Setting short-term, mid-term, and long-term financial goals is an important step toward becoming financially secure. However, caring for someone with special needs may make it seem impossible to set aside funds for the future. This routine may get caregivers stuck in a vicious cycle of debt and feeling like they never have enough cash to get properly insured, leaving them more vulnerable than they need to be to handle some of life’s major risks.
If you are a caregiver feeling the stress mentioned above, these tips could help you get started on becoming financially independent.
Saving money doesn’t mean having to quit spending altogether. Look for ways to cut expenses and boost savings, take comfort in the fact that every little bit each week or each month can go a long way.
Here is a list of tips from The ABCs of Caregiving guidebook which you can try out. Let’s start prioritising some financial goals over others!
1) Write down your monthly income and everyday expenses
Once you get your monthly paycheck and/or allowance, write it down in a finance notebook. At the same time, write down in detail all your expenses.
2) Determine the amount of money you want to save
Think of a long-term financial goal and write down the amount of money you want to save per month. Remember, be realistic!!
3) Divide your expenses and determine the budget before spending it
- Cost of living: Food, utility bills, housing etc.
- Other expenses: Transport, insurance, entertainment etc.
- Savings: The remaining amount after (a) and (b). These savings are for those rainy days or contribute towards your financial goals .
4) Separate accounts
Transfer the amount needed for cost of living (3a) and other expenses (3b) into a separate bank account from (3c) every month. If you do not have separate bank accounts, just divide the money accordingly into envelopes and safe keep it. Remember to only use what is within the budget unless absolutely necessary. Discipline is key!
5) Extra Tips to Saving That Extra Bit
When shopping at the supermarket
- Make a grocery list before shopping to avoid impulse buys
- Use coupons and vouchers to maximise savings as you shop
- Look out for promotional items when you go shopping
- House brands are 10 to 15 per cent cheaper than popular brands
Needs vs Wants
A need is something essential in your life while a want is a choice or desire. Before purchasing items, take a while to ask yourself questions like:
- “Do I really need it?”
- “Do I already have something or have a choice that is similar that serves the same purpose?”
- “Do I need it now?”
Revisit your budget as needed
Your income, expenses and priorities will change over time. Adjust your budget accordingly, but always have one.
After looking at the tips on how to plan your finances, let us try to do it using this template. Thereafter, you can even use the template as a reference to create your finance notebook! If we stay disciplined and move along with this plan for this year, we could see a positive change in our finances and be another step away from debt and the feelings of insecurity.
The ABCs of Caregiving: A Guide, The Bridging Point, Social Work Final Year Project by students from Nanyang Polytechnic