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.

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Showing 15 comments
  • Sharolyn
    Reply

    I’m reading Rhonda Hetzel’s “The Simple Home” and some of the early chapters on getting organised and getting your budget right have really got me motivated. So much of it is SO simple. I’m feeling excited about working within realistic boundaries for how much we have to spend. I know it will take discipline but there is always a little room for movement. And looking forward to making some progress with saving. Now to just stick to the budget… Keen to read the Barefoot Investor now too. Thanks!

    • Jodi
      Reply

      I adore Rhonda’s advice – heartfelt, sensible and simple. It does require a little discipline but when you start to reap the rewards it’s the best motivation x

  • Susana Galli
    Reply

    Hi Jodi, instead of a waterproof tablecloth I use a a big piece of unfinished calico fabric, and in the middle of the table I set two prefolded cloth nappies to soak up any spills. Calico is surely cheaper than waterproof cloth and non plastic, I use it for any kind of mess at home, set on floor for sand play etc. I wash it sometimes. Maybe you could even find some thick tablecloths at the charities shops? Anyway, just a suggestion that works really well for us 🙂

    • Jodi
      Reply

      Good idea! x

  • Georgia
    Reply

    Thanks Jodi, I must borrow The Barefoot Investor from the library. Excellent tips.

  • Reply

    Years ago, before it was cool to log and track savings, I kept a calendar where each day I jotted down how much money I intentionally saved. It became a game but really opened our eyes to how easy it is to be fugal…not cheap. In the year, we had “not spent” over $12K. What we learned became habits we have used for many years now. We may have been the original “do more with less” crave!-Laurel Bledsoe

    • Jodi
      Reply

      I love this idea! x

  • Remaliah
    Reply

    Wonderful tips, Jodi! I need to get smart with a menu plan too. Is the Barefoot Investor book specifically for Australians or are there plenty of general saving tips for those of us who live outside of Aus?

    • Jodi
      Reply

      There is Aussie info re: specific bank accounts + super etc but generally, it’s a very simple step-by-step guide that you could follow regardless of where you live x

  • Emma
    Reply

    Hi Jodi, I would love to know which Electricity Company offers the 26% saving if you pay on the due date! I just did a quick google search but couldn’t find it. Thanks for another great post. Emma

    • Jodi
      Reply

      Energy Australia….but I have been with them for over 10 years so perhaps it’s a long-term customer deal?

  • Melissa@Julia's Bookbag
    Reply

    Hey Jodi! I’m up in the Pacific Northwest of the U.S. and am really intrigued by your selling clothing on IG. I have party dresses that my child has worn ONCE and I just have been giving them away. It would be nice to sell or consign them. When you say your shipping is 9.95, do you apply that cost to to the buyer?

    • Jodi
      Reply

      Yes, the buyer pays $9.95 which covers the charge of a pre-paid trackable satchel anywhere in Australia x

  • Ally
    Reply

    I purchased the Barefoot Investor after your initial post about it and it has been one of the most life changing books I’ve ever read. We did a huge finance overhaul over the New Year and haven’t looked back, so thank you! With baby #4 sure at the end of the year I need to get my act together with meal planning

  • Amy@MoreTimeThanMoney
    Reply

    I got the Barefoot Investor out of the library on your recommendation. Loved it.

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