You definitely must have grown up listening to this adage, “Money is the root of all evils.” Well, no one will deny the fact that greed for money can be quite harmful for oneself.
But here is the truth, we need money, a lot, whether we like it or not. But very often, we feel like we don’t have much when we need it.
Growing up in a family that struggled financially, my brother and I had to be satisfied with whatever we had. Although our parents didn’t make us feel deprived or anything like that, it was clear that we weren’t stable financially. So it was while I was growing up that I got to learn the art of parsimony- the quality of being careful with money and resources. 1 And here are the secrets to how you can do it too.
1. Make small changes in your day-to-day spending habits
There’s this Chinese proverb that goes- “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a small step.” Any habit, skill or anything you wish to master will require small actions to begin with.
And these small actions accumulate to create a big result. Consider what you are reading now for instance. Back when you were a child these words would seem like some wriggling images and nothing else.
First, you learnt letters, then you learnt simple words, then sentences. In this way you have got to where you’re now. Same goes for parsimony as well.
Find all the expenses you make in your day-to day life and see if you can reduce or completely cut out some of them. Do you need to spend 10 taka daily for a rickshaw to and from school? Do you need to have that tea from that “tong”?
These expenses might seem meagre but if you calculate the year total, you’re going to find a huge sum of your money being spent away.
Back in grade-8, my parents would give me 20 taka daily to go to school and back on a rickshaw. As the school was just a five minute walk from home, I decided to walk to and from school. And the result was amazing! Over Tk.5000 saved in a year!
2. Make an accounts book
Try to keep a monthly record of your incomes and expenses. Keeping a record of your expenses can help you in a lot of ways.
First, it helps you see where your expenses are going.
Second, you can then decide which costs can be reduced or cut off totally.
Third, you will challenge yourself to reduce your monthly costs. The ideal way would be to make two column book. In one column, keep track of your incomes and in the other column, keep track of your expenses. I present you with a glimpse of mine.
[Yes, I owed someone 500 taka but he forgave me. Kind soul!]
An added bonus- an accounts book will help you recall past events. Sometimes I fail to keep track of my expenses. Comparing my final account with the money I have actually helps me keep alert of my actions.
If you want to be tech-savvy regarding this, there are a lot of tools out there. Just search for budget planning apps and you will find plenty of apps to help you.
- Follow Warren Buffett
Warren Buffett is an idol when it comes to money making. He also has very interesting advice when it comes to money saving as well. The only way he became one of the richest man in the world (worth 86.9 billion dollars as of the time of writing) is by his habits of parsimony. Don’t believe me? See his quotes for yourself.
1. Reward yourself
Being parsimonious means you have to adhere to strict rules and regulations. But that doesn’t mean rewarding yourself once or twice is a sin. After every month reward yourself with a treat. You can take your family out for a dinner as well. All these rewards will encourage you to pursue the art of parsimony even more. But remember not to over-indulge!
2. Be charitable
This point might sound contradictory but being charitable helps you to be parsimonious as well. In addition to the benefits you’ll find in helping one in need, you’ll realize as well how important it is to save money. So allocate a certain portion of your money for the needy. And such charities don’t decrease your money, rather it inspires you to earn and save more.
3. Be satisfied with what you have
Often the thought of not having much money can lead us to a nervous breakdown. But if you look around, you’ll find that you’re leading a better life than most people out there. Don’t have a new smartphone? There might be someone who might not even have a basic phone. Sad because you couldn’t try out the new dish at that new restaurant? Well, there might be someone who might not be able to eat a square meal.
Be happy with whatever you have. It will prevent you from spending unnecessarily.
All these actions might be hard and require a lot of sacrifices. But remember these words from Emerson-
Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices
Happy mastering the art of parsimony!
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