5 tips to save more in the next 6 weeks
How has your saving been going this academic year so far? Here are 5 tips to save more in the next 6 weeks!
1. Have a clear goal in mind.
If it is not a clear and defined goal, you won't feel motivated to save! If it is a mortgage deposit, ask yourself:
- Is it a house or apartment?
- Is it for you to live in eventually, as a holiday home, or just to rent out as investment? (This may affect the size and location of where you buy and whether or not you want a property that requires renovation)
- How many bedrooms?
- What kind of house/ apartment is it? (Is it a maisonette, semi-detached or a terrace? Is it a studio apartment?)
- Is your ideal property in Ireland, in the UK, in Spain, or in Dubai?
- Is it in a city, suburbs, town, village, or countryside?
Narrow down what you are looking for and go onto reputable property websites and research your ideal place. What is the approximate price including all taxes and charges? Now find out how much you have to save for its deposit. For example, in Ireland a resident needs to have a 20-25% deposit but if you live outside the country, it rises to 30-35%, so speak to your bank’s mortgage advisor to see what they require. You may not go with them in the end but they should give you a checklist to apply for a mortgage. Calculate 35% of the total property price + taxes + charges- now you have a financial goal in mind!
2. Make sure your saving goal is a SMART goal.
E.g. If it is a property, look at the financial goal you have calculated above (i.e. 35% of total property price + taxes + charges). You need to check if this financial goal is SMART, which means that it is:
Specific: You have a specific amount of money in mind.
Measurable: You can break your goal down and set yourself weekly, monthly, half-year, and annual targets to chart your progress.
Attainable/achievable: This is REALLY IMPORTANT! Look at your monthly salary to make sure your monthly saving allows you to live as well!
Realistic: AGAIN, this is REALLY IMPORTANT! While you are working abroad, you have to enjoy yourself too by socialising, travelling, etc., so if what you need for a deposit is completely unrealistic in a 2-year timeframe, then either look at a smaller and cheaper property or decide to commit to living abroad for 3 or 4 years instead. Sometimes, you will be homesick and lonely as an expat teacher, so feeling like you’re broke all the time while you save will probably discourage you from staying and ruin the expat experience!
Timed: If you plan to work abroad for 2 years, break it down into months and weeks, i.e. 24 months = 104 weeks to save it up. This makes your goal seem a lot more attainable. If 2 years is not enough to save for your house deposit, then perhaps extend your timeframe to 3 or 4 years of teaching abroad? Again, break it down into months and weeks to know how much to save each week, month, etc.
This is vital that you take the time to do this. I have always set myself SMART goals with a deadline and this has enabled me to buy a 4-bedroomed house in my home country, a 3-bedroom apartment in Spain, earn my MA in Applied Linguistics & ELT, & live for a year in London- these were all goals I had set myself when I first moved to Qatar in 2011 to begin my expat teaching career.
3. Visualise your goal
There will be times where you don’t want to stick to your budget or when you want to eat out for the fourth time in a week, so to keep you motivated to fulfil your goal in 2 years, you should use a vision board. There are 2 ways to do this:
– You can either get some pictures of your goals in Google Images and copy & paste them on a word document (or you can use Pintrest to do this too) and print a few copies out. Stick one board in your bedroom, carry another in your wallet and look at this list it daily to remind you how wonderful the rewards will be!
– Download a vision board app to add your images to it & look at it every day to inspire yourself, especially when you have to decline a brunch invite one weekend in order to meet your monthly saving target (don’t worry- you can meet your friends at the Happy Hour after the brunch instead!)
4. Always transfer your saving money OUT of your account on the day you get paid!
Remember, you need to commit fully to this goal. Like one of the most successful investors in the world, Warren Buffet says, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” The minute you get paid, transfer your monthly saving amount to a savings account and live off what you have left over. Otherwise, months will pass by where you don’t save a penny. Those months will turn into years and you will have nothing to show at the end of your contract! If you want to use your credit card to earn points, then transfer a certain amount to your credit card too so you don’t overspend and have a huge bill at the end of the month.
You can transfer from a currency house or an app. I don't recommend your expat bank as currency exchange rates are the lowest. For the last few years, I’ve been using Currency Fair, an Irish-owned online currency transfer, to move money between my home bank account and my expat bank account. I had to email them some documents to set it up, but once that was done, my account was set up very easily. In fact, Currency Fair has a great option, where it allows me to set the exchange rate I want, so I can tell Currency Fair not to transfer my money until the Euro exchange rate (or your preferred currency) reaches a better rate. Another pro is that it has an app, so I can do everything from the comfort of my own home- no queuing required! I save so much time this way. If you open an account using my affiliate link for Currency Fair here, you will get 10 fee-free transfers, saving you money!
5. Look for ways to earn (and save) more money.
The ideal number of income streams is 7! Your salary should not be your only way of making money, so can you tutor in the evenings, babysit, invigilate exams, or mark exam papers?
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