Sound familiar? You just said it yesterday didn’t you? I know I’ve said this or thought this way more than the maximum allowance. Well, maybe I can help you out a bit. Keep reading to find out how!
After reflecting on the past year, I’ve come to the realisation that I’m actually not that bad at saving money. In saying that, I’ve (unavoidably) had a couple of spending sprees here and there, but for the majority, I’ve been able to responsibly handle my money and adequately prepare for the huge adventure that awaits me in Europe.
Now, I know for a fact that this is something that an undoubtedly tremendous number of people struggle with. Some have set up camp on Struggle Street and given up. Others have opted for getting out a loan and have decided to ‘deal’ with it later. But in all honesty, you are more than able to enjoy your life and not be a complete recluse while saving at the same time! You just need to make small changes – all the little changes really do add up! I’ve come up with a list of things that I’ve done over the past year especially, that I believe has significantly helped me save up the moola. No, my social life wasn’t in jeopardy – although I do admit that at the time, I thought it was – and IMHO no, I’m not a complete tight ass. If I can do it (cause we all know that I love eating out and sometimes that can be some serious damage to the pocket), then I don’t doubt for a second that you can too! Okay, so enough chitchat – here’s how I’ve done it:
- Have a ballpark figure at the back of your mind – from the very beginning I came up with a figure that I wanted to save. From then I roughly worked out how much I’d need to save on a regular basis to reach that figure. I engrained it into my mind. It was the backbone of my saving mission. Now of course, be realistic, and always have an allowance at the end. What I mean is, always have a buffer or safety net. For instance, if you want to save 10k in 1 year, work out how much you need to save in 11 months – or even 10 months – to allow for unexpected occurrences where you might not be able to work or have higher expenses due to birthdays or other events.
- Plan your day the night before – think ahead! What are you doing the next day? Work? or maybe Uni? If you know you’re going to be out for an extended period of time, pack food with you! If you prepare everything the night before, you don’t have to worry about it in the morning when you’ll most likely be rushing out the door. Even if you’re going to be out for a couple of hours, you’re going to get peckish – pack a snack or two!
- Never pay for water – buying a bottle of water here and there adds up. And why should you pay for that? I can confidently say that you have a plastic bottle somewhere in your house – use it.
- Have a set amount of your income that goes straight to your savings account – this could be an actual figure or maybe a certain percentage of your pay check if it varies from week to week. This ensures that a consistent amount of hard-earned cash is making it’s way to your savings, while some of it is left for your spending pleasure.
- No you don’t need another coffee – this is only going to be relevant to excessive coffee drinkers (me!), but really, you DON’T need ANOTHER coffee and no, you don’t need a LARGE. And if you do, think about your order and where you’re buying. I went to a specific café even if it wasn’t the most convenient, because they didn’t charge the extra $ for soy milk or an extra shot (a very rare find!). In saying that, I’ve even cut out the bullshit and opt for a Long Black if I’m in dire need of a caffeine hit.
- Cut down on make-up – calm down; relax. I don’t mean go out without a face on (although you can), but what I’m saying is you don’t need that much all the time, and you don’t need that brand all the time. Make-up is freaking expensive so you have to be mindful. Wear less foundation and make your supply last longer, don’t use your eyeliner everyday, or opt for cheaper alternatives at Priceline over the ever-tempting products you might find in the beauty department at Myer or David Jones. It’s only temporary (you can reclaim your loyalty after your trip)! And you might even find a product that suits your skin better than the big fancy brands (bonus!).
- Put off haircuts – you really could just go without. I have short hair so usually I’d need to have a haircut quite regularly to keep it maintained, but I’ve (albeit, unwillingly) come to terms with awkward and super-duper annoying hair lengths and keep telling myself, “just a few more weeks”. I can tell you right now, it’s been a lot longer than ‘a few weeks’.
- Have a set amount you are willing to spend when you go out – if you’re going out with friends, try and suggest cheaper places. If that fails (cause you have shitty fancy ass friends), have a geeze at the menu beforehand and have an idea of how much money you can afford to spend. No, you don’t need to get a drink with your meal; table water will do just fine and no, you don’t always need dessert (please don’t hate me for saying this). Don’t spend a cent more – simple.
- Have nights in, not nights out – don’t want to go out and spend? Tell your friends to come over instead and ask them to bring a dish each. Dinner sorted. You can rotate places. Watch a movie. Braid each other’s hair. Whatever – but stay in. More often than not you’ll have ingredients in your kitchen to whip something up, and if not, a couple of items from Woolies is always going to be cheaper than eating out.
- Think: “is this essential?” – you’re always going to be tempted to buy things (stupid media), but try and get into the habit of stopping to think, “Do I NEED this (now)?”. As you’re holding up a gorgeous polka-dot dress in front of you, look at it and think, “Is this necessary?”. Obviously the next thought should be, “No, I already have 3 polka-dot dresses at home”, and the end result is you walking away with $70.00 still in your wallet. But seriously – And if you can’t stop thinking about whatever it is, I can guarantee it will go on Sale (the only time/section you should ever shop for obvious reasons).
- Break the online browsing habit – you may not notice yourself even doing it, but you probably end up on online stores browsing page after page, checking if they have your size in something and end up having 10 tabs open. Snap out of it! Trust me, online shopping is one of the easiest ways to say goodbye to your money. I used always have tabs open and have packages arrive every week. Unsubscribe to their newsletter. Remove them from your favourites. Remove them from your life. Say goodbye to shipping fees and hello to higher savings!
- Always have a big breakfast at home – firstly, think of your health! Secondly, there really is no excuse for not doing this. By having a big breakfast at home everyday – preferably consisting of foods high in fiber, you’re not only saving money by not picking up a croissant on the way to work (that’ll be $4.50 thanks), but you’re also going to be full for longer by the time lunch comes along a.k.a. smaller lunch, cheaper meal.
I’m sure a lot of you already know or even do these things and of course there is an innumerable amount ways you can save an extra dollar here and there, but these are just some things that I did. Whether you’re saving up to travel, like me, or saving up to buy a car, there are always shortcuts and little cheats to saving – you just need to want it ($) hard enough. I hope this has inspired a few of you and has helped in some way! Buena suerte and happy saving!
Til my next post,
Besos para ti xx
p.s. I’d like to give a little shout-out to my mother dearest who is a complete whiz at budgeting and all things money related. Your wisdom and guidance has not gone unheard or unappreciated!