The Internet is full of the same, repetitive money-saving tips for young people. Save more, invest more, retire in grace.
But the blunt fact for most of us is that there is no easy way of saving money. We live in a highly consumerist society where we are bombarded 24/7 by images of what we ought to have, and what we ought to chase. Naturally, there’s never enough money to make it all possible, which leaves us feeling inadequate and forever discontented.
The best way to hold on to your cash in such a scenario then is to bring about a shift in your thinking in your approach toward all that money can buy you.
A minimalistic mindset may at once set you free and make it possible to save up more and more for your later years, without compromising the quality of your present.
Here are some suggestions that may help you gear toward such a mindset:
Distance Yourself from the Media
Don’t be fooled by glossy magazines, celeb worship and airbrushed images.
Marketing thrives on hyperbole, and they do this masterfully (as their success attests). But it has only one purpose – to separate you from your money by offering you things you DON’T need. Marketers are the wantmakers (sic). Don’t let them create that want in you. See the media for what it is – a fantasy-creating machine. And walk away.
Don’t Follow Your Peers Blindly
You don’t need to blindly follow any friends or trends.
A little originality will serve you very well in life. You decide whether you want something or not, and the fact that everybody in your friend circle has it should have little bearing on whether you should buy it. Learn to be happy in your own space, on your own terms.
Go for the Most Fulfilling Job You Can Find
Maybe I should have said, “Go for the least irritating job you can find” and utilize your spare time doing something more fulfilling. It’s up to you what you choose, but try to chase job satisfaction as much as money. A couple of thousand dollars more a year may not make much of a difference to your standard of living, but a satisfying job will enrich your life considerably.
Embrace the Lifestyle of a Yogi
I’m not asking you to go vegetarian or start doing yoga every day (though the latter may not be a bad thing at all). Yogis try to find satisfaction in non-materialistic things, which is perhaps a lot smarter than going after things and trends that will soon be “oh, so last season!”
DIY as much as Possible
The Internet is awash with DIY tutorials of all kinds, make use of them. Want to learn how to cut your hair? Go online. Want to know how to look like a million bucks with your humble make-up kit? Go online. Want to learn how the present contents of your fridge can be used to make a nice meal? Go online.
Reuse old stuff. Put old clothes to work, make pillowcases out of them, decoupage your furniture, paint your walls, make your own earrings, the list is endless.
You will not only save a lot of money if you fully get into the DIY mode, but you’ll also never have a boring weekend again.
Some More Money-saving Advice
- Buy multi-purpose furniture.
- Switch to greener alternatives.
- Lower your energy costs.
- Put 30% of your monthly salary away and don’t question it.
- Invest 20% in government bonds.
- Insure your valuables.
- Learn the difference between assets and liabilities, and which ones you should have more of and why.
- Make your smartphone apps work for you.
- Cut down on aimless Internet surfing. (Time is money, don’t you know?)
A shift in thinking thus brought about will do a lot of things. But most importantly it will set you free. When you can see materialism for what it is, you won’t think in terms of “I don’t have money for this! I never have money for anything!” You will be thankful for the money that you do have. And you will be able to appreciate it as it gives you all that you need: it keeps you alive and going. It’s the mindless consumption of stupid stuff that is the bane of our existence, not our sub-par salaries.
Lori Wagoner is a marketing and business consultant working with All Car Insurance Companies, which is a real-time online platform for reviews of auto insurance companies, comparison of quotes, and discussion/resources related to the car insurance sector in the U.S. Catch Lori on Twitter @LoriDWagoner.
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