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From Little Things Big Things Grow

As the song says “from little things big things grow”. I kinda already knew it and I teach it in my classes every week, especially in relation to saving. However, it hit home last week when we rocked into the bank with this inconspicuous bucket of small change. Granted, it was heavy.  All silver, 20c, 10c and 5c only.  All the good coins had been spent a long, long time ago.

How much is this bucket of coins worth?

How much is this bucket of coins worth?

It doesn’t look like much does it?  How much do you think it was worth? On the way to the bank the hubster and I speculated about how much we thought it was worth. We both concluded that it would only probably add up to $20 or so. In our view $35 was the absolute max.  I was so confident in my prediction that I stupidly said to Miss Money that she could have the money to spend on school supplies as she embarks on her first year of primary school in a couple of days.

Into the coin machine they go......

Into the coin machine they go……

How wrong we all were!! As we poured the money into the counting machine it became abundantly clear that we were way off. In fact the 20c pieces in the green bag on their own were worth $40!!!!! We quickly passed $60, then $80, then the grand total……….

The grand total

The grand total!!!! $133.30!!!

Yep, you read it correctly, $133.30!!!!!!!!!! Insane!!!!! Who knew that a pile of small coins could be worth that much!!! Of course I had to do a mummy dodgy on the promise of school supplies and gave her $26 instead…… she was so excited by the process she didn’t even notice!!! Whew!!! So when saving seems too hard, why not start with those 5c and 10c pieces – they really add up!!!

Do you save small change? Have you ever been surprised by how much it turned out to be?

If you liked this post you might also like,

10 Easy Ways To Save Money

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30/01/2016 8 comments
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Unusual Ways To Save Money

As most of you know I have a part time job teaching social workers about money so they can then help their clients.  It is a fantastic job for someone like me who loves talking and writing about money!  I love teaching the course because every time without fail I learn something new from my class that I can then think about using in my life or share with you all.  What I find fascinating about personal finance is that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer or only one way to achieve a goal, there are different ways that suit different people.  Believe it or not some of the most diverse answers come when we talk about different ways to save money….. so here are some of the most unusual ones I have heard lately.

  1. Cold Hard!
    Yep – you read it correctly when I asked one of my classes the other day how they saved money one lady piped up and said “I have cold hard!”…. “er pardon” was my reply.  I certainly hadn’t heard that one before and my mind boggled as to what that could be!  As she went on to explain that she saves her money as soon as she gets paid putting a set amount of cash in a plastic zip lock bag and putting it in her freezer!!!!  Between the meat and the peas apparently!!!!  She also went on to explain that putting the money into her freezer means that she won’t touch it, whereas if it is in a bank account she will.  She has used this strategy to save for a solar hot water system and is currently saving for a cruise!!!  Obviously this one is not great if you get robbed and the robbers are hungry!!!  But still, I was impressed with her ingenuity!
  2. Coke bottle anyone?
    Apparently an empty 600ml bottle of Coke can hold close to $800 worth of coins, according to one guy from my class.  It is often touted on the internet to be $1,000 but my participants claim that is not true and it is more like $800 (what?! something on the internet that is not true!!!).  Being a closet Coke drinker I am keen to give this one a go myself.  I think it is a great way to save for Christmas!!!
  3. Don’t claim the tax free threshold
    When you get a job, you fill in a form which asks whether you want to claim the tax free threshold.  Australian residents for tax purposes are entitled to an $18,200 tax free threshold  If you select ‘no’ on the ATO form and don’t claim the tax free threshold, you are taxed on that first $18,200. It means you are paying tax on a sum of money, at your regular tax rate, even though you don’t need to.  As a result you will overpay tax and get a tax refund at the end of the financial year.
  4. Over-pay your rent
    This is another popular one especially to pay for Christmas.  Often paying more on your rent means you can have a month off at the end of the year to pay for Christmas.

Saving is a really individual thing, but when you get something that works for you – stick with it.

What is your unusual saving tip?

