Everyone knows that saving money is never easy. In addition to rising living costs, an array of new consumer products and other temptations are constantly putting a strain on household budgets.
To deal with this, there is a lot of expert advice on how to save money – some of which you learned in the Citi-K.I.Asia Teacher’s Money Sense project, a financial literacy training, you went through. Suggestions such as make a budget and stick to it, understand wants versus needs, etc. Perhaps you have gone further and made important costs reductions in your life, such as checking your mobile phone plan to make sure you are not spending too much, or being sure to unplug appliances when not in use to save money on your electric bill. All of these are important and can help put you on the road to financial freedom. But there is one piece of advice that may rank above all others in determining how well you meet your financial goals – this is having a good support system.
There is a good deal of evidence now that shows the company we keep – family, friends, co-workers – plays a key role in how well we can delay gratification – save money for the future instead of spending it today. If we spend time with people who eat too much, we will likely eat too much. If we spend time with people who drink too much, we are likely to drink too much. The same goes with spending. If we are with people who continually put pressure on us to spend money, then we are likely to spend money too. Thankfully, there is a way to turn this behavior to your advantage. And that is by finding people with similar financial goals and establishing a support system with them to help limit spending and encourage saving.
So why not form a savings club with like-minded friends and family today. Meeting regularly, you can support each other and help work toward good financial behavior. Additionally, group members can exchange money saving tips, pool resources to buy items in bulk and potentially develop join investments. There are many possibilities. The first step is to talk to people you know and see if they are keen to save money. Then, form a group with clearly stated goals, followed by a buddy system to lend support when under pressure to make bad financial decisions. Finally, establish a meeting schedule and stick to it. Such a plan is the basis of most successful behavior change strategies – and can greatly increase your chances of meeting your financial objectives.