BY JOHN ELLIS, FINANCIAL ADVISOR
Dairy and beef farmers have been urged to grow crops amid Ukraine shortage fears due to the expected serious price hikes on staple items such as bread as grain supplies are curtailed due to the war.
Psychology Today, quoting the famous Minnesota Starvation study conducted in the 40s, warns that lack of food creates an “insecurity in us that can override our sensibilities”. We have seen examples of hoarding of food and essentials pre-pandemic.
The Central Bank has written to banks and financial firms to be on their guard against increased risks from cybersecurity criminals. You will have noticed an increase in warnings when you log in to your online accounts.
It’s all causing a sense of insecurity and feeds the idea that we are at the mercy of the vagaries of fate and the decisions of other people and powers, leading in some cases to a sense of helplessness. But, according to a recent study into spending behaviours, we can be our own worst enemies as bad spending habits are costing us thousands of euro every year.
Problem is we live in a time of ‘instant gratification’ and when we have a problem we look for the quick fix, hacks to cut down on costs, while completely overlooking our spending habits. Everyone’s spending habits are different and, while it’s difficult to cut down on little treats here and there, it’s worthwhile – delayed gratification, they call it – when trying to save for something important.
Try some or all of the following ideas:
Eat before you shop
Everything is essential when going up and down the supermarket aisles on an empty stomach
Think before spending during sales
Buying something that has been slashed by 70% in a sale is an actual loss if you don’t need the item in question.
Cheaper is not always a savings
Saving in the short term usually means losing more in the long run. iI’s better to spend a little more and go for better quality.
Saving a certain amount from your wages immediately on receipt
It’s natural to prioritise other expenses on payday but by reorganising your budget to put aside a certain amount each time it will bring results. For example, try using the 50/30/20 rule – 5% on necessary expenses, 30% toward “wants”, cinema, eating out etc. and 20% goes towards savings.
Stop ‘coffee on the go’
The cost of one cup a day accumulates to a sizeable amount.
Stop wasting food
Buying vegetables in bulk, for instance, because they are under a euro or less can lead to high food wastage as you often throw out your mouldy carrots and red peppers a weeks later. At the beginning of each week plan your meals and this will show you exactly what to buy. And stick to it.
Set long-term financial goals
Saving a little bit each month will eventually accumulate but setting savings goals for the months ahead can better inform your spending decisions.
Use budgeting software
You will not be bothered by the amount you squander unless you know. You need insight to make improvements. Many financial institutions have ‘free’ budgeting software on their apps that are underused. They will give you an instance and true time breakdown of your spending and savings habits.
The press of a button brings up graphs of your monthly spending and savings.
In spite of everything that you have no control over, you do actually have the reins as to how you allocate your hard-earned cash.