Monday, 4 February 2013

How to save when you’re broke?

Saving money is not impossible when you're in financial dire straits

SAVING money can be a tall order for a lot of people but it becomes near impossible when you're broke or financially challenged. Still, it's not a position you can't come out of.

Here are some simple steps to follow to help you save despite being broke.

Set up a budget plan

If you're broke and trying to save money, than it's best to come up with a budget plan, says Standard Financial Planner Sdn Bhd's Jeremy Tan.

“If you're broke, then you need to evaluate what you're doing wrong.

“Have a budget plan. Look at what assets you have? “Perhaps you could try liquidating some.

“But even before you're broke, you should have contingency or emergency funds,” he tells StarBizWeek.

Keep working

MyFP Services Sdn Bhd managing director Robert Foo believes that if a person is broke, it's imperative for one to continue working or seek a new form of employment - as soon as possible.

“If you have a job, then you should continue working.The experience that you already have would be invaluable.

And what happens if you've lost your job or unemployed? All is not lost, says Foo.

“Don't feel hopeless. You've got skills and should be able to have contacts that can help you find a new job.

“If you have a job and you feel it's unstable or that you might lose it, then you should ensure that your resume is with headhunters, to ensure your income position remains as stable as possible.”

Tan also points out that age can be a factor. “Of course if you're young, you'll be able to take on multi-tasking jobs. If you're old, then you might need to go easy on the job load,” he says.

Compare prices

Self-confessed shopaholic PS Tan says that when she's “a little bit behind on her credit card payments” and needs to cut down on her spending, she decides to be a little bit more “choosy” with her shopping.

“When I know I need to cut down on my spending, I go several hypermarts or supermarkets and compare prices first before eventually purchasing.

“Also, if I have been using items that were expensive, I just choose to buy ones that are cheaper.
Be open to new brands and products,” she says.

Eliminate costs

While trying to save, also try to rid yourself of whatever debts you have.

“If you're broke, ask yourself if you have debts or not? Find out how you can restructure them,” says Tan.

Tan meanwhile says now would also be a good time to evaluate and consider eliminating the unnecessary financial obligations that one can do without.

“If you have a gym membership for a gym that you've not been going to for a long time, or perhaps a year's subscription for a book or magazine you've been hardly reading, just cut it off.”

Live within your means

If you're broke, than you're going to need to need to change your lifestyle - immediately!

“If you're broke, then you're not going to be able to sustain the lifestyle you've been living.

“The fastest way to solve this is to cut down on your expenses,” says Foo.

He reiterates that one could find a part time job or even a second one to curb debts quickly.

Eric Lee (not his real name), a marketing executive who was laid off for six months, says he was forced to cut down on his lavish lifestyle when he had difficulty finding a job.

“I had to do a lot of things differently.

“My car got repossessed and I had to move out from where I was staying because I couldn't afford the rent.

“I moved in with my parents and also had to rely on public transport to go where ever I needed to, especially for job interviews.

“If I was lucky, sometimes I could drive my parents' cars.

“When I did get a job, I initially still had to live within my means as I was still unable to stand on my own feet. This meant taking home-cooked meals to work.

“Initially, I also had to use t-shirts from friends as I couldn't afford new ones.”

By EUGENE MAHALINGAM
eugenicz@thestar.com.m