If you liked this post you might also like:

Home & Contents Insurance: How Do You Know If You Have Enough?

Should I Fix My Mortgage Rate?

How To Use An Offset Account To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

How To Make Your Savings Work Harder

 

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

24/07/2015 5 comments
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2015 Federal Budget

Despite being tamer than last year, the 2015 was a real mixed bag for families.  If all the measures pass the Senate some families will be better off others worse off.  So here are the 5 main proposed budget changes that you really need to know about.!

(1) If you have a child in childcare – there are big changes you need to know about.

From 1 July 2017, a new Jobs for Families childcare package is expected to come online and replace the Child Care Benefit and Child Care Rebate with a single child care subsidy.  This subsidy will be paid directly to child care providers, reducing upfront fees.

The government estimates that the changes will save working families $30 per week on average.  Families with an income of under $65,000 per year are guaranteed a minimum of 12 hours subsidised child care per week with 85% of their child care costs covered, up to an hourly cap. The subsidy gradually tapers to 50 per cent for families earning around $170,000 or more.  There will be no annual cap for families earning less than around $185,000.  Families earning around $185,000 or more will have a $10,000 annual cap on the total amount of assistance provided per child per year. This is $2,500 more than the current Child Care Rebate annual cap per child.

However, the catch is that the amount of subsidy that each family receives is going to be subject to an “activity test” that is tied to the amount of paid work, study or volunteering that the primary carer does.  The primary carer must perform a minimum of eight hours work or study per fortnight to receive any child care support.  The more hours worked the higher the subsidy will be.

Given the above “activity” test the big losers from this reform are families with a stay at home parent.  If their family income is between $65,000 to $170,000 per year income bracket will lose the Child Care Benefit that they are currently entitled to, with no compensation under the new system. These families will have to pay the full cost of child care without any government subsidy

(2) There will be a limited nanny trial

If you have a combined income of less than $250,000 and find it difficult to access mainstream childcare services – because you would shift work, or are in a rural or remote area or are a parent of a child with special needs – you will be eligible to use your childcare subsidies on in-home nannies. Payments will be paid directly to the childcare provider.

(3) If you receive Family Tax Benefit payments there are several changes you need to know…

As of July 1, families where one parent earns more than $100,000 will no longer be eligible for Family Tax Benefit B.   This is one of the few changes from last year’s budget that has actually passed the Senate.

However, to fund the new childcare measures the government is looking to enact some other changes including:

  • Restricting the Family Tax Benefit B to families with children under six.  To help single-parent families receiving Family Tax Benefit A and no longer eligible for Family Tax Benefit B there will be an additional annual payment of $750 for each child aged between six and 12.
  • Freezing the indexation on both the Family Tax Benefit A and B for two years ie. the benefit won’t go up with inflation.
  • Also the large family supplement which is paid to those with 4 or more children will be cancelled.

(4) If you’re planning to have a baby… you could be worse off than under the current system.

If you receive paid parental leave through your employer you will no longer be eligible to receive the government funded scheme which is worth a maximum of $11,538.90.

(5) If you run a small business you could be a big beneficiary.

The government has announced a $20,000 limit for immediate asset write-offs for small businesses with annual turnover less than $2 million from 1 July 2015.

Lots of these measures will have to pass the hostile senate and as we know now, lots of the things that were announced in last year’s budget simply did not make it through.  So, what the budget actually means for families could be completely different story when the political process is finished, so I will let you know how actually things go!!!

If you liked this you might also like:

Simple Savings Ideas That Absolutely Everyone Can Use

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You Are A Parent

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

 

 

21/05/2015 7 comments
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I really enjoy blogging.  Not only does it give me the ability to interact and share my knowledge with my incredible readers (yes, you!!), it also at times throws up at times some pretty amazing opportunities. A couple of weeks ago one of these astounding opportunities hit my email inbox. It was an email from Holly Wainwright Editor of Mamamia!!! Yes the Mamamia, Australia’s premier website for women!!! Holly said that she had read my blog and was wondering if I would be interested in joining her and Andrew Daddo discuss pocket money on Mamamia’s popular parenting podcast “This Glorious Mess”.

