Saving money is about freeing up cash flow; it’s the leftover cash flow that will make a big difference to your savings account. Here we put forward some ideas that are practical in nature and should be able to help you free up some extra cash to boost your budgeting and savings strategy.
A big income would be nice, but a small income with smart spending can be just as good, if not better. Think of it like this; every time you reduce your spending or cull outgoing costs, you have a double benefit arise in that you have more money leftover and the ability to use that money to generate more money.
Once you know exactly how much money you really need, you can really start to plan your time better. As an example, you could work less and travel more if you took a job that simply covered your basic lifestyle expenses rather than chasing heavy and long-term dreams that keep you slaved to a desk.
You have between now and retirement to make money. It’s that simple, and that important. After that, the money stops coming in regularly and you rely on your savings, superannuation and any investment returns your money makes.
So start questioning and challenging your expenses, daily expenses and anything that costs money. Challenge yourself to find a better deal, to find creative ways not to spend the money and more. Every dollar is sacred, so adjust your thinking to account for the fact that every casual dollar here and there will add up to the total amount across your lifetime.
Stop paying a premium for new products, start enjoying the second-hand market. Whether it be a car, television, piece of furniture or household appliances, buying used products or second-hand items is an incredibly easy way to avoid high-margin retail rip-offs.
Imagine if you went second hand on all of these items; washing machines, dryers, bedroom furniture, computer chairs, tables, outdoor furniture, cars, bikes, electronics and more. The amount of money saved would be staggering for all of us.
Taking pride in the items we own is essential. Pride means taking the time to maintain, service and properly look after things that we have spent money on.
If you buy a house and fail to maintain it, it will fall down. If you buy a pair of shoes and simply wear them without regular cleaning and upkeep, they will fall apart. If you apply this money-saving principle to everything you own - how much wastage would you avoid? How much money would you save?
Take time out of your week to simply clean, maintain and properly love the belongings that have cost you money. It will help make the items last longer, in turn saving money, and prevent you from looking at these items as inconsequential, disposable items.
Often we need to replace goods around the house quite simply because we are failing to properly maintain them, so a little tender love and care can go a long way.
Items like Foxtel, magazine subscriptions and access to games, apps and TV shows are costing Australian’s billions.
As a rule of thumb, the first place you should always look to save money is in repeating subscriptions. Items that take a regular debit from your account on a monthly or yearly basis should be your focus. We quite often find ourselves loaded up on materialistic items or services that seem important when we have lots of money, but definitely are not important when we are trying to save money and budget effectively.
Look at your subscription services and see if you can discounts on gym memberships, Foxtel packages, phone internet services and data packs for things like iPads or other digital devices.
We talk about eating at home to save money frequently, though have you considered that eating and drinking at home also has considerable health benefits? When you eat at a restaurant for breakfast, lunch or dinner when out and about, you have zero control in how the food is prepared, cooked or treated prior to eating. Even the healthiest of lunches can be cooked in unhealthy saturated fats and oils.
Save money by eating dinner before you go out with friends, having pre-drinks at home before a night out and make sure your regular breakfasts and lunches are prepared at home. If you can’t get motivated by how much you will save per day, think about how much you will save per year!
Implement a system where you refrain from making a materialist purchase until you have waited at least one hour. For instance, if you are about to make a purchase; put the item down and wait 60 minutes - this will help you control any impulse spending.
It may mean you need to come back tomorrow or quite simply miss out; though if you become obsessive-compulsive about the one-hour rule, your spending will drop dramatically - and your savings will skyrocket!
We’ve written an entire guide on how to haggle and get a discount on almost everything in stores - and this is one of the best, if most challenging, ways to quickly free up cash flow.
For the advanced haggler, ring your existing providers and try negotiating a better deal. Your list would include mobile phone, home phone, internet, gas, electricity and other providers. You could save hundreds of dollars in just a few, quick phone calls!