Sure, your pay cheque ensures that the stress of meeting expenses is taken care of, but there's more to saving than just raking in the bucks -- besides regular spending, you've got to take care of recreational expenditure, credit card payments, loan repayments and maintaining your minimum bank balance.
to help you stay financially fit, we've put together a few easy steps that will help you beat your money worries.
Plan and budget wisely
It's never too early to start financial planning. Ideally, you should have taken your first money-planning steps with your allowance -- how much money you get every month versus how much you spend every month. Ideally, your expenses should be less than the money coming in, allowing for some sort of savings.
The same logic should apply when you have a steady income. Calculate your monthly budget, your savings and your possible investments. But remember, planning is just half the battle won. If you don't stick to your it, you're already heading down the road to financial crisis.
Not every need is a necessity and not every desire needs to be satisfied immediately. All of us dream of owning the ideal home, a cool car, electronics and what-have-you, but not all of us can afford the luxury of a down payment within a year or two of starting work.
That's where prioritising comes in. Make yourself a list, a list of all the things you want and all the things you need. The needs are your necessities (food, clothes, rent, etc) and your wants are your luxuries (holidays, electronics, a car etc). Put them down in the order of their importance and calculate how much you need to spend on each item.
This will help you gain a better idea of how you are placed financially and how long it will take you to attain a comfortable lifestyle.
Watch your credit cards
Credit card debt is one of the sneakiest offenders when it comes to financial stress.
No sooner do you deposit your pay than the calls start coming in -- free credit cards with all sorts of offers and benefits. As tempting and convenient as they seem, try to limit your credit cards to a manageable number -- they are just another way to spend your own money.
The more you spend using your credit card, the higher they raise your credit limit -- another point of pride for many young professionals. But a high credit limit means you have more spending power and that will encourage you to splurge on more than is necessary. Don't flaunt plastic money every chance you get.
Use your credit card only where necessary and clear your dues by the due date -- that is the easiest way to ensure that you won't find yourself reeling under a debt of thousands one day, with little hope of recovery.
Photograph: AFP/Getty Images