I hate to admit it, but I like saving money. I like it so much that when I had a savings account that accrued interest daily I would log on to my netbank just to have a look at the figure rising up and up. I like it so much that I would confidently put ‘money saver’ on a list of hobbies, or sit on the couch on a weeknight after work and write a blog post on money saving tips for travel or anything you need it be, really.
I would like to say it comes from the great feeling of being self sufficient and knowing I have backup money incase my entire world turns to sh*t, but so far my favourite feeling has been walking into a new car shop looking like your average poor twenty something and having the assumption made that I will need to finance and then proudly saying “oh no, I’ll be making a cash payment.” The end of that story was me not wanting to part with my money and buying a second hand car for half the price (which I still have 7 years later) but thats beside the point.
And lets not forget the time where I planned a four month around the world solo adventure when I was 25, barely worried about the cost, and then paid the whole thing in cash. Yup, that’s right.. the title of this blog post is true (bet you thought it was clickbait, huh)
Anyway, I thought I would put together a few savings tips that I have learnt along the way. Some are from when I was in my twenties, and others I’ve discovered since becoming what some people refer to as an ‘adult’, but I like to call an ‘experienced child’.
Take your own lunch to work
Yeah, yeah, yeahhh we’ve all heard this one before, I know!!! BUTTTT it actually works for a few different reasons. Mainly because it’s cheaper, but it’s also a stress reliever. I either make new food or take leftovers, but being organised the night before and knowing that you don’t have to spend half your lunch break thinking “what do I feel like today” is so amazing. It’s one less decision that’s bombarding the busiest part of your day.
And while you’re at it, make your own coffee/hot chocolate
I’m not a coffee drinker but I love hot chocolate. I speak from experience that when you’re in a low paying job and you’re buying a $4 hot chocolate everyday.. and sometimes $4.50 banana bread to go with it (because it looked amazing in the display) this all starts to add up. If you buy some swanky coffee and make it at work that’s still going to save you a tonne of money.
Never.. I repeat, Never buy clothes and makeup if it’s not on sale
This goes for most things really. Never buy a luxury item unless it is on sale, not unless it’s so ridiculously urgent!! If you’re paying full price then you’re giving away good money for free. I look at a sale as a business showing you potentially how much money they mark up an item, which is fine, they have to make money too, but why should I pay full price when I can wait however many weeks and pay 20% less at a sale. Also, look for promo codes for everything. Sign up for stupid newsletters and unsubscribe next week. Any saving is a good saving.
Set aside some No Guilt play money.
This is actually something I learnt more recently. I think it’s a side effect of being so strict with myself for so long that I forgot how to spend money without feeling guilty. I was so engrossed in saving money for a house deposit/some form of epic travel adventure that I stopped going to the movies, I stopped going out to dinner, and as a result spent less time with my friends. Yes, I guess it did work for me, but I lost a few friends by doing it. That’s why I’m not going to tell you to do the same, but I’m going to adapt something I learnt from my new favourite finance book The Barefoot Investor and that is to have a ‘splurge’ account or budget. Having savings doesn’t need to be the result of punishing yourself!! Spend that money, and bloody enjoy doing it!
Shop Around- for anything and everything
I shop around for most things now. I recently called my home insurance company when my policy was due to be renewed and they gave me a discount without even asking for it. I saved like $100. How amazing is that. That’s proof that calling up before you pay your bills is actually worth it. I also just spoke to someone about my mortgage rate and they dropped it by 0.15%. I wasn’t rude about it, It’s just been 4 years since we got the mortgage so when they called for a health check I asked them to look at the rate to see if I still had the best one.
I even shop around on my groceries. This sounds nerdy and time consuming, but it’s actually not. I recently started looking at both Coles and Woolworths catalogues and checking to see what is on sale at each store. Firstly it helps me pick what meals we’re having for the week (bonus tip, having a dinner plan cuts down my undying need for takeaway when I’m hangry after work) but it also saves me money. I’ve saved so much by doing a quick visit to both shops.
Shop at different places
I’ll admit that in the past I’ve been known to be a little bit snooty about where I buy my clothes from, but I’m pleased to say that if you let that go and worry more about the clothes themselves rather than which shop they came from you can get some great deals. I recently went to a shop that I thought was for 18 year olds came out with 5 tops and a jacket all suitable for work, and all under $100 total. What the…?!!!
Switch it up.
Last week instead of going to the movies Jerome and I got takeaway, sat in front of the fire with the dog and rented a movie on the Playstation Store. I still got what I wanted- food and a movie, but I paid less for it. And I also didn’t have to worry about falling asleep half way through because I’d been on early shifts that week and I could barely keep my eyes open past 9pm.
If you can’t see it, you can’t spend it.
For me, I wanted to see every cent that I was saving at all times, but for some people that’s a temptation. I found this quite good when we got our mortgage. Our mortgage is with a different bank and the money just gets taken automatically each fortnight. For starters I can’t see the depressingly large debt that I’ve got, but also when I do have a look at it separately I’m pleasantly surprised by the number slowly decreasing. The same goes for a savings account. Just get that money over there and don’t look at it for as long as you can.
Get a credit card with a points program.
OOOH this is controversial isn’t it. This could even be a post in itself. The first thing I will say about this option is that you need to be smart and you need to be in control! When I was 18-19 years old my bank had a credit card that earned reward points and because I was a student I also didn’t pay an annual fee (this has changed now, it’s either one or the other) but that meant I was literally getting points for absolutely nothing. I kept my credit card limit small so I couldn’t go overboard, but I started paying everything on it. I would transfer money straight into it and pay my bills etc. Everything went through this card. Its something I still do now.
Now that I work for an airline, seeing people with millions of frequent flyer points/miles who haven’t set foot on a plane to earn them is magical. People run their businesses through their credit cards and take advantage of credit card promotions to earn points and then redeem them for first class flight tickets. Ridiculous!!
Well there you have it. Turns out I could go on and on about saving money for hours so apologies if this got ridiculously boring. I really hope it helps though.
Are there any tips that you love to use for saving money? I’d love to hear about them!!