You'll often find advice on our Buckscoop blog about saving money or adding value to your purchases. This post is certainly along those same lines, but with this approach we are going to look at how we can save money in incremental steps, which can really ease the blow on your monthly income.
Of course, your saving style will be unique to you. Some people prefer big, bold and cunning methods that will them to put aside as much as 50% of their monthly income for 6 months. Whilst others don’t enjoy restricting themselves so aggressively and would prefer subtler saving techniques such as trying to take public transport to work 3 days a week. Small changes to numerous aspects of your life, however, can have a huge impact on how much you are able to save per year. So see what suits your lifestyle and try to begin implementing them tomorrow.
No Clothes Shopping for 365 Days
The reality is that you already have everything you need and more is simply excess. If you don’t already have the basics then it’s likely you’ve already been arrested for indecent exposure.
So for all of you out there who feel the need to buy clothes every month should stop. Your image doesn’t need to be improved every 30 days and if you try to limit your purchases of new clothes for emergency circumstances only over the next 365 days, you will be shocked at how much you could potentially save.
Goodbye Brand Names
Wherever possible, try not to buy brand name items on your weekly grocery shop. Plenty of generic brands exist which offer the same quality and taste, you only need to try them to find this out for yourself. Put it this way, ALDI wouldn’t be so popular if it wasn’t doing something right in terms of the success it's had with it's own-brand items. Halving your grocery bill is entirely possible once you figure out all of generic products that you like.
Credit Card Interest
A daily charge on credit card debt is one of the single most costly forms of money that exists in our society today. If you have the option, opt for a balance transfer and pay 0% interest on your debt for an extended period of time. Then, once agreed, use this time to find ways to pay off your debt in as little time as possible to get yourself credit card debt free ASAP.
Save all $2 Coins
This is an easy one to do which can leave you with a significant sum at the end of it. If you and your family all make a pledge to save every $2 coin that you receive you may be very surprised to see how much you can accumulate in 6 months without causing much of a financial leak on your wallet.
You should also set yourself a target or financial goal to put these savings towards. It could be a new mobile, clothing or anything else that you need extra cash for right now to buy. Even better, every time you see something that you really want to buy but cant afford, write it on a piece of paper and put that into your piggy bank along with your $2 coins. You will then have a selection of things you can look forward to buying when you crack open the piggy bank. Most importantly though, having items like this in mind helps motivate you to continue to save.
Interestingly, what I've found through my own personal experience is that when it comes time to spend those savings, more often than not the items I thought I wanted/needed originally actually end up seeming less important. Also, as a result of the effort and patience that was required to put all that money aside, at the point of spending it I find myself being far less frivolous and putting in a lot more thought as to what I want to do with the money. This results in making better informed purchasing decisions, which helps reinforce my saving habits.
This one can be quite simple to implement, it only requires mental strength and willingness. I’ve heard of similar tactics where someone will try not to spend anything for months, besides on the bare minimum.
However, the less hardcore, post midday approach simply encourages that you not to spend money and will most likely have the greatest effect over the course of a year (e.g. not buying a morning coffee, break time snack, office vending machine items etc).
Goodbye Daily Coffee
Lets assume the average café coffee costs $3.75 for a regular takeaway. Providing that people work roughly 5 days a week for 48 weeks of the year, they would potentially spend $900 each year. That is also excluding the days you may buy 2-3 coffees…yikes!
Drinking coffee at home or taking coffee in to work within a flask can dramatically reduce your annual coffee expense. Doing so is effectively putting an additional $1,000 into your pocket every year.
No More Food and Drinks when out
Restaurants and cafes make money by charging us a premium for consuming outside of our homes. Wherever possible, limit yourself from temptation by ensuring you eat before you leave the house, take a snack or bottle of water with you in your bag/car or refrain from eating the first moment you feel hungry.
This little technique has the potential to save you the 300% markup you would roughly pay at cafes and restaurants. To put it more bluntly, imagine if I sold you a $2 coin for $6. It just doesn’t make financial sense, does it?
Stop Buying Music
If you buy music or video content from the likes of iTunes or Foxtel then this is an immediate hole in your finances that you can plug up. YouTube is free and if you really need to listen to music then why not use a free source? Movies and TV series are great to enjoy on an evening in and a new movie can really make a Sunday night. So try swapping with friends, revisiting the classics or checking out what’s on the Freeview channels. YouTube also has plenty of content you can watch as well.
If the above options only provide limited content, expand your options by potentially joining your local library to make use of their collection of movies and books, whilst also increasing the value of your monthly council costs.
One Declutter Per Day Keeps the Bank Account at Bay
This tactic might be a little harder to complete, but if you could aim to declutter your home by one item each day, then you could be in with a chance of having a tidier home, as well as some extra liquidity. Storing clutter is both messy and costly. Release the money from your unwanted items at pawnshops, second hand shops, online auction sites or through friends and family.
Once A Month
If you can implement a new saving strategy every month, by the end of the year you will have 12 small strategies that are all contributing to your overall money saving goals.
If you haven’t found everything you are looking for in this article, then here are a few other useful money saving articles that worth a read:
- The Illusion of Safety and How Expensive it can be
- Stress-test your Emergency Fund like You Would a Fire Drill
- These Are the Tricks Retailers Use to Make You Spend More Money
- If You’re Going to Eat Fast Food, Here’s How You save Money