“YES!!!” was my swift response!! Let’s face it, no one wants to reject the opportunity to be in the same room as a Daddo!!! 🙂  So before I knew it I found myself in a recording studio chatting pocket money with Holly and Andrew!!! It was an amazing experience.  I was super nervous and it was waaaaaayyyyyyyyy out of my comfort zone but Holly and Andrew made it heaps of fun!

So without further ado here is episode 6 of the pod cast of “This Glorious Mess” with Holly Wainwright, Andrew Daddo and myself talking pocket money!!! (I am in the middle after their chat about Mothers day 🙂

Click here to hear me on “This Glorious Mess” talking pocket money.

Oh and the pic above is the obligatory selfie of the three of us in the studio!

Have a great day!

 

Shelley

If you liked this you might also like:

Simple Savings Ideas That Absolutely Everyone Can Use

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You Are A Parent

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

10/05/2015 6 comments
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Interest rate cut

So this week the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates by 25 basis points to new all time lows of 2.00%. Wooohooooo!!!! This is great news for those of us with mortgages. Provided the banks pass on the full cut, it is expected that the 25bp cut would save around $45 per month on a home loan of $300,000. So the big question is what should you do with the extra cash that you will have post the cut?

  1. Spend it
    This is one option and it is certainly what the Reserve Bank (RBA) would like us all to do. The whole reason the RBA are cutting rates to put more money in our pockets so we will spend it. This helps the economy as roughly 70% of the economy is consumption – you and me spending. The more we spend (up to a certain point) the better the economy goes.
  2. Pay off other debts
    If you have other debts that have high interest rates like credit cards or personal loans then it pays to get rid of these debts as fast as you can. Putting the extra money you gain from the interest rate cut onto your credit card could save you 20% or more (depending on your interest rate) on each $1 of debt paid off, a great return!
  3. Keep your mortgage repayments the same and pay off your mortgage faster
    The benefit of doing this is that not only do you pay off your mortgage faster but when interest rates eventually rise you will be protected as you are already paying off a higher rate anyway. In order for this strategy to work you need to be already managing ok with your mortgage repayment at the higher previous level.
  4. Put the extra into your emergency fund
    An emergency fund helps to deal with any bumps in the road that life might bring like losing your job or unexpected expenses. You should aim to have at least six months of expenses saved. Adding to your emergency fund always helps to build that buffer for when the unexpected occurs.
  5. Consider putting extra money into your superannuation
    Lot’s of factors are important when deciding whether add money to your superannuation. Make sure you get some good financial advice, specific to your circumstances.

So of all the options outlined above Mr Money and I have decided to keep our mortgage repayments the same and reduce our mortgage even faster. Actually, we have decided to do this for this cut and the previous one. I guesstimate (using a mortgage calculator ) that just by keeping our repayments the same amount as prior to the last two cuts we cut around 2 years and 11 months off our mortgage and save us around $20,000 in interest over the life of the loan if interest rates stay at this level. Whoooppppeee!!!

What have you decided to do with your mortgage rate cut?

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Should I Fix My Mortgage?

How Much Your Credit Card Debt Is Really Costing You

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

05/05/2015 5 comments
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Living On One Income

We have spent big chunks of the last four years since our daughter was born living on one income.  Some of it was voluntarily, like the twelve months maternity leave I took after she was born.  Some of it was involuntary, like the two redundancies that followed soon after that: one for me, then once I got a part time job; one for my hubby!  Go figure!  I joke that we are not meant to have two incomes in our household, or so it seems!  Living on one income can be tough.  Really hard given the cost of living in Australia is so high and the cost of housing, well don’t get me started on that one.  However, living on one income can be done, and here are some tips to help you through.

Check out what Centrelink benefits you qualify for

Going from two incomes to one income, could mean that you might qualify for more assistance from the government than you could access previously. When my husband was made redundant and with me only working three days a week, we all of a sudden qualified for the Family Tax benefit A & B and the Childcare benefit (the means tested one).  Check out the Centrelink payment finder here, which will give you some guidance as to what centrelink payments you might qualify for.  Getting these extra payments have definitely helped.

Create a budget

If you haven’t done one, click here and see how to. Making one income stretch further is a lot easier if you use a budget.  Some people see a budget as something terrible, akin to a diet.  I prefer to think of it as a spending plan, making sure each dollar goes to our highest priorities and makes sure we get the best value for every dollar we spend.  I use the awesome free budget planner from the MoneySmart website.  Click here to check it out.

Check your spending leaks

Checking your spending leaks can also help you identify places where you can easily save money. All you have to do is to think of two things that you spend money on regularly, be it daily, weekly or monthly.  It could be a daily takeaway coffee, or weekly takeaway or monthly magazine subscriptions.  Next add up how much one of these things cost you over a month, then a year.  Now, think about how you could do that spending differently – be it bringing your lunch to work or cutting down from a large coffee to a smaller one, or buying from a cheaper supplier.  Remember, doing things differently does not have to mean that you cut things out entirely, unless you are highly motivated to do so!!  🙂 See how much this new way of doing things would cost you over a month and then a year.  Now, all you have to do is look at the difference between the two figures, how much it cost you per year using your old way versus the cost of the new way.  This is how much you could save by changing your spending behavior.  In my case I calculated I could save $2,184 simply by bringing my lunch to work and making my own hot chocolate in the office.  A huge figure, especially given I only work 3 days per week!

Meal Plan

Before the hubster was made redundant I used to meal plan for the week. So sit down usually on a Saturday and figure out everything we needed for a week of meals, create a list and purchase it all on the Sunday.  It was fab because I knew what we were having on each day and already had the ingredients ready to roll.  It prevented any random trips to the shops where I might bring home a few extras, shall we say.  At the moment our system is a bit out of whack.  My hubby does the meal plans for the 3 days I am at work (I don’t want to get in the way of him making dinner :-)) and I do the rest.  It still works fine and overall substantially cuts our food bill by at a guess at least 20%.

Compare, compare, compare….

On all your major expenses do a ring around or use online comparison sites to make sure you are getting the best deal. From your insurance to your telephone bill and everything in between make sure that you have got the best service to meet the needs of your family at the best available price.  I try to do the ring around once a year on all my services to make sure I am getting the best deal, and it can really make a big difference to your budget.  For example, by changing electricity provider I have saved $400 off my winter electricity bill, absolutely worth the two hours of leg-work it took for me to figure it all out.

Living on one income is difficult but it is achievable.  I hope my tips will make it easier for you and your family.

What are your tips for living on a single income?

If you liked this post you might also like

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If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances

 

 

23/04/2015 15 comments
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How to save

Our first post for 2015 is from the lovely Larissa from Hey Little Spender. Today she is sharing with us how she saved $93 per month in 15 minutes! Take it away Larissa!!

I know I should love this stuff, being a savings blogger and all that, but I’ve been procrastinating big-time on sorting out my two home loans.

They are the biggest investments I’ve ever made, and I worked and saved bloody hard to buy them.

However, strangely enough, finding a better deal on those loans doesn’t grab me the same way as, say, finding cheap movie tickets or saving money on holding a dinner party!!

What am I paying this much for?!

I know the rates are way too high at the moment, after coming off the end of a special rate which finished some time back. However beyond paying a quick visit to a mortgage broker, I’ve done nothing to fix the situation.

It’s all a little confusing – mostly because I am thinking about selling one of the places early next year and buying a new one closer to the city. And I didn’t know whether I could do anything to reduce the rates in the meantime while I went through the whole selling process, which is likely to take a while.

Plus I’ve never sold a house before, so the thought of doing that also terrifies me a little!

However today I took the bull by the horns, and decided that it was really time to stop wasting my money and get this thing sorted out – especially because I’ll need every penny if I plan to buy a new place.

I decided to take a little inspiration from my mate Jeremy, who often calls his bank to wrangle the best rate on his mortgage – read his tips here.

Comparing loans

I thought I’d better go in with at least a little bit of firepower, so I did a quick search on comparison website Canstar, and found the cheapest rate going. I didn’t look into the specifics too much (OK, at all) I admit, but thought I’d better have at least a ballpark interest rate up my sleeve to present to the bank.

Make me an offer, or I’m gonna leave

So with the lowest interest rate I could find written down, I gave the bank’s mortgage people a buzz to see what they could do, noting that unfortunately I would have to leave unless I got a discount.

They said they’d get back to me in 5-10 working days (arrghhh), but in the end it only took a few hours for a return phone call.

What they offered

My interest rates were at 5.44% – way too high for Australia I know.

One option was to take out a two-year fixed interest loan on the investment property I’ll be keeping (which would have been a 4.79% interest rate plus an $8 monthly fee). However it seemed a bit premature to agree to that on the spot.

Also, to complicate things further, because I bought the investment property using equity from the place I’m planning to sell, I’ll have to stick some of the sale proceeds on the investment property to keep the bank happy.

That will mean the loan amount is likely to change. Still with me?

Temporary fix

The other, more temporary option was to just change both properties to a 5.2% variable, no fee interest rate for now while I sorted out everything else to do with selling.

What I saved

To my surprise, I was able to change to the 5.2% over the phone – without even signing a form – and my online bank account confirmed that this had been done immediately.

On one property that means a monthly saving of $63, and for the smaller loan it’s a $30 saving.

I know I’m going to have to shop around again for a better rate once I buy a new place – if I decide to go ahead with that option – but from January, that’s $93 extra in my bank account each month. And it only took 15 minutes.

That saving will come in super handy as I squirrel away my pennies to buy a new place.

So there you go. I could kick myself that I didn’t do it earlier!

What have you done to find a lower interest rate? Share your tips here.

If you would like to get more great tips from Larissa, visit her at Hey Little Spender here or on facebook here.  This post was republished with full permission.

If you liked this you might also like:

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

08/01/2015 0 comment
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5 Easy Way To Sort Out Your Finances 2015

I cannot believe 2014 has flown by so fast!!!  It feels like one minute it was January, then June, then for me November and December have just rolled into one!!!  Given 2015 is approaching fast, here are some easy ways you can sort out your finances in time for the new year!

1) Do a budget

Oh! I hear you groan. Don’t worry, I understand!  But the truth is that a budget does not have to be a complicated scary beast and it is the BEST way to keep control of your finances.  I used the MoneySmart website’s free budget planner and it was dead easy to get my budget done.  If you want to check out the planner click here, or if you want to read about how I did my budget click here.

2) Boost your income

There are lots of ways to boost your income but one of my faves is making sure I am getting all my entitlements from the government.  For this I use the Centrelink Payment Finder – it is fast and alerts me to payments that I might be eligible for.  Also I like to do an unclaimed money search.  It takes all of 20 seconds and is completely free. Potentially it could find you any lost bank accounts, shares or life insurance policies that you might have forgotten about.  My boss found $2000 in lost super by doing this search so it is definitely worth trying it.

3) Consolidate your super

Don’t feel bad if you have more than one super account, pretty much everyone does.  Apparently there are roughly 3 superannuation accounts for every working Australian! So you are not the only one!  Consolidating is way easier than you think, just go to the Australian Tax Office’s SuperSeeker site and you will be able to consolidate your accounts online.  No paper involved!!!  So look into consolidating your accounts, it is easy, free, and it will save you on fees. That means more money for your retirement.

4) Revisit your insurance

Revisit your policies:  do you have enough insurance?  Have your circumstances changed?  Are you getting the best deal for you and your family?  Insurance is not just a case of ‘set and forget’. Things change and when the worst happens and you really need it, you want to be sure that you are covered.

