how to // save money
I have big things coming up next year and it's time to knuckle down on the savings front. I have always been good at saving but now it's time to kick it into overdrive. I learnt how to save from my parents, but many people don't have role models to show them how to effectively deal with money. Over the past couple of months I have implemented these ten strategies to help boost the savings and ensure I know exactly where my paycheck goes each fortnight.
1. Plan your fortnight and transfer money straight away.
I write down all the things I KNOW I will have to pay for each fortnight. I usually have this on my fridge as a visual reminder. When I get paid on a Wednesday, I get straight on Netbank and transfer money into my savings and travel accounts. Even though I can see both of these accounts, I view them as untouchable. So having that money out of my account straight away limits the amount I have left to spend on unnecessary things.
2. Get out your weekly spending money in cash.
This is something that my mum kept on telling me to do. But it wasn't until I ended up broke one week that I finally applied it. Having spending money in cash makes it a whole heap easier to keep track of how much you have and where you spend it. It's way too easy to spend electronic money these days, especially with PayPass. Realising that I'm down to my last $10 in cash for the week might be the difference between buying lunch out or saving it and having something at home instead.
3. Make effective use of memberships.
I have a gym membership. Knowing that I pay a certain amount of money each month whether I go once or a hundred times prompts me to take advantage of the 'go as many times as you want' principal. I know that if I do a one hour workout session three times a week, it costs me $4 per session. Classes are more expensive, so the more classes I go to, the more advantage I'm taking of my membership. I've also recently started showering at the gym. I wear thongs, so it's not gross!! This saves me using my own hot water and I feel like I can luxuriate a bit more, not having to worry that I will have to pay for it later.
4. Garage sale unwanted items.
A friend from work is killer at Buy, Swap and Sell. I garage sale. I don't have these at my own house but my nan frequently has garage sales were she gathers a big crowd through selling plants. Every couple of months I go through my stuff and box up items to take to nans house for a garage sale. As a result, I get little packets of cash every now and then from the items she has sold. My last garage sale packet paid for a whale watching cruise I did in the school holidays.
5. Trade clothes.
In recent years I have scored awesome clothes from my sisters who were giving them away. This saved me from going to the shops and spending more money to buy new clothes to spruce my wardrobe.
6. Allocate a savings account that generates high interest.
My savings account generates bonus interest every month if I put at least $200 into the account and do not make any withdrawals. This also gives me greater incentive to not take any money out of that account.
7. D.I.Y beauty
A trip to the beautician can be costly. When you add up the total for the procedures you get done it can easily total between $100 and $200 and that's for the cheap stuff. Have a pampering day at home instead. You will feel great at the end of it and even better because it was free.
8. Have a savings goal.
Many people find it hard to save if they do not have anything in particular to save towards. For me, I have always had a goal. When I was younger, this was mostