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We all know that the way to save more money is to spend less than what we earn – pretty simple right? But when it comes to day to day activities, it’s the little tweaks that can make the biggest impact on how much money you actually do save. It’s the simple ways to save a ton of money that will help you beef up your savings account, pay for that holiday and get you set up financially.
It’s not about working harder, but working smarter. Be savvy with your finances, think before you spend and try these simple tweaks and see how much money you can save.
1 – Track Your Money
If you do just one thing to help you save money let it be this – track your money. Track your income and your expenses and know exactly where your money is going. You worked hard for it, so why be so haphazard and pay no attention to it?
It’s like this light bulb that goes off in your head – if you want something to be better, then you have to monitor and track it. If you want to save more money, then you need to understand your current money situation better. Otherwise, you’re flying blind and running off hopes and dreams instead of plans and action.
There are so many different ways you can track your money but my favourite is simply with pen and paper. A simple budget page with income and expenses outlined is enough to give you an idea of exactly what your financial position is.
2 – Buy Groceries Online
How many times a week do you go to the grocery store? And when you go there, do you only get the one thing you needed, or do you walk out with half of aisle 5? Grocery shopping online is a fantastic way to make sure you stick to your shopping list and it also means you can compare prices of items quickly too.
Some suppliers will offer free or discounted delivery too. Or if you know you’re going to be out and about and you don’t want to wait for your groceries to be delivered, you could always select the ‘click and collect’ option. So much easier.
3 – Shop At The Markets
Your local markets can be an amazing place to find a whole heap of fresh fruit and vegetables. Stock up for the week, freeze what you can and eat amazing fresh food for a much cheaper price. Do be mindful to use what you buy and don’t over shop. It can be easy to go a little overboard when shopping but unless you freeze it or store it properly, you’ll end up throwing it out before you can use it.
If you love your smoothies you can buy fresh produce at a cheap rate, blitz it in a blender with coconut water and freeze in ice cube trays ready to use when you need.
4 – When Grocery Shopping, Use Your Calculator
I was so fed up with getting ‘grocery checkout shock’ every time I went grocery shopping I decided I wasn’t going to have it anymore and would calculate everything I was buying as I was doing my shop. Seems pretty simple right? That’s because it is!
How many times have you gone through the checkout only to have a minor heart attack from the total of your grocery bill? It’s crazy! Simply using your calculator and adding up things as you go keeps you more on track with your budget and less likely to grab those few extra items you don’t actually need.
5 – Keep Updating Your Budget
Did you make a budget, once, a few years ago, then stopped using it? Found it was too hard to stick to? Of course! Because our expenses aren’t the same all the time – we have events, social outings, birthdays, changes in seasons that we need to account for and creating a stock standard budget won’t allow for these fluctuations to happen.
When your budget doesn’t reflect real life you’re not going to be able to stick to it for long. So create a new budget for each week/month or even each pay cycle. And be sure to budget fun money in there so you are more likely to stick with it!
6 – Tweak Your Insurance Policies
There are so many different insurances we have, health, life, funeral, home and contents, car, pet insurance… so, so many. But do you know what insurances you have and what they cover? If you don’t, you could potentially be doubling up.
Here in Australia we have mandatory superannuation (401k) and as part of my super policy I have income protection insurance, so I’d be crazy to go and purchase separate insurance for this.
Find out what you have, what you’re insured for and make sure it covers your needs.
You can also save a ton of money by increasing your excess/co-pay amount on your lesser used insurances.
7 – Never Pay Your Bills Late
Have you ever been charged a late fee on a bill? They are insanely high, and if you’re constantly paying your bills late, you could be dishing out hundreds of dollars extra per year all because your timing is off! Not good!
Set yourself up with a specific bank account for your bills and have your payments come out automatically. Be sure to put a ‘buffer’ in there and pay whatever amount you need each pay cycle so your bills are covered and then you never have to worry about a late payment again.
8 – Declutter Regularly
Not only is decluttering good for your mental health, it can also stop you from doubling up on items you already have. How many times have you bought new makeup only to find you had some stashed away at the back of your cupboard? Keeping your cupboards clutter free gives you a clear idea of what you have and what you need. You won’t buy extras because you don’t want to mess up the clutter-free space.
One of the most effective areas to declutter is actually your pantry! Do you know what’s in there? Are you using things before their used by date or are you buying a new jar of sauce each time you go grocery shopping because you can’t remember if you have any left or not?
Declutter your pantry, move items to the front that need to be used soon and create a meal plan to use what you already have on hand.
9 – Meal Plan
I resisted meal planning for so long because I’m more of a ‘eat what I want when I crave it’ kind of person. But, the problem with this was that I was going to the grocery store almost daily, buying more than what I needed (because shopping when you’re hungry is a bad idea) and I was never using what I had at home. It was costing me a fortune.
Planning out your meals for the week allows you to use what you have on hand, and means that you can create a grocery list of what you need, so when you go shopping you’re only buying what you’ll actually use.
Meal planning can literally save you hundreds of dollars. And it also means you’re not wondering what to cook for dinner every single day. Winning!
10 – Host A Dinner Party
Wait… host a dinner party to save money? You bet! How often do you go out to dinner with friends or family? And how much does it cost you each time you go out?
Instead of heading out to a restaurant for dinner, why not take turns hosting a dinner party?
Flex your skills in the kitchen (or search Pinterest to find easy meals to prepare), have your friends or family over for good food and good wine and save a small fortune. You can easily prepare dinner for a fraction of the cost of going out, and if you take turns it can save you even more!!
11 – Be Smart With Your Chores
Did you know the cost of cleaning your house can vary simply based on when you clean it? It’s true! You can save money simply by modifying your cleaning schedule.
Start by washing your clothes in larger washes so you’re not running the washing machine as often. Then hang your clothes outside to dry rather than using a dryer. If you do this between 10am and 2pm you can catch the hottest part of the sun so your clothes dry faster too!
Also, some electricity companies charge less for electricity used in ‘off-peak’ times. Check with your electricity supplier to see if this is the case for you. If so, do things like wash your clothes and run your dishwasher during the off-peak times to save more money!
12 – Ditch Your Gym Membership
Gym memberships cost a small fortune and are often not utilised to their full amount. This doesn’t apply to you if you get your butt to the gym multiple times each week, but if you’re more of a casual gym user, you might benefit from letting that membership go.
There are different options for you so you can still get your health fix though. Check if your gym offers casual sessions where you pay as you go instead of memberships. If you’re only getting to the gym once a week this might be a more cost-effective option for you.
You can also look at online memberships to fitness classes that you can do anywhere, anytime so you don’t have to actually get to the gym to do your workout.
13 – Join Swap Groups On Facebook
One person’s trash is another person’s treasure! One of my favourite Facebook groups to be part of is all about being an ‘unconsumer’ and the point of it is a little different to your general ‘buy/swap/sell’ groups. It’s not about selling and buying items, but more about swapping items and sharing resources.
I often see posts in there from people wanting to swap items like fresh produce (one may have chickens and want to swap eggs for honey etc) as well as people offering up items like clothes right through to furniture.
It’s all about making use of things rather than just throwing things out and buying more.
14 – Unsubscribe From Emails
Email marketing is the best way to get people hooked on your sales and offers… which means if you’re getting marketing emails from companies in your inbox, you’re playing with temptation to buy more items! You can’t be tempted by a sale if you don’t know it’s happening.
You can use a tool like Unroll.me to bulk unsubscribe from emails or have them delivered in a different way. I was so surprised at how many emails I was subscribed to without even realising.
Otherwise you can go to the bottom of any email sent to you and there will be an ‘unsubscribe’ option there. It’s against the SPAM laws to not have this so 99% of marketing emails will have it (there’s always the dodgy few…).
15 – Don’t Stockpile
I know this goes against every couponer’s stance out there, but there is logic behind why I don’t recommend stockpiling items.
Stockpiling creates a consumer mindset. It’s about having ‘more’ which in turn makes you want more of everything and makes you even more likely to buy more of what you don’t need. Regardless of how cheap you buy things for, if you’re buying things you don’t need it’s money wasted.
I was watching a documentary on a couponer one time and she had stockpiled over 50 tubes of toothpaste. Now let’s think about that. On average it takes 3 months to go through a tube of toothpaste. That means you go through 4 tubes of toothpaste a year. With over 50 tubes stockpiled, she had over 12 years of toothpaste. And that’s IF she didn’t keep stockpiling more toothpaste in that time.
If you have the opportunity to grab items cheap that’s great, but only store what you need, and I mean actually need. You can donate the rest.
Saving money isn’t always about cutting things out of your budget. There are so many different opportunities to save a ton of money each day, you just need to think a little differently about how you do things.