I know it’s difficult to think of saving today when we can start tomorrow or the next month. We’re young so we might as well go all-out, regret-free.
But ask these: What would it be like to have more favors saved for your future self? An investment for a business because you stashed that extra money? A travel to your dream country because you cooked every day?
Saving today doesn’t mean entirely denying ourselves enjoyment—that’s extreme. If anything, it’s giving our future selves a favor, a wide safety net to catch us.
I believe we can enjoy ourselves more and worry less when we stash a good portion of our hard-earned money. The act of saving, beyond obvious reasons, is a journey towards self-awareness and purpose. It becomes a daily practice to saying no to excess while saying yes to things that are genuinely important. This isn’t a foolproof recipe so we decide mindfully what’s important to us.
When we save, we think ahead if the purchase is worth in exchange of our time and energy. If we save as soon as we can, and do it progressively, we gain muscle and spend only on the things we will love and fulfill us.
Here are some of the favors we can do for our future selves:
Visit your priorities and act accordingly. Ask yourself right now and answer out loud what’s important to you. Ask again and reconsider your priorities. Let it sink.
Cook whenever you can. I don’t always get it right. It’s bland, too spicy, or weird; I’m not fond of strict adherence to recipes. But with practice, I now get to enjoy edible cooking. More surprises to come.
Improve your taste buds. Our health is precious. Done. We can invest today by cutting down on the bad stuff (mostly refined sugar) but not denying ourselves entirely if we can’t. I still eat sweets and junk food but I make sure I know it’s bad for me so I crave them less. Instead, I make available the good stuff (good fats and protein), improving my over-all appetite. It also helps to eat on time, kick off the day with the good calories, so we are likely to refuse the bad ones. Eggs are always a good choice in the morning.
Walk often. We’re doing our bodies a favor by getting off our seats, stretching and walking in intervals. A long walk with a friend or a loved one is also great—less carbon footprint, more stories, and more coins to save.
Exercise. We don’t necessarily need a gym membership to be fit. Sweat while doing house chores, jogging or working against our weight. We can play a sport, run with a dog, bike and sing. Science has backed it up—one of the best health investments is increased movement.
Sleep well. I’m not an expert sleeper, but I know that I’m doing myself and the people around me a favor whenever I sleep well. It is likely to help me eat well and exercise, too. Feeling good inside, I’m calm and equipped to do the things that matter.
Develop sustainable hobbies. Reading and writing is free. As a cheapskate, I enjoy both a lot. You can also think of a hobby that will take you places without emptying your wallet.
Go to thrift shops. If they sell cheap, decent goods, then we’re settled, right? After all it’s the usefulness that counts.
Take advantage of alternatives. No mobile Wi-Fi? Ask yourself whether you really need one. There is public Wi-Fi or an office Internet at your disposal. Maybe tether to a kind friend? Needing e-books? Look for free materials online. The Internet is your best arsenal today. Go to a library. Borrow books instead of buying. Rummage and revamp old stuff. Your creative energy is waiting to be unleashed.
Do the math. It definitely helps to divide price per weight. Likewise, buying in bulk may be better. It saves you time and energy and there is one less garbage to dispose. We can even recycle.
Stash small and do it incrementally. Changes might be daunting. So start by saving small. Revisit your priorities. Have I said it again?
You might find yourself saving more than you thought you could initially. The good thing about saving regularly, or anything for that matter, is that setting defaults forgets the frustration. It forges a habit.
Ultimately, it saves us time and energy—the best resources we can only have so much of.
What favor are you giving yourself today?