The journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. How many times have you heard that quote? Probably a hundred times over? More often than not, we associate it with practical endeavors. For instance, a baby taking its first step or perhaps learning a new skill. Yet, the weight of that statement cuts across all spheres of our lives. Literally.

With January halfway through its stretch, hopefully, you have taken care of the important stuff. For instance, kids school fees, rent, and monthly expenditure. Oh, and also that debt from Christmas and New Year festivities. I think the term ‘Christmas spillage debt’ wears it like a sock.
With all those rough edges ironed out, your second move is to take the steps that will catapult you into a financially secure future. These simple and actionable steps are the rudder that will steer your financial ship this year.

 

Awaken your accounting genius

Didn’t know you had one? Well… wait till you grab that pen and notebook. You will no doubt surprise yourself as you begin taking stock of your expenditures. Plan. Get organized. You will get a very clear perspective of the cash flow. In fact, you might even be more surprised when you see how much ‘floating cash’ you have.
Accountability is your compass.

Shop less. Wear more.
Yup. I know how effective shopping therapy can be. This is probably the reason behind all those shopping festivities everywhere you turn! Black Friday, Dubai Shopping Festival, and all those frenzied sale festivities. But when you stop and examine your closet, you realize that some outfits have just been worn once. Really. Some might still have their tags attached! This year, you might wanna restrict yourself from shopping for clothes for a while and wear what you have more. I know you think its no fun but, you can spruce it up a bit by mixing and matching outfits you normally wouldn’t. Try it. It is great fun and adds a fresh look to your grooming.

Anyone for home cooked meals?
Saving money is just one bonus when you opt for home cooked meals. The cherry on top is that you get to prepare your meals using fresh ingredients in a hygienic setting. Wanna learn something new? This would be a good place to start. Come on, try out a new recipe. Thai Green Curry tops my list of recommendations.
You will thank me later.

 

Want to kill two(or more) birds with one stone?
Ever considered carrying your lunch to work? You should. The benefits associated with this are plenty. Consider this; you get to practice your culinary skills by cooking at home. You get to eat fresh. You get to eat hygienic food and keep food poisoning at bay. You get to save your lunch money and most importantly, you get to do more during your lunch hour. Throw in a book, enjoy some downtime, or listen to a podcast. All this is possible since you don’t have to go out to look for lunch.

 

Create a veggie garden.
Eating from your very own veggie garden is one of the simple pleasures of life. Even Oprah loves it!
Wanna save bucks and eat healthily? A vegetable garden is way to go. Those un-utilized spaces in your homestead could save you quite a bit of money. A veggie garden is a noble endeavor, especially where kids are involved. It is a great learning tool. As they tend to the veggie garden, it instills a sense of responsibility.

Veggies, Greens, Garden, Collards, Kale

It’s never too early to book your holiday flights!
You are probably still reeling from the trip you just had. Your thumb sore from scrolling through the pictures. Oh, you absolutely loved taking that holiday. And you find yourself with this incessant itch to wander off on another excursion. And you should. There’s nothing that rejuvenates like taking time off to see the world. There’s only one problem; the money!
Guess what, you could still go on that holiday. And many more that your heart desires. You only need to do advance booking and target low seasons. Voila! You can’t believe the money you stand to save.
Bonus: You steer clear of the drama of overcrowded airports – you know the sweat and smelly shoes. Ha Ha.
You also get excellent customer service in hotels during low season. Not to mention, the enjoyment of having a pool and gym that is not crowded. Bliss.

 

Avoid the swipes!
At every turn is a bank offering credit cards. When I lived in Dubai, at some point banks were my worst nightmare. They made these relentless calls. It felt almost like they were out to shove credit cards down my throat!
Don’t get me wrong, credit cards are a good thing. I use them for online shopping. However, they can be a channel for self-destruction. The best way to save cash is to minimize the number of credit cards. One easy way of getting rid of them is by paying them off slowly and then canceling them afterward.
Also, if you can’t overcome the sea of temptation that accompanies a credit card, you are best lowering its limit. While you are at it, consider entrusting it to someone and only access it when a real need arises.

 

Ease off on the night-outs.
The internet is an array of memes around the fabulosity of weekends. We all look forward to them, though they dent our wallets in a pretty severe way. Look, I am not being a joy-killer. By all means, please get out and rock your weekends. After all, you deserve it for putting in a week of some tough grinding.
However, there are ways you could do that without having to spend buckets of cash only to chew on your nails as you eagerly await end month.
One great example is home brunches instead of night-outs. It is cheaper and healthy. Home brunches eliminate the pressure that comes from rushing to the club/restaurant to meet your friends after work. Stop and think of the numerous speeding fines and parking tickets that you have accumulated thus far. What if that cash had been channeled toward a worthy cause? See what I mean?

 

Lead by example
By virtue of being a mother, I am a firm believer in instilling an abundance mindset in my son. I originate that notion from the principle that where the mind goes, the body follows. Having said that, I also believe that there is a fine line between indulgence and provision.
As a steward of your children, you owe them the right to every single need. You also should endeavor to firmly embed their financial roots so that it becomes the step from which they build their empires. A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children, the Bible teaches.
And in so doing, you need to teach them financial responsibility and the value of money. A piggy bank is a great starting point. This encourages them to save as they only access their savings at the end of the year. Try to strike a balance by demonstrating that they cannot have everything they ask for but that there is always a reward for milestones. Make sense?

Piggybank, Dollar, Savings, Banknote

Small tweaks
Consider these options: Re-cycling/re-using, shopping at sale times, shopping in the market vs the supermarket, switching off lights after use, monitoring your water usage etc. Think about the shower gel in your bathroom. Does it really warrant its price? I get it. A beautifully scented shower gel is a divine thing. But, the supermarkets possess an array of shower gels that are both fragrant and economical. You can always find one that is cheaper and still smells just as delicious.
Also, when you shop for household goods, go for big sizes. It will save you money. Small sizes cost more long term, believe it or not. These small tweaks have a cumulative effect.

 

So there you go. Begin by shaking things up a little bit. It will save you lots of money and enhance your life.