyone for help.
In practice, define together who can collaborate with the main expenses and how financial control will be carried out. Set days a week to talk about the steps taken and results achieved. It is essential that everyone is aware that many decisions are temporary and aimed at a better future.
6. Save money every month
To make a difference in the long run, it needs to become a habit. Saving money cannot be a deferred choice because you are not able to save money. Try thinking in another way: when you receive your salary, save a little immediately. The rest will have to be enough for the family budget.
With this attitude, you stop postponing the first step to raise money for your goal while forcing yourself to adjust the bills to fit the financial amount determined for the month.