Spending less and saving more -General Tips
Looking at how much I earned last year I have realized again how easy it is to spend all your money (and then some!).
An extra 30% that you can’t pay off your credit card might take 2+ months to repay
If you went a bit overboard on your credit card (easy to do – particularly at Christmas) – if could easily take you 2 months to repay your credit card
For example if you usually have $1,250 to pay off your credit card, and you have $2,250 this month (an extra $1,000) – the extra $1,000 might take 3 months or longer to pay off because you will have to find this extra $1,000 above your current spending (unless you reduce your spending).
Large debts call for drastic measures
If you realise that your credit card debt will take you more than 2 months to repay then you might decide you need to cut down on your spending.
Cut out the waste
Hopefully with these tips – you can cut back a few things you waste money on, so you can spend it on something you really want (or save it towards a worthwhile goal). And what you cut depends entirely on you – one of the executives at our work Robyn loves her 3pm coffee so she would probably still choose to keep the daily chat with your barista, but reduce spending on other items like her clothes, while someone else would do the opposite.
Below are a few general thoughts about spending less so that you can pay off that credit card.
Tips for spending less
- Think ahead and be prepared
By thinking ahead about what your needs or wants are – you might be able to think of cheaper ways to get there.
- Bring your lunch to work.
You don’t have to bring sandwiches (like your mum made you in primary school) either – just cook extra dinner to take leftovers the next day.
- Going out where the food is really expensive? (skiing, a stadium, etc) – Eat beforehand to avoid the high cost of food.
Borderline tip…when friends want to go to a restaurant and you don’t have the cash? Eat beforehand then say you already ate.
Shop out of season or at the end of season for cheaper deals.
- Shop at times of sales (Christmas sales, Middle of year sales)
- Keep an eye out for good deals in catalogues
- Fill your car up when petrol is cheap, or just fill $5-10 when petrol is more expensive and you need to fill up.
- Don’t be tempted by service station food and drink deals – that $5 you spend in store might save you 50c off your petrol bill, but did you really need the snack? Also it is really a good deal or could you buy it from somewhere else like the supermarket for cheaper?
- Look for good deals
For most things you buy – there is a lot of competition. By spending a bit of time looking (and also looking at the right times) you can make substantial savings.
Where to look:
Internet sites – Because Banks, Hotels and others will often pay commissions there are so many websites to help you get the best deal for your money.
Although note that some sites will tell you what gets them the commission (rather than the best option for you).
Junk Mail – I usually find there are some good deals that I wouldn’t normally pick up. And I find it is a cheaper way to ‘window shop’ and means I am less likely to buy something (whereas I know the longer I spend in the store checking out different options I am more likely to buy one).
- Allow yourself some money for fun
It is your life and it is your money. In your plan there should always be some money to be spent however you want.
I say this for those who have a budget and watch every cent.
For a lot of us (me included) there are lots of ways we could tighten our belts. BUT – life should have some fun things in it.
So if you start bringing your lunch – have a day where you eat out. Or If you haven’t been to the shops in a while, write a list of what you need and go shopping.
- Don’t blow your budget when you are weak
It happens the next morning – you look in your wallet and wonder where all the money went.
A few ways which might help you not blow all your dough (warning –they aren’t cool):
On a night out
- Know your limit – plan when you will leave the pub/club, and plan your way home (if you are going to catch a cab home with a friend for example).
- Know you are weak – You might plan to just take cash (and not your ATM card) to limit the amount of money you spend.
- Don’t say goodnight – We all have friends who don’t let us go home. It took me a long time to realise that some work mates were leaving without saying goodbye so that they were not made to stay.
Standing in the store
– Just remember there will always be another deal. So if you can delay spending this time, you can always buy what you wanted later.
- Think before you commit AND Read the fine print
Of course everyone needs a new mobile but remember that $60-$80 a month isn’t cheap. You need to think about what you are really committing to.
Another retail trick is the 2 year interest free period. You should really think before you buy furniture or electrical goods with an interest free period of 2 years. Because if you haven’t repaid the full balance by the 2 years – you can be charged the full interest as if it was a 2 year loan.
Final thoughts: Save in moderation
You can go too far by trying to save every dollar by spending less. If you decide to only buy the absolute cheapest products, you might realise that all the clothes on your back were made by 14 year olds working 16 hour days in a 3rd world factory.
Is the money saving worth your time?
Sometimes for the money involved it might not be worth your time. Buy a drink for $4 to get to $30 at the supermarket, to get a petrol docket to save 80c on your petrol bill. All you really did was save a bit of money on a drink you didn’t need.
Any other tips not on the list?
Do you have other tips to save money? Write them in the comments below.