For me one of the biggest challenges of doing something is to take the first step, the famous kickoff, that moment when you realize that you will only achieve your goals when you decide to leave the place where you are.
This issue has been accompanying me over the years, from decisions that seemed to be small, like practicing some sport, to decisions that would change my whole routine, like beginning to train.
If on one hand I thought that enrolling in the gym would be something punctual, it would not affect my life so much, I realize now that this small decision had a great result. From a greater concern with my health habits, to increasing my motivation to work and study.
Today, as part of Sergeant Cuff’s team, I realize the importance of small decisions that can be made throughout life. These are stories of people looking to take their debts or put their finances in order, even people who wanted to build their own home.
However, in all of these, we see that there are no miraculous plans, no magic formulas, but small changes, that only two things are enough to make the first step and discipline to continue the journey.
In today’s text, we will give the floor to Silvia Shyer, a secretary of a famous office in São Paulo, who decided to change some habits to plan her retirement. Enjoy the text of this saver, who is giving a class of finances:
Tip # 1: Pay only with cash
When I started the challenge of saving as much as possible, I knew that the first thing I should cut out was the cards. This plastic-shaped money that often makes life easier for me was actually taking me seriously. The credit card bill began to weigh in my pocket and so I decided I would not use it any more. Basically, to take the cards I did a study on my expenses. I took the statement and saw how much I had spent the previous month: $ 2,500. I knew that I could make several cuts and so I decided to start the month with $ 1800.
I put that amount in an envelope and started policing to be more aware of my expenses. In the first month it was a bit difficult, I had to write down the expenses in a spreadsheet to get organized within that budget, but now it’s easy. Go to the mall? Only if I really need anything. Cinemas and restaurants? For me, it’s a pleasure, but nowadays I prefer to stay at home with a good company.
Tip # 2: Save your coins and notes for $ 2, $ 5 and $ 10
Whenever I received a change with coins or notes in the amount of $ 2, $ 5 or $ 10 I kept until I got home to put in my Chest (ok, it was not a treasure chest, but I feeling that in the end would find him with lots of money). It may seem silly, but at the end of a month I managed to save about $ 80 just in this game. Also, at the end of a year, putting my money in savings every week, I got an exact amount of $ 1023.57.
What started as a joke, now has become a habit that is paying from “my adventures” to shopping to small pleasures such as a day off at the Spa.
Tip # 3: Eat out only once a week
Dining in restaurants during the week was certainly one of my biggest difficulties to be overcome, but that made a huge difference in my budget. Every day when it was time for lunch at the office, I knew it would be a boring moment. I do not think anyone likes to eat alone, even more I love to chat with people, know the gossip and get out of the office climate.
To improve this situation I began to eat out only once during the week with my colleagues in the office, the other days I brought my food from home and I usually ate reading a book or listening to music. However, after a few weeks my colleagues began to find this “challenge” curious that I was facing and decided to participate with me.
Now I can save more than $ 200 a month just for lunch during the week.
One tip I give is to prepare the food on Saturday or Sunday and freeze for the entire week. Best of all, I end up doing grocery shopping with a few friends – yes, it’s possible – using a well-defined list so there’s no mess in the middle of shopping. The advantage is that we get good discounts because we buy in larger quantities.
It started to become a habit among us, and now we can get people together on weekends to make dinner and catch up.
Tip # 4: Use Reminders
This last tip may sound like bullshit, but it works for me. I love self help books, inspiring stories and photos that make me motivated. In order to maintain the discipline of saving, I decided to set up a mural by putting together texts and pictures that reminded me of the reason for everything.
In my case, save now, so that in the future I could reduce my work hours and still maintain the same standard of living. Anyway, things that I have at disposal today, but that I prefer to restrict a little to enjoy them in the future.
In addition, every 6 months I write down the total amount I’ve saved and let it stand out, as if it were really a trophy that gives me more motivation to continue in this endeavor.
I think in the end we always understand the importance of taking the first step. This is how we build our paths to achieve some goal.
Text written by Hugo Metzger. Student Administration, search on inspiring stories and good conversation points from matches to what he writes. Through his texts shows the importance of achieving financial well-being.