Money Diet Guide to be Richer in 4 Weeks

Cutting down or putting a limit on something we like is neither fun nor easy. At times, although we know that it would make our lives better, we are still pushed away from our goals by our laziness.

That said, there is no harm in trying to “trick” ourselves to renew our habits. For example, the diet program that you did throughout last year to lose weight might not be successful because you often did it drastically and inconsistently. Instead of cutting your dinner – and going to bed feeling hungry – it is better to maintain a healthy lifestyle at all times, by keeping a balanced diet, reducing fatty food intake and exercising for 15 minutes a day.

The same principle may be applied to saving. In order to achieve our financial goals, we need to maintain a habit of saving regularly – even every day.

LiveOlive team has provided a formula to boost your savings and help you stay committed to your financial diet for 4 weeks. Simply download this template and follow the instructions:

Choose 1 Expense Item to Reduce

Last December, we tried to go on a “Saving Challenge” by choosing one thing which can be cut down or even eliminated, e.g. regular visits to Starbucks, salon, or film theaters.

Each LiveOlive team member knows their own “weaknesses” and make an effort to increase their savings by cutting on spending on those items.

“I really like packaged drinks. I do not care if it is on the street, while I am at the bus station or relaxing at home, I would drink it. I know they contain high preservatives and sugar content, but it is really hard to stop the habit,” says FR who says she could consume between 4 and 6 packaged drinks a day.

Assuming that one packaged drink of “Teh Kotak” (ice tea) is sold at Rp 4,000 (approx USD 30 cents), she would have spent at least Rp 480,000 (approx USD 36) a month to keep up with her habit.

Meanwhile, there is also MA who wanted to cut down her snacking habit. With the ever-growing number of mini-markets and convenience stores such as Indomaret, Alfamart, 7-Eleven, she found it too easy to be tempted to stop by every time she leaves for or come home from work, just to buy some snacks – a habit that had contributed to her weight gain.

Thanks to this habit, she had not only failed miserably in maintaining her diet, but also emptied her wallet. With a frequent of visit as much as 3-4 times a week, MA would spend at least Rp 240,000 (approx USD 18.5) on this habit.

Know Your Target (Time to fill up the template!)

You only need to fill one column in the template sheet, column E8, which is the amount of money you can set aside right after you receive your salary and distribute the amount for monthly spending, installments and regular savings.

For example, you think that you can set aside Rp 700,000 (approx USD 54) this week. This amount may seem a lot at the beginning, but it will get smaller within the following weeks.

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After you have an amount in E8, you will know the amount of money you need to set aside every day for the next 30 days. Within the next seven days, you will have to save Rp 100,000 (approx USD 8) a day. Next week, you will have to save Rp 50,000 a day (approx USD 3.8), then Rp 25,000 (approx USD 1.9) a day in the third week and Rp 12,500 (approx USD 96 cents) a day in the last week.

Make sure to set aside a realistic amount of money, so that you will not feel burdened by this activity.

“At first, I was determined not to buy packaged drinks at all and to be able to increase my savings by 10%, but in reality I could only increase it by 7%,” says FR who did not manage to quit her habit at once, but was able to cut down her consumption to only 2 packaged drinks a day.

Reevaluate your target to see if it is realistic, and then repeat this method in the following month. If you did not reach your savings target in December, e.g. because of additional spending during the holidays, try to save up more in other months.

Separate That Money from Your Savings or Wallet

As a coffee lover, CS always felt like her day was not complete until she had an espresso. Naturally, Starbucks became her favorite spot because the outlets were easy to find and can also function as a meeting spot.

“In a month, I make at least four top-ups worth Rp 100,000 (approx USD 8) into my Starbucks card and it always ran out,” she says.

CS set a target to save 5% higher than the previous months, to see if it is a realistic thing to do at the end of the year. Her mistake was that she did not put the extra money to another place, whether it is a piggy bank or another bank account. In the end, she found it hard to control her outgoing fund and felt free to swipe her debit card when topping up her Starbucks card.

Unlike CS, FR used a transparent piggy bank to set aside her money every day. She believes that it would motivate her to increase the content, while at the same becomes a constant reminder when she forgets to save her money at the end of day.

Find an Alternative Solution to Save

When there is a will, there is a way to find an alternative or substitute for something. Take what RG did as an example. His hobby is to watch movies at the theaters, which is quite expensive especially on weekends and holidays. Meanwhile, this activity is quite popular among the youngsters and families.

“I cut spending on the snacks and beverages, for example by eating first at home before going to the movies,” he explains.

One can spend around Rp 150,000 (approx USD 11.5) for two movie tickets on a weekend, and probably more for popcorn and drinks which could cost around Rp 60,000 (approx USD 4.6). Without even realizing it, you have spent Rp 850,000 (approx USD 65) a month just for this movies alone. For ladies who like to pamper themselves, that amount can be spent for 1-2 visits to the salon – i.e. for hair spa or gel manicure and pedicure treatment.

Make sure that your tertiary spending is not bigger than the amount of savings you set aside each month. If you have not been saving at least 20% of your income each month, start this financial diet within this week. You surely want this year to be better than the last one, right?

Read also: Are Your Savings on Track?

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