As the Jamaican dollar continues to slide and prices continue to climb, consumers have to become even more mindful of their spending habits and be as frugal as possible. This Tip Thursday, we share seven ways to help you ‘stretch’ your paycheque and save a few dollars.
- Create a budget. Make a note of your monthly income, including your steady salary and any monies from remittances, additional jobs, etc. Secondly, make a list of all your monthly expenses and check to ensure that your income can support them. Creating a budget helps you keep track of where your money goes each month, which can help you make the necessary cuts and adjustments to save.
- Live within your means. When examining your budget, it might be helpful to note what are your needs versus your wants. Focus on the items in your ‘needs’ column first and eliminate or reduce spending on the ‘wants.’ You may need to limit activities such as eating out, shopping, going to the movies and other forms of entertainment or find more economical alternatives. While recreation is important, ensure that your bills are paid before you decide to indulge.
- Conserve to save. Bills often take up the lion’s share of your salary. While some of them (such as loan payments) may not be flexible, you can reduce the amount of money you pay for items such as electricity and water by practicing simple conservation methods. Even if you are only able to save a few hundred dollars per month, it adds up in the end.
- Become a bargain hunter. It is important to shop around for the best deals before you part with your hard-earned money: Buy in bulk. If you live alone or do not need such large quantities, team up with a friend to share the items and split the costs. You should also buy items on sale and take advantage of supermarket specials. Additionally, try substituting expensive items with cheaper ones.
- Pay on time. Avoiding late fees on your bill payments can save you several hundred dollars per month. Also, being able to pay your bills online or using a payment service is definitely convenient, but these transactions often attract fees. Evaluate all the payment options available and find the most economical one for you.
- Use your cards wisely. Don’t make too many trips to the ATM as most banks charge a fee for each transaction. Instead, withdraw a sufficient amount and take from that what you need on a daily basis. Also, avoid making rash credit card purchases. Try leaving your cards at home as much as possible to resist the temptation.
- Start saving. It is vital to have money put away should an emergency situation occur or you are faced with unemployment. Ensure that you allocate money for savings in your monthly budget and whenever you end up with a few extra dollars, add them to your ‘rainy day fund.’
How do you stretch your paycheque and save money? Share some of your personal tips with the diGJamaica.com community.