BY SARA DE GREY
Feel like your not getting ahead with your finances? Take control and try these simple steps to saving some of your hard earned cash.
1. Do yourself a favour, eat at home
There is a reason this is number one on the list, it’s where you can save the most money. Food is a giant strain to your budget and people can often get carried away with how they are spending their hard earned cash on eating out rather than cooking at home. Yes, we all love the experience of going out to a nice restaurant, enjoying our delicious meal while someone caters to us. This is one of life’s luxuries, but it’s exactly that, a luxury. Cooking at home can be a great way to save your money, while getting a sense of fulfilment. It can be made fun, its just changing your mind-set. The biggest tip with this is planning your meals at the beginning of the week, that way you can get excited about what you are going to eat but more importantly, you will save money at the grocery store as you will know exactly what you’re buying and not overspend on items you don’t need. Make these meals fun and tasty but also inexpensive, there are awesome pages on social media that give you ideas for amazing meals on a budget. Also take the leftovers to work the next day, this will save you buying food at work.
2. Is this worth it?
Have you ever brought something and later though to yourself why did I buy this, I never use it. I bet we all have. This is where the “is it worth it” motto comes into play. Before buying anything, you should ask yourself ‘is it worth it’. Are these heels that are ridiculously uncomfortable and overpriced worth it, when I have 10 other pairs at home? Is this $7 ice coffee worth it when I can get free coffee at work? Is this $15 car wash worth it when I can wash my car at home? You could probably go without and your bank account would thank you. Not spending money on these
unnecessary items could save you a large chunk of money at the end of each month.
It is possible to live a luxurious life on a not so luxury budget. Eliminating life’s expensive luxuries can be very simple, plus you can still enjoy them just in a different way. Do you need that extra data each month for your phone? Do you need to pay to listen to music on expensive apps? Do you need to pay for that $25 eggs benedict at the cafe? The trick is, you can still have these luxuries in your life, just a less expensive version. Try downgrading your phone plan and miss out on that little bit of data, this will give you a chance to spend less time on your phone while saving money. Try listening to the radio instead of paying for music on apps, a good trick is to save 4 of your favourite stations so you can flick through channels when adverts come on. Invite friends round for eggs benedict, tell each friend to bring an ingredient, this is less than half the price than at a café and you get the company of your friends (bonus).
4. Money-less Weekends
This may seem daunting but it is very achievable. The concept is simple, don’t spend any money over the weekend. Weekends are usually when we like to treat ourselves and spend on things we don’t necessarily need, such as $100 shoes at the mall, $60 meal out for dinner, $20 bottle of wine. Try plan your weekend ahead of time and make the weekend free. Cook a meal at home with your significant other, go for a hike, go to the beach, visit family, read a book, have a movie marathon, spring clean the house, volunteer, have a garage sale, visit free attractions around your hometown (gardens, art galleries, one off events). You’d be surprised the amount of money you can save doing this and it can be made fun! Give it a go and see how great it feels seeing the amount of money you have leftover when your next pay comes through.
5. Turn off the lights
Last but definitely not least, this is the easiest of the lot. Turn off the lights and save yourself money! Power bills are a big expense that come through each month. By simply turning off lights in rooms you aren’t using, this can save you quite a bit of cash. You can take it the extra mile and stop using the dryer, put on more layers before turning on the heater, if you decide to turn on the heater close the doors and pull the curtains to only heat one room you are all in, turn off appliances at the wall, change incandescent light bulbs with energy efficient LEDs, reduce your shower time and try not to use heated towel rails. These are just a few mild things you can do around your house to save on that bill.
Thank your future self and try some of these simple ideas to save some cash today!