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Purely Dominica

Purely Dominica

Yesterday I wrote a post on how powerful your piggy bank can be just by collecting the extra change in your pocket at the end of each day, and I thought it would be fun to write a post on the different ways to trick yourself, to get around obstacles, to boost your accounts, without it hurting.

For a lot of people in Dominica improving their finances improves their happiness – in general. I know lots of people who are happy only when they’ve money to spend. So I though it would be important to share stuff that’s worked for me.

I’m in the best financial shape in my life, despite having one source of regular income which is my job. Thanks to my penny-pinching program 🙂 I’ve eliminated all my debts and I now able to save as much as I can.

Here’s what works for me — please note that, I’m not saying they’ll work for everybody. Share your tips and tricks in the comments!

Use more cash. Instead of charging things to credit cards or debit cards. In the past three years it’s much easier to own a credit card(s) – in fact banks now are literally begging you to apply for a card. Using cash for non-bill spending such as eating out, gas, groceries makes the spending more real, and there’s an added advantage of knowing when you’re out of cash, instead of spending more than you own.

Small monthly savings transfers. I got this idea from my grandma, who automatically deducts $20 a week from her check to savings. I decided that I could live with $100/month without really feeling it — it’s a relatively small transfer that I barely notice, and I save about $1200 a year.

Stay home. Going out makes you more likely to spend unnecessarily. You eat at restaurants or go out drinking with your friends every weekend. It’s hard to avoid spending when you’re on the road. Instead, stay home, and find free entertainment. It’s also a great way to get closer with your family.

Cook at home. I know, it seems more difficult than eating out. But it doesn’t have to be hard. Throw together a quick stir-fry with some vegetables and either boneless chicken or (my favorite) mince meat. Not only is this much cheaper than eating out, but it’s healthier.

Exercise. Staying healthy is the best way to avoid costly medical bills later.

Pay savings and debt first. When you sit down to pay your bills, make the first bills you pay be your savings transfer and your debt payments. If not, if you pay them last … you’ll often end up shortchanging them. But if you pay them first, make sure you can still pay your rent or mortgage, utilities, groceries and gas …

Find happiness in life, not spending. Many times I meet people buying lots stuff because they think (subconsciously perhaps) that it will bring them happiness. They just HAVE to have the latest gadget or shoes or cars. It’s so fun! And yet, you buy that stuff, and you’re only happy for a day or two at most. Then you just need to buy more. It’s a never-ending story. Instead, learn to love life. Find joy in nature and the people around you. Do something you love, be it exercising or reading. There’s so much in life to make us happy, there’s no need to find it in spending.

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