5 ways I’ve saved money this year
I’ve discussed savings, spendings and budgeting a few times over the years but it’s only recently that I’ve actually become a little financial savvy.
I realise that this is something I probably should have done sooner but instead of getting caught up in regrets, I’m carefully managing my money and making big changes going forward.
Except the changes really aren’t that big. They’re actually a bunch of small things that accumulate to make a big difference to my day-to-day and my bank balance.
A frugal perspective definitely helps but that doesn’t mean that I use teabags twice and go without every single thing I like the look of. I still buy a coffee from a cafe each day and, when it comes to making non-essential purchases, I carefully consider each one (for at least a week before I buy).
At the end of last year I borrowed The Barefoot Investor from the library and read it in a few days. I’m not surprised that it’s been Australia’s bestselling book since December; it really is the simplest, most sensible money advice I’ve ever come across. The general message goes something like: don’t spend money you don’t have, carefully watch where your money goes and enjoy yourself today while looking (and working) towards your retirement.
A big part of this simple strategy is getting financially organised – it’s one of the only things you have to do to ensure that you spend less and save more.
Here’s five (little things) I’ve ticked off the list in the past few months that have saved me money:
- I opened an ING bank account and transferred all my direct debits to it. Why? Because there’s no fees (ever) and you can use any ATM (even the generic ones in service stations, newsagents etc) and never get charged. Plus, Daniel had a code that gave us both $50 if I signed up so it was a no brainer. If you’re keen to do the same and earn yourself $50 there’s some details below*.
- I made a few phone calls regarding car and home insurance and managed to save $30 a month all up. I did the same with my electricity bill and now, if I pay by the due date, I save 26% on the entire cost of the bill (which is often close to $100/per bill).
- I got serious about meal planning and have saved hundreds of dollars (and a fair amount of waste) in the process. If you’re keen to give it a go but don’t know where to start, it’s simply a matter of sitting down with your diary or your phone and making a list of what you’ll eat over the next week, fortnight or month. And then use this list to inspire your grocery shop, being careful not to buy too many extras in the process. Also, if you reach the point where you need to go to the shops but can’t be bothered, take a good, hard look in your freezer, fridge and pantry and I assure you, there will be something there for you to whip up for dinner (even if it is eggs + beans on toast). I find one of the biggest savings in regards to my groceries, is that I no longer do “top-up shops” – in retrospect, they were very costly because I while I may have gone in for milk and butter, I often came out with $50 worth of groceries.
- I spent half a day going through my wardrobe and the kids outgrown clothes and opened up a little instagram page to sell things we no longer needed. And it’s been such a success! I can’t believe it! I’ve greatly reduced the clutter in the wardrobes, made some cash and sent a big bundle of pre-loved clothes off to other homes who appreciate quality. I’ll do another big sale after I’ve had baby (there will be lots of maternity wear + either boy or girl clothes listed) – find the page over at @simplicitymarket.
- I really consider the cost of things before I purchase. For instance, takeaway pizza can easily cost us $45 whereas I can make homemade for under $10…sure it’s a bit of effort on nights when energy is dwindling but I always feel so much better knowing we ate well and didn’t waste money. I think the same about books…the library often wins over the bookshop unless it’s something I want to continue referencing and keep on the shelf. If I need something (at the moment it’s a waterproof tablecloth for when the kids are doing craft) I’ll add it to my “op-shop” list instead of heading straight to the shopping centre.
*If you’re keen to open an ING Orange Everyday Banking account, head here and, when asked for the code, enter: EOX080. To be eligible for the $50 bonus, you need to deposit $1000 in a calendar month and use your card at least 5 times – both before July 31st.