Saving money is a difficult task especially when the cost of living is consistently rising in Australia. In an effort to save money, many people misunderstand the fundamentals of spending and try to taint all types of spending as negative in order to save more. We all need to spend money to survive, so don’t look at it as all bad, but rather define what's good and what’s bad.
To determine the best way to begin this new financial journey you must first analyse which purchases bring you the most satisfaction. Along with these spending habits you must also find out what the most painful spending points are. As you explore your spending habits, you can use the ‘Choose 3’ rule to make better spending decisions. It's a dead simple approach to freeing up extra cash giving you an easy way to start setting money aside.
Choose 3 Spending Pleasures
The way this technique works is by helping you spend more money on things that you do like, so saving money doesn’t become a life-sucking chore that feels like constant punishment. Start by listing three spending habits that give you the most satisfaction or happiness. This is a part that many saving sites don’t tell you, ‘it’s ok to spend money on the things that you enjoy.’
Below is an example of three spending habits a person may enjoy:
- Eating out (restaurants)
- Music (Spotify, Guitars, expensive headphones or speakers)
- A new mobile phone
A different example might be:
- Fashion clothing
- Visiting the cinema
- Kindle books
Take visiting the cinema as an example, because many of you will be able to relate to this. Entering that large dark room with the fresh smell of popcorn in the air and light murmurs of excitement as the movie is about to begin is a really enjoyable experience for many. Those few hours of enjoyment are something lots of us can enjoy, but cutting that out or our lives because it’s an expense takes the fun out of life and having money. However, over spending on these pleasures is a common issue, certainly when we’re younger, which is why getting into a good habit of rewarding yourself in moderation can be incredibly healthy for your wallet.
When you begin making new financial choices and changes to your spending habits, it’s important you remind yourself why you are saving and that’s to be able to afford the small luxuries we all wish to have more of.
The main reason for determining the three luxuries that you enjoy spending money on is so that you can slowly begin building your saving around these items. Cutting back on the spending of things that mean less to you can then be justified for aiding your efforts to buy the things you really want.
Choose 3 Spending Problems
Once you have been through and chosen the three spending pleasures you enjoy the most, it’s time to find three spending problems that you have. These are the three costs that keep dragging your budget through the dirt and sucking away at your chances of saving more money each month. Below are two examples of spending habits that one may have:
- Eating fast food
- Computer games
- Check out counter items
Another three examples might be as listed below:
- Expensive moisturisers
- High heel shoes
- Paid parking at the gym (rather than parking 2 minutes walk away for free)
The sooner you define what your spending problems are the quicker you can begin tackling them and trying to eradicate them from your monthly spending. These three things are what you should focus on minimising or eliminating during the first month to retain more money in your wallet. If you have more spending problems, that’s great, but begin by choosing three and then move on to more difficult problems further down the line.
Ultimately the main aim is to reduce the amount of money you spend on things that do not provide much enjoyment or satisfaction. In the process it will allow you to save more money and in essence facilitate the ability to spend more on the what you enjoy the most. Saving money can sometimes feel like a chore, but using the ‘Choose 3’ technique can allow you to eradicate unnecessary costs, increase your enjoyment and fine tune your saving so you have necessity expenses, pleasure expenses and only the odd problem expense.