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Personal Finance: Saving your defense against financial crisis

来源:BusinessMirror 作者:Alvin T. Tabanag 时间:2009-03-27 Tag:money   manage   crisis   financial   点击:


One of the upsides of the current upheaval in the global financial system is that people are more careful about spending their money. Rightly so.

With many people facing a clear and present danger of losing their jobs, the smartest move would be to stretch one’s money as much as possible. Because you’ll never know if tomorrow you will still have a job.

You really shouldn’t wait for a crisis to happen before you start to worry about your financial situation. Always remember that a lot of good things don’t last. Sooner or later the good times will end. You may be earning well now but there’s no guarantee that five or 10 years hence you will still be on easy street. You should be prepared all the time. Save as if there’s always a financial crisis looming(迫近) in the horizon. Save as if your income would stop flowing anytime soon.

With this kind of attitude toward saving you will be able to accumulate sufficient monetary resources(货币资金) that can tide you over(tide over: 度过, 克服) when the next economic turmoil(经济动荡) hits.

Let me share with you a number of strategies to help you save and build your defense against a financial crisis.

• Create a spending plan. It’s a must especially when income is tight. The spending plan or budget helps you control and manage your money because it tells you where each peso should go. It helps you minimize, if not eliminate, unnecessary expenses.

Remember to include in your spending plan a budget for your regular savings, which ideally should be about 20 percent of your net income. Don’t waste your time by creating a spending plan that you have no intention of using.

• Spend your money wisely. In good or bad times, you should make it a habit to buy only things that are necessary. If you have to purchase something “nice to have” but unimportant, do it occasionally. And save for it instead of conveniently charging it to your credit card.

Get rid of unnecessary expenses like smoking, heavy drinking and frequent gimik. You can also reduce your expenses further if you give up your love affair with signature wear and expensive cappuccino. During tough times, these things should be the first to go.

Now is a good time to evaluate your lifestyle. If your way of life is causing you financial pains, why continue with it? Shift to a more modest lifestyle, one that is financially low- maintenance.

• Freeze your credit cards. And I mean this literally. I first heard about this tip from best-selling author Efren Cruz. To limit your credit-card use, submerge it in a glass of water then put inside your ref to freeze. (Don’t do this for cards with electronic chips because it will short-circuit and get damaged.)

Frozen credit cards will reduce your expenses because studies show that you will spend 25 percent to 30 percent less if you use cash exclusively. Thaw(解冻) your frozen credit card only when you really have to use it.

If you are like the lady whom I recently heard bragging about her six credit cards, get a pair of scissors and cut up your cards. Leave just one or two; that’s all you need. Too many cards will just tempt you into spending more than you can afford.

• Be a hunter. You should make every peso count and always try to get the best value for your money. Be an expert at stretching your income. Hunt for the best bargains(特价商品,便宜货) (without compromising quality) so you can buy more for less. This is the mark of a true smart saver. Remember that expensive doesn’t always mean good quality.

Here are some other things you can do to cut down on your expenses and save more money.

1. Be contented with what you have; envy is often expensive.

2. Do not gamble; you probably have a bigger chance of getting hit by lighting than hitting the jackpot.

3. Take public transport; you will be helping the environment while helping your pocket.

4. Bring lunch to work; you can save more than 50 percent and get to enjoy home-cooked food daily.

5. Don’t be a techno-gadget(科技产品) freak; some gadgets cost a lot and lose value soon after you buy it.

6. Spend more time at home; you will spend less.

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