Something you might not know about me is that I am a big time tight ass haha or to put a more positive spin on it – I really value the money I earn and I don’t waste it. I save around 70% of all my earnings every fortnight and put away it into a savings account. Sometimes I dig into my savings account but it usually for something from my ‘buying list’ – things that I really want/need and that I have put a lot of thought into obtaining (*cough* or for spontaneous trips to Europe…hehe *cough*).
Here are my top tips for saving money:
1. Work out where your money black holes are and make them smaller or get rid of them: Roughly calculating the amount you spend regularly on expenses in a fortnight or a month (work with your pay cycle) can be a good guide as to where you can cut spending. For me personally, my top 3 black holes include food, petrol and other expenses relating to getting to and from work (parking, road tolls). I am a sucker for fancy artisanal foods and pretty packaging and I used to waste a lot of money unnecessarily due to my fixation on those things. Now, I mainly focus on the price and nutrition when buying a food product. In the past my expenses weekly on grocery shopping were around $100AUD or more, now I spend less than $50AUD.
In the past, I spent a lot of money on a gym membership which I hardly utilised, so I got rid of that black hole. I actually wrote a blog post about quitting the gym if you want to check that out. To save money on my phone, I bought my phone handset outright and I have the cheapest possible phone plan with my preferred provider.
2. Commit to putting away X amount of dollars from every pay: I personally put away around 70% of my earnings every fortnight. Work out how much you can afford to put away while still paying for your normal expenses and having a little bit of play money and put it straight into a separate savings account when you are paid.
3. Work out your savings goal and put it somewhere you see regularly: I printed out a thermometer (like the ones you see for fundraising events), decorated it with some travel related things and put it on a pin board in my bedroom. I fill this in as I save more money and I think it is a good reminder for myself as to the reasons why I make particular sacrifices.
4. If it is an option – move back home with your parents: If I rented a property there is no way in hell I’d save anywhere near to what I am saving now. The cost of living in Melbourne is crazy and this is one of the ways I compensate for that. Fortunately, my parents are happy to have me and I consider myself extremely lucky to be able to live with them. Sometimes we drive each other nuts in this house but at the end of the day, the negatives are outweighed by the positives.
5.Work out what is important to you and spend your money accordingly: It is important to note: I don’t totally deprive myself of things that I want (don’t necessarily NEED). I have however evaluated what is important to me personally and I spend money accordingly. For example, I often choose to spend significantly more money driving all the way to work because my time is more valuable to me than money and therefore doubling my commute by taking the train (which I have to drive to FYI) is usually not worth it to me. I also occasionally spend money on camera gear because I am passionate about photography and I get very good use out of my camera and my camera gear.
6. When you do buy new non-essential products – think first: I very rarely buy any new non-essential products and when I do I think very long and hard about it. Before you buy something, consider: “Is this something I really need?” and “will this help me reach my goal/s?’. As mentioned earlier, I have a ‘buy list’ which I am slowly buying things in accordance to. If you really, really want something that is considered non-essential but it is important to you, work out how you can minimise the expense. You can do that by either 1. Shopping around, 2. Waiting for the product to go on sale and/or 3. Buying the product/s secondhand.
7. Opt for free or cheap leisure activities instead of expensive ones: In pursuit of saving money, I have admittedly become somewhat of a hermit. As aforementioned, the cost of living in Melbourne is very high, so I limit expensive activities such as going out for drinks, dining out or shopping for the sake of shopping (I never do this anymore). Watch Netflix instead of going to the movies, cook for yourself instead of dining out, go for a coffee instead of out for dinner with friends, utilise your local library (most libraries also have extensive online catalogues of FREE AUDIO BOOKS AND E-BOOKS – I am hooked at the moment) etc. The list goes on forever.
8. For saving inspo learn more about the minimalist movement: I have been learning a lot about minimalism over the past few months as I am striving to be more of a minimalist. I find that consuming more information about this in all different formats (books, documentaries, Youtube videos, blogs) helps to keep me inspired to break the cycle of excessive consumerism in my life. I encourage you to learn more about this, I personally find the movement to be quite inspirational and of course, beneficial to my savings account.
When you find the frugal life to be challenging, remember WHY you are doing it. I hope you have enjoyed this post and found it helpful. If you have any tips you’d like to share about saving money, please comment down below! I’d love to hear them :)!