Ok, here is a confession. I am not very good at sticking to a strict budget. For me, it’s like being on a soup diet, it is just not possible! However, on my journey from being a spender to a saver I have learnt several tips that have helped my bank balance to grow. Most of them are small things but the best part is that instead of being a chore or a punishment they have simply become a part of the way I live my life.
So today I would like to share them with you:
- I always write a shopping list and stick to it. Supermarkets are the land of temptation. They are deliberately designed that way. Where and how each product is placed is planned to get you to spend more. They call it the “theatre” of the shopping experience. Have you ever wondered why the milk is always on the back wall of the store, furthest from the door? It is so you have to walk through the whole store to get to this one essential item, hopefully picking up a few unintended purchases on the way. I find a shopping list helps to keep me focussed on the task at hand.
- At the supermarket, compare products on a per unit basis. The shelf pricing sticker for each product shows how much the product is on a per unit basis (per 100g or per litre etc). I sometimes find that the largest size does not represent the best value on a per unit basis, especially if the smaller version is on sale. This method also gives you a common basis to assesses whether the branded good is worth it versus the “home” brand, without having to worry about different package sizes.
- I have a $100 single purchase spending limit. This means that anything I want to buy that has a price tag of over $100 (you can pick the number that suits you), I have to wait until the next day to buy it. Let’s just say it helps slow down my spending and gets me out of the shop environment where I can think more clearly. It is surprising how many times I have decided with the clarity of time that I don’t need to go back and purchase something.
- Embrace the hand-me-down and buy second-hand! I am so grateful to have a wonderful friend who has given me loads of hand-me-downs, anything from clothes to toys and bedding. She gets great joy in seeing her children’s things having a second/third life and it has saved me a fortune. I am continuing the tradition by handing Miss Money’s clothes etc on to someone else.
- Buy an Entertainment Book and use coupons when you can. Ok I realise that it is a complete oxymoron to tell you to buy something to save money! (Though I have tried using this argument on my husband!) However, there are great savings to be had using this book of coupons and part of the proceeds raised from the sale of the book go help great causes such as hospitals and charities. Back in our pre-children days, my husband and I used to be regular users of “fine dining” section of the book. Now, it is all about the coupons at the back. So far we have used the vouchers to get 25% off our local pizza, 25% of Adult entry to the zoo and buy one get one free ice cream. It doesn’t take long for the savings to add up, even after accounting for the cost of the book. If you are interested in checking it out click here.
- Hook into your local networks to find ways to entertain your children for free. Check out your local council’s website for free activities for children, especially during the school holidays. There are also websites such as Kid Size Living that tell you of free activities going on in your area.
- Turn off the lights and don’t leave electrical goods on standby. It’s an oldie but a goodie and such a simple way to save money.
- Avoid fees where possible. This includes things like fees for using another bank’s ATM, or fees for using your credit card. I have an ATM finder app on my phone which directs me to the closest ATM for my bank. I also do my best to avoid parking and all other fines as I see them as a big fat waste of money.
- Pay off your credit card. Running a balance on your credit card and not paying it off every month is costing you cash. Cut it up and pay it down. Click here to see my tips on how to do so.
- Make your savings work harder. Making sure you have the best account possible for your savings is another easy way to move towards your savings goals. This means an account with low or no fees and the best interest rate possible for your timeframe/goals. Great places to compare accounts include Canstar and Money Buddy.
I hope you found my tips useful!
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* Please note this is for your general information only and does not constitute financial advice.