5) Set yourself a 2015 savings goal and work towards it

Whether it is a family holiday, paying off debt, or presents for the kids, set yourself a goal and use 2015 to work towards it.  Click here if you would like some ideas on how to save and here to see how to set a goal and work towards it.  Remember, it is the small things that count, so use the New Year as a fresh start and you will be amazed what you can achieve.

As 2015 approaches it is a great time to think about your financial future and get your financial life in order.  This will be my last post for 2014 before taking some time off to be with my family.  Thank you for reading my posts, your support is greatly appreciated.  I wish you and your family a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Year and I will catch you all some time in January 2015!

Shelley

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How Much Your Credit Card Debt Is Really Costing You

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

21/12/2014 6 comments
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Ways To Save Money

As most of you know my day job is to teach social workers about money so that they can then help their clients with their financial issues.  A big part of the course is exchanging ideas on ways to save money.  I love to hear everyone’s tips for saving money and it is one of my most favourite parts of the course.  So, given I have heard heaps of ways to save money, I decided to compile all the best ones into this list.  I am not suggesting you do all of the things on the list, but take a look and use the ideas that make sense to you.

  • Use a separate bank account that is hard to access.
  • Direct debit a set amount into your savings account as soon as you get paid.
  • Get your employer to directly put part of your pay into your hard to access savings account so you never see it.
  • Never spend a gold coin. As soon as you get one put it into a money box that you need to a can opener to open. This really adds up over a year.
  • Never spend a $5 note. Again put it into a money box that you need a can opener to open and be surprised how much it adds up to by the end of the year.
  • The night before you get paid clear out all the notes from your wallet and put them in a money box.
  • When you get paid put any excess money you have left in your account directly into your savings account.
  • If you use the internet to access your savings account try changing the password to your savings goal – such as “Holiday to Thailand” or “House deposit” so that every time you access the account you are reminded as to why you are saving the money in the first place.
  • Check your spending leaks. A spending leak is something that you do regularly which you could do differently to save money.  For example, on in my case I calculated I could save $2,184 per year simply by bringing my lunch to work and making my own hot chocolate in the office.  A huge figure, especially given I only work 3 days per week!!  To find out more click
  • Track your spending by either writing all your spending down on a piece of paper or using MoneySmarts free TrackMySpend app. This will let you know where your money is going and indicate places where you can cut costs.
  • Buy vouchers with excess cash in your wallet when you are at the supermarket. Stash them somewhere safe and see how they add up over a year. Just watch the expiry dates.
  • Shop from your cupboard and spend only $21 for the week on groceries. If you are anything like me then you have enough food in your cupboards to last quite some time!! Sometimes I think I am a ‘doomsday prepper’, without the weapons or the underground shelter, but on the food front we will be fine in an emergency!!! Shopping from your cupboard means you make recipes for a week from what you already have then use a small amount of money, say $21, to by the extras you require.  Then you put any money that you would have spent for the week on groceries into your savings account or money box.
  • Sell things and put the money directly into your savings account. I recently raised $440 buying selling clothes and toys that my daughter no longer used. It was really easy!  To read more about it please click here.
  • Stash any windfalls you might have into a hard to access savings account before you have a chance to spend it! Maybe your tax refund?
  • Pay excess on your mortgage, if you have one, then use a redraw to get it back if you need it. This will not only save you interest on your loan but shave years off your mortgage, meaning you will be owning your own home sooner.

There are heaps of different ways to save money.  You might think these are just little things but I promise you it is these little things that make the difference.  I had a single mum in my class who saved every $5 note over a year and took her kids on a ski weekend with $840 in $5 notes.  So give the tips that you think suit you a try and you might be surprised how much you have by the end of 2015!!

