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Surviving Life in the Metro: It Pays to Be Smart with Money

by Money Team
31 Jul 2017 | 2:10 PM

Moving to the Metro or any of the big cities is a big step to independence, but it isn't exactly going be a walk in the park. Aside from higher living expenses, we also have to deal with rent and the temptation to spend our hard-earned money at any moment.

The latter is something most of us fall prey to; after all, it is hard to resist spending money when you're surrounded with the latest gadgets and fancy clothing. Most of us rely solely on our paychecks to deal with our expenditures, but we won't exactly survive life in the Metro if we keep this up.

Unnecessary Expenses

Before we start relying less on our paychecks, we need to first distinguish our necessary expenses from the unnecessary ones. The latter is something we can live without, and is usually born out of a want instead of an actual need.

Clothes, for example, are definitely a need but they can become unnecessary expenses if their cost cuts a hefty amount into our pay. Expensive clothes and named brands are fancy and all, and they are sure to turn heads, but they are impractical if we are left waiting for the next payday just to make ends meet.

A good way to save up on costs is to re-fit old clothes instead of buying new ones. Re-fitting costs considerably less than a new shirt or pants, and allows us to save money for the expenses we need to address. Go through old clothes and pick the ones that can still be re-fitted and adjusted.

Food is another necessity that we can save on. Everything in the big city is slightly pricier, even food from fast food chains. Instead of eating out every lunch and burning through cash, prepare food at home and pack it as lunch. Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, and it's a great way to save money on food.

Part of the process of relying less on the salary is knowing when to say no to ourselves and prevent our hands from opening our wallet every time we see something fancy. Our priority should be the essentials - the things we absolutely can't live without - and only when we've made ends meet can we start spending for ourselves, provided that there's enough left.

Invest in Personal Development

The job we have may be something we enjoy doing, but it may not exactly be paying us enough to enjoy our lives. Even when we've reduced spending on unnecessary items, it's difficult save money for ourselves and future expenditures.

There's nothing wrong with expanding our boundaries, especially if it's going to benefit us financially in the long run. Unfortunately, most of us tend to give up our full-time careers to focus on entrepreneurial ventures, only to fall flat on our faces and back to square one with no job.

Knowing the right place to invest is difficult as there's no guarantee that we'll reap the rewards when we need them the most. Most people tend to forget that the best place to invest is in ourselves. There's no downside to learning a new skillset and it is actually the key to expanding our boundaries.

We don't necessarily have to be a jack-of-all-trades - instead, the skillset we should focus on should complement what we already know. For those working in the BPO industry, taking management or training courses are good ways to qualify for higher paying positions. Learning a new language is also good complimentary skill to have, and is very advantageous for those working with international clients and customers.

Apart from opening up new career options, learning new skills may even reduce our expenditures. Learning how to cook, for example, gives us an option to open our own food business and even if we don't exactly become food tycoons, we can still earn a profit from selling home-cooked food.

Beware of Scams

In our attempts to supplement our paychecks, we may eventually encounter businesses that claim to offer huge returns for relatively low upfront payments. The idea of big returns for small investments is a red flag and an indication that the business may actually be trying to scam us out of our hard-earned money.

An easy way to tell if the investment opportunity isn't what it seems to be is if they can't show or produce the supposed product that we're planning on investing in. Many scams rely on the money from recruiting other ‘investors' instead of actually gaining profits from products.

Additionally, we need to make sure they have the right paperwork. Ponzi and pyramid schemes have many inconsistencies and errors on their statements, and they often lack actual paperwork.

Finally, if the person is goading you to invest, almost desperately, take a minute to step back and assess the situation. Most of the time, they like to prey on our ambition and confidence, and even provoke us to step up and ‘be different' and take a chance on their investment opportunities. This isn't how investors draw in other investors; after all, if the investment is really good, the product should speak for itself.

Again, the greatest investment is we'll ever make is to ourselves. Get health or life insurance instead of wasting money on shady business dealings and ‘opportunities'. We're not just safeguarding our well-being; we'll also be laying the foundation of a comfortable and worry-free life after retiring.

Surviving life in the metro isn't simple, and aside from the struggle to make ends meet, there are many who are out to take advantage of our situation for their own benefit. When it comes to money matters, it pays to be smart and think carefully to make the right decisions.