Isobel Williams helps you to get the most out of life – this week by going from spending to saving.
Was there a grain of truth in what uber demographer Bernard Salt said last month about we youngsters frittering away our money on cafe fripperies when we could be saving for a deposit on a new flat?
“I have seen young people order smashed avocado with crumbled feta on five-grain toasted bread at $22 a pop and more,” he wrote.
Hmmm, it’s a bit fuddy-duddy but he has a point. There will always be something to save for, whether it’s treating yourself to a killer pair of heels, or dinner out once a month, or saving up for that once-in-a-lifetime trip around the world.
So here are my top tips for making the most of your money and building up your savings so you are ready for anything.
- Shop smart and make the most of your fridge contents. It’s amazing how long you can avoid the food shops by just making an effort to use up everything in your fridge and cupboards. It can also save a lot of wastage which all costs money. When you do then go to the shops, make a shopping list (and stick to it) and try to only buy ingredients you know you’re going to use rather than buying something because it looks tempting.
- Borrow and share things with your friends, family and neighbours. If you want to watch a particular DVD, or read a certain book, ask around to see if you can borrow a copy from a friend before going out and buying a copy yourself. Chances are you will only read the book or watch the DVD once so it makes no sense to buy it if you can borrow it instead.
- Get to know your utility bills. It may be that you have a habit of leaving lights on or ignoring the leaky tap. It may just be that you tend to leave sockets switched on when they are not in use. However, all of this makes a difference to your utility bills. Take note of your bills at the end of one month, make an effort to turn off every tap, light, appliance, charger and socket when not in use and then compare your next bill to the previous one. You will be amazed at just how much of a difference this can make.
- Give home-made gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmases. Christmas especially can be an expensive time of the year for everyone, with many people suddenly finding their family seems to have tripled in size; but home-made gifts can save you a lot of money whilst also being greatly appreciated. Cookie packages, scented sugar scrubs and unique jewellery boxes are just a few super-simple home-made gift ideas which always go down well!
- Ditch the mall trips and learn to sew. Repairing holes in old clothes may seem a little Bogan, but in truth it can add a cute quirk and some personality to your clothes, as well as keeping your purse nice and fat. You may even find using brightly coloured cotton and messy stitches can turn your once-plain pair of jeans into a fashionable and chic item of clothing.
- Park the car and enjoy some exercise. When I had my car, the first thing I would look for was my car keys whenever I went anywhere. However, since selling my car I have realised that most of the time it is just as easy to walk or jump a bus, not to mention so much cheaper. I now look forward to my mornings sitting on the bus, with a cup of coffee and a good book, rather than stressing about the traffic – not to mention the health benefits of getting in a bit more exercise on a daily basis.
- Finally put some money away for a rainy day. This might seem a little obvious; however we usually don’t start thinking about saving money until we have a plan for spending it. By putting aside $5 or $10 from each pay check, you can ensure that you always have a bit of money sitting by for those times when you want or need it. My suggestion would be to put it into a separate bank account, or even go for an old-fashioned piggy bank, straight from your wages each week/month and don’t try and put aside too much at once. This way you don’t tend to miss it too much at the time but, by doing it regularly, you will notice your savings starting to soar!
Do you have any great money hacks I have missed? Sign in and leave a comment below with your best money saving tips!