If you liked this you might also like:

Simple Savings Ideas That Absolutely Everyone Can Use

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You Are A Parent

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

11/12/2014 17 comments
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How To Raise Extra Cash For Christmas

Freaky!  How fast has this year flown!!  I cannot believe it is already the first week of November and it is only 7 weeks until Christmas!!!  Yowsers!!!  So given the time pressure lately I have been putting a lot of thought into how to raise some extra cash to help pay for our Christmas.  Not that our Christmas is particularly elaborate, usually it is a pretty simple roast chicken lunch at my house for my mum, sister, hubby, daughter and myself.  We try to keep Christmas simple and low key.  No pressure.

However, this year Miss Money is hankering after a Barbie Dream House and with $270 being the best price I can find on the internet, it is a big chunk of the Christmas budget.  Given I have fond memories of my 1970s/early 80s Barbie Townhouse I would really like to get it for her.  Also on the Christmas shopping list is a GPS.  Let us just say the one place Mr Money and I fight is in the car, usually over directions and one of us not following them.  Hopefully a GPS will resolve this problem, so this is the Christmas gift we want to buy for the whole family and any poor bugger that has to be trapped in the car with us 🙂  So with a quite expensive shopping list, this year I set about looking to raise some extra cash for Christmas, and this is how I did it.

(1) Converting Our Frequent Flyers – $350 raised

As part of our strategy to pay off our mortgage faster using our offset account (read about it here), we use out credit cards a lot, always paying off the balance in full :-).  This means we had accumulated a fair few frequent flyer points (53,736 this year to be precise).  Now if you follow the advice of all the frequent flyer gurus they say that points are best used for flight upgrades, however, we would have to save points for an age to be able to do that plus who wants to take a four year old in business class?  Not me!  So every year we choose to redeem our points in vouchers to help pay for Christmas.  So this year we got 2 $100 JB HiFi vouchers which has paid for our marriage-saving GPS!  And an extra $150 in Woolworths vouchers to help pay for the Christmas food bill.  The cool thing is now with some of the vouchers, such as JB HiFi, they email them to you direct the same day!  No more waiting!   Yay!!!  Vouchers might not be the most value way to use your points but they certainly work for us.

(2) Selling Things That We No Longer Needed – $440 raised

From a balance bike that was only ridden once, to Xbox games to kids clothes, below is a picture of only some of the things that I have sold and are no longer a part of my house.

 

How To Raise Money For Christmas

Here are just some of the things I have sold… yay!

I sold them all on a local parents facebook group for free!  It was so easy I just uploaded the photos, gave each item a price, told them which suburb to pick it up from and hey presto I converted a tonne of stuff we no longer needed or wanted into cash!  Sure it took a bit of effort but it was very worthwhile.  The $440 raised pays for the $270 Barbie Dreamhouse and maybe Santa might even bring her a most revered Elsa doll as well!  Not to mention after cleaning out all that stuff I have some space in my cupboards and can actually see what I own!!!  Win-win! Besides, who keeps a portacot when they have a four year old? – Oh that would be me! – But not anymore it was sold for $40 – yay!

(3) Checking My Spending Leaks – $120 raised so far

The last 4 weeks I have been focusing on my spending leaks.  A spending leak is something you spend money on regularly that you could do differently to save money.  So in my case I used to buy my lunch and a hot chocolate the 3 days I work per week (sorry, I don’t drink coffee – crazy, I know).  So I calculated this one habit was costing me approximately $15 per day or $45 per working week.  Over the past 4 weeks I have been bringing my lunch to work at say $5 per day and drinking the free tea at work.  That has saved me approximately $120 over the last four weeks and I hope to at least double that by Christmas.  Such a simple change has been a great savings tool for me.  It is amazing how making small, simple changes can really add up.

So that is how Christmas in the Money household will be paid for.  Any excess cash will be used on maybe a few small extra festivities leading up to Christmas, but certainly not a photo with Santa as my daughter is terrified of him!!  Good luck on your Christmas savings journey.  It pays to start thinking about it now as before you know it Christmas day will be here 🙂

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06/11/2014 22 comments
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