What tricks can I use to save a lot of money this year?

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One of the strategies to manage your finances wisely is by employing US Senator Elizabeth Warren's 50/30/20 rule. PHOTO | SHUTTERSTOCK

I have heard of financial fasting and how it can help save me thousands every year or month. Please share some financial fasting tricks. I realise I waste a lot of money, I hope to start being a better saver this year.

I would like to congratulate you on making the brave decision to better your financial well-being by making the necessary changes that will help you save more money.

It is not always easy to realise that changes need to be made. Financial fasting is never an easy decision but it is crucial towards saving money, achieving your financial objectives like investing or paying off debts, and creating a more stable financial future

What is financial fasting? This is essentially a method of consciously restricting your spending to save money. It involves cutting out certain expenses or reducing your overall spending for a set period of time.

It is a powerful tool for anyone seeking to take charge of their finances and make real progress towards achieving their financial goals. Here are a few ideas.

Identify your spending triggers

One of the biggest challenges of financial fasting is figuring out what is causing you to spend money unnecessarily. Some common triggers include boredom, stress, impulse buying, and social pressure.

By identifying your spending triggers, you can start to develop strategies to avoid them. For example, if shopping helps you combat stress, try finding a different way to relax, like going for a walk or reading a book.

Set a specific financial goal

Financial fasting is more effective when you have a goal tied to it. Whether it is saving for a down payment for a house, paying off debt, or building up your emergency fund, having a clear target will help you stay motivated and on track.

Be sure to set a realistic goal that you can achieve within a reasonable time frame.

Create a budget

A budget is an essential tool for anyone practising financial fasting. By mapping out all your income and expenses, you’ll see exactly where you are spending more on and identify areas where you can cut back.

Do not be afraid to get creative with your budget - think about ways you can reduce your spending without sacrificing what matters.

You can do this by simply writing them down on a piece of paper, using a simple excel spreadsheet or using an APP or free online spending tracker.

You can also include saving in your budget and have a saving goal that is comfortable as you start off and then plan on eventually increasing up to 15 to 20 percent of what you earn.

Set your financial priorities

Once you take care of your income and expenses, your financial priorities will have the biggest impact on how you choose to allocate your savings.

If, for example, you know you will need to replace or buy a car in the near future, you can start by putting money away towards this purpose now.

Do not however forget your more important long-term goals like retirement planning, and run the risk of sacrificing them for your short-term needs.

Learning how to prioritise your saving goals will go a long way toward painting a clear picture of how you’ll allocate your savings.

Make saving automatic

You can do this by creating a savings account and putting instructions such as standing orders to be able to deduct monies directly into your savings.

This will minimise your interactions with your savings. You can even go a step ahead and lock them for a period of time. Let the money be far away from your easy reach.

Be easy on yourself

Financial fasting can be intimidating, especially if you are used to spending money without a budget. That is why it's important to start bit by bit and gradually build up to more significant changes.

Maybe you start by cutting out your daily coffee habit or cancelling a subscription you do not really use. As you get more comfortable with financial fasting, you can gradually make bigger changes.

Track your progress

Finally, it is important to track your progress as you practise financial fasting. This can be as simple as keeping a daily spending log or using a budgeting app to track your expenses.

Seeing your progress on paper (or on your phone) can be a huge motivator and help you stay committed to your financial goals.

Mr Odhiambo is a financial communication specialist at Zamara; [email protected].

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