Ever since I moved out and got the first whiff of adulthood, one thing everyone from my parents to the random finance influencer on Instagram tells me is that I need to save.
But saving is so subjective. Everyone I know saves differently - my mom buys her monthly groceries from the same old store I grew up looking at. For her, buying from someone she knows for decades means she can negotiate on prices but not on quality.
My friend survives on instant noodles because she’s always tight on a budget.
Now there might not be clear cut categories of the type of savers out there, but knowing where you fall, will only help you do it better.
Like my mother, savers love to spend on things which are high quality. It’s ideal for them if they have to pay less for it. Savers assess the value of their purchases. Is something worth it if you pay less but have to spend consistently to maintain it?
Savers are careful, not cautious about their money. If they have to step out for dinner, they’d rather delay their gratification and think about where they’d really want to go, and if it’s worth it.
They have a tab running in their minds which constantly asks them if they really need something. They’d rather focus on those, and then have a look at their wants.
If you would rather spend more for a durable laptop that will work well for years than a cheap one which you would have to fix every six months - the Sorting Hat wouldn’t take a second to call you a Saver.
Much like the savers, the thrifters assess value. But they don’t stop there. Thrifters are keen on not wasting and finding alternatives.
A classic example would be when clothes are repurposed into bags, house accessories or given to younger siblings. It’s all thrifty. Unlike savers, thrifters are strong on the ‘lower cost, higher quality’ idea.
Many millennials and Gen Zs are shifting to thrifting for both it’s environmental and economical benefits.
Instead of stepping out for that fancy dinner, a thrifter is hands on. They’d rather buy ingredients and cook the dish instead. This way they get to enjoy the meal multiple times, without spending too much on it.
The lines might blur between savers and thrifters, but stingers are the easiest to spot.
That friend of yours who takes in all those birthday treats, without ever giving one on theirs? Yep, Stinger. That aunt of yours you’ve seen bargaining with the market vendors for ten rupees? Stinger.
Stingers might be looked upon terribly by the society, but most of them simply don’t care. They save wherever they spend. Stingers simply want to pay the least, and sometimes don’t want to pay at all?. They often compromise on their needs, wants, and quality of life for this as well.
You aren’t going to see a stinger at a restaurant unless someone else is paying, you also won’t see them eating a great homemade meal, unless they’ve been invited over.
Regardless of the category you fall into, knowing where you lack helps you build a saving lifestyle.
What most people overlook as they save is the purpose behind it. Why are you saving? Is it for your emergency fund? Are you planning on switching careers? Or is it for that trip you’ve wanted to take? All of the above?
Being specific about why you’re saving not only increases your motivation to save better, but makes the process of cutting down on immediate wants less painful, because you know where you’re headed. Not giving yourself the things you crave can actually make it worse for you, but so can going all out on an impulse.
Having a balance is the way to go, although it might be difficult to begin with.