Doing Ourselves Some Saving

Credit: Leann Arthur, National Geographic

Saving today doesn’t mean entirely denying ourselves enjoyment – that’s extreme. If anything, it’s giving our future selves a favor, a wide catch of safety net. And more perks.

Some may argue that it’s too early to save; we’re young so we must go all out or regret it for the rest of our lives! Yes, it’s reasonable to treat ourselves from time to time; it’s not when we indulge too much that we forget we need to live for another month.

I believe we can enjoy ourselves with enough while stashing a good portion of our hard-earned money. The act of saving – beyond its obvious perks – 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.

Because 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, then do it progressively, we gain muscle and spend only on the things that 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 either 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 weird tastes to try and look forward to.

Improve your taste buds. Our health is precious. Period. We can invest today by cutting down on the bad stuff (I’m talking about refined sugar) but not denying ourselves entirely if we can’t. I still eat sweets, junk food, and drink soda but I make sure that I know it’s bad for me, making me crave them less. Instead, I pack up on the many good stuff, 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.

Walk often. We’re doing our bodies a favor by getting off the chair and walk and stretch. Long walks with a friend or a loved one is also great. Less carbon footprint, more stories, more coins to save.

Exercise. We don’t necessarily need a gym membership to be fit. Better 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 we can achieve 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 when I have slept well. It is likely to help me eat well and exercise, too. By doing so, I feel good inside, I get things done, and I’m less likely to snap.

Develop cheap 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 make use of old stuff.

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?

Let me know your thoughts.


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