I cannot tell you how excited I am to get on a plane on Saturday. It’s been 3 years since I last was on one and that’s so hard for someone who loves to travel as much as me. I always find peoples biggest excuse for not traveling is money and let me tell you, you can always save money. There’s always a place where you can sacrifice a little, which adds up to a lot in the long run. I am a little worried that there’s someone reading this who has literally nothing to spare and for that I am sorry. However, for the most of us who live in the western world and have a way of bringing in some cash, there’s usually a place we’re over spending!!
1.How smart do you eat?
Eating out is ridiculously expensive, and so is wasting food. Buying lunch at work everyday could cost you over $200 a month and that’s if your only spending $10 a day! Add in a coffee in the morning and a snack in the afternoon and you can double that. Buying food out is one of those things that just creeps up on you, but I feel like we all know about that. Take a look in your fridge though and tell me you have no food to throw in the bin. You do, don’t you. Caught you! I’m totally guilty too but this is a big thing to keep an eye out for. We all waste, but being a smart shopper makes a hell of a difference to your bank account too!
Another note to make is that eating simply is your cheapest way to eat too, I don’t eat sugar, meat or dairy and can I tell you that I have never spent less on food. Jamie and I sometimes just make a huge tray of homemade chips for dinner or whip up a batch of soup to take to work for the week and these are seriously cheap meals. Just reduce your shop by a few pricier items and you’ll see the dollars stacking up in no time.
Potential savings each week: $100-$200 (+ bonus of eating healthier and feeling better!)
2. Mindless Spending
I can’t tell you how many friends and colleagues and family members all complain to me about how they’re so poor and have no money and can’t afford anything. However, I always see them out socialising or buying some new clothes/shoes/makeup! I always want to laugh, how can they be constantly spending money and complaining they don’t have any? Well, let me tell you a story…
“Yay pay day! I’m going to buy my lunch and get a coffee ($20). Oh I ran out of concealer, I better go get some, I’ll be cheap though and go to Priceline, oooooohhhh new eyeshadow palette! ($30). My deodorant is on sale, better get some so that I save money ($5). That top is cute!! I might try it on, I won’t like it though I bet. Damn it’s really cute, but it would be perfect for drinks with the girls this weekend! Oh well, I’ve been good this week, I’ll treat myself. ($50). I’ll just get one drink tonight ($10). I’m having so much fun! I’ll just stay a little longer ($40) and get a nibble too ($25). Argh, I’m so hungover, I’m going to treat myself to food out today, and a coffee, I deserve it for feeling so crap! ($20).”
In total that’s about $200 there and then, not including your normal groceries and/or bills! I’m not saying you can’t have any of it, but by being aware, you could have brought your lunch, not bought the eyeshadow palette, the new top and stuck to your one (ok two) drinks out instead of 5.
Potential savings: $120 in this scenario, but obviously this is just an example.
3. Budgeting and living within your means.
Speaking of points 1 and 2, being aware of what your spending money on means being a little organised. I encourage you to write down and track every cent you spend for a few weeks, then work out exactly what you must spend your money on, like food, rent ect. Next see where money is being wasted, are you signed up to a gym you never use? Paying for both Netflix and Stan but only watch Netflix? Trim the fat and see where you can skrimp a little.
These are obviously quick and easy places to save but if you’re planning on saving long term I would even suggest thinking about your living situation too. Are you spending heaps on rent living in a big house with loads of stuff you don’t even use? Sell it all and move into a smaller place. Spending heaps on fuel getting too and from work/social engagements? Weigh up the cost of living closer!
If you don’t think that you can reduce your outgoings then maybe think about earning extra money. Take up weekend or night work, even as little as 5 hours a week could gain you an extra $100 a week! Freelance a skill or push for a promotion at work are other options too! Put the extra away and you’ll save so fast!
Potential savings: Anywhere from $10 – $300+
4. Out of Site, Out of Mind!
Once you’ve sorted out how much money you need to pay your bills, open a new everyday account and get all your bills direct debited out of there. I go as far as to put the money in there for groceries as well, plus a little bit extra for small emergencies (like having no food in the house and having to order pizza on occasion). This means that you can’t forget to pay a bill, or accidentally spend the money put aside for rent! It also means that all the money left in your account is either for fun, or for savings. I find it best to figure out an amount you want to save each pay cycle and put it straight into a savings account or onto that pesky credit card. Before you know it you’ll have money put aside (or a debt paid off) and you’ll barely have noticed.
Potential savings: Who knows! That’s up to you to decide.
5. Goals, Games & Rewards
The fun part! Sort of, anyway. Set yourself a goal, where do you want to go? How much will you need to get there? When do you want to go? How long do you want to go for? Let’s say you want to go to Europe next year (in about 9 months) for a month. Do your research!! You need to know a rough estimate of how much your going to need and the more notice you have, the easier it is to save. So lets say that, you want to do some nice things but essentially go cheaply. So $5000 as a base and whatever on top for spending money would be nice, plus if you can save an extra $1000 you can also go to Paris to stay at Disneyland! All you need then is just under $560 a month, about $140 a week. Easy!! Bump it up to $200, you get $7200! Ok, so maybe it might be a little bit hard but oh so worth it.
Another way Jamie and I have been saving money is by a game we call Forfits. We have a list of things we want to either do or not do (like buying lunch out or not making the bed everyday) and if you break them, then it’s $20 in the pot (figuratively speaking, we actually have a savings account for it). But it’s a good way for us to keep good habits or save, win-win either way! Also, we chose $20 because anything more is too much but anything less is a bit meh, whatever. But create your own game or rewards based saving method and you’ll be saving before you know it.
Potential savings: Everything you need to get on that trip!
6. Celebrate Differently
This is hard, but think about your celebrations, from the little to the big. Cleaned your house so you go out and buy yourself a bottle of wine? Save your money and have a big cup of tea. Birthday? Get everyone to pitch in for something like your plane ticket. Have a picnic rather than going to the pub and having too much to drink and eating loads of greasy food. Ok, so a picnic could still mean too much to drink and loads of greasy food but it will be cheaper I assure you. One particularly bad habit I have is treating myself. I can think of any excuse under the sun to treat myself to anything. It’s a little ridiculous really, so curbing this is a little hard, but replacing your money treat to something unmoney or lessmoney makes it easier. Like having a big cuppa, watching your favourite tv show and sodding off chores rather than a new lipstick. Or going to the local on the cheapest night of the week, rather than on the weekend. Still get to have a drink with the mates, but at half the price!
Potential savings: I give up at this point, you’ll save whatever you chose to!
Ok, so I never said saving was easy, but image your excitement when you get on that plane, imagine that first step in a new country, the first bite of foreign food! Oh, isn’t it worth it! I think focusing on the experiences and memories that await you rather than on an extra item of clothing or going out for the third time that week makes it just that little easier. Even if you don’t have a place in mind, I hope I’ve inspired you to start putting a little aside for a future adventure someday.
Where are you going next? How do you save?
Thanks for reading!