Many struggle with finances, whether it be trouble saving money or careless spending. It is not always easy to walk into a store and leave with only the items you went there to get; we see items on sale or something that we want and often enough, cannot help ourselves. This can lead to to regretting the purchase later on when we see we don’t have the amount we need to pay all our bills or we don’t have the money we were supposed to put aside for savings.
Nowadays, in our western culture there is an enormous want for consumption.
Borrowing money has rose to an all time high and as a result has led to greater amounts of debt, whereas savings has declined significantly. How are individuals as well as families supposed to handle their financial crisis?
Learning as well as practicing good financial habits will get you on track to better money management but how do we learn? There are a number of things we can pick up from our family, friends and through the media but what about global financial habits? Personally, I was never one to think beyond what is going on financially in my own life as well as my countries. Surely there are financial habits we can learn on a global scale.
Asian societies are orientated towards saving their money rather than spending it. Asian and western cultures have showed common household savings rates in the past. Today, western cultures’ savings have dropped where as Asian societies household savings rates have increased significantly. There are a number of reasons one could argue as to why this is the case; sure western countries do have a more developed credit market, which makes it easier to borrow money. When we compare household borrowing, as a percentage of GDP, Asian cultures are quoted in at 25% whereas Western societies are up to 90%.
An important lesson to learn from Asian cultures is: Increase savings to counter lower interest rates instead of borrowing more.
Chinese people are weary of debt and as credit cards are still relatively rare in China, most people pay for everything in cash – including their homes. When ordinary people start pulling out savings ten to twenty times their salaries, it is impressive to see how Chinese value their money.
Learn to always pay for things using cash instead of plastic and you will value your money more.
In India, haggling is a way of life. There is no real price for items, only the amount the salesman can get out of you; if they can, they will try to get as many rupees they can from you. It is nothing personal – you must try to bargain 50 to 75% off items in stores. This may make you feel cheap, trying to get a vendor to drop his price, however, it helps you learn how to seek out bargains. Lesson learnt: remember to always look for a bargain in order to get the most out of your money.
It is never easy to get into a routine of saving your money instead of spending but looking at how much different cultures can purchase without taking out any loans or using any credit cards is impressive – of course what is impressive to us is merely normal to them.
When trying to stretch your money perhaps what we have learnt from different cultures around the world will give us a peak in the right direction. When interest rates fall, counter them by saving your money instead of borrowing more. Pay for your purchases, no matter what they are, with cash instead of plastic – using your real hard earned money will show you how much you actually have and how much you can or cannot spend. Remember to always hunt for a bargain. Do not simply go out and buy something just because you want it. Save your money until you are able to afford it and when the time comes, if you still want to proceed, look for the best deal.
Help yourself out when it comes to your money, you will quickly learn that it does not grow on trees and is more easily spent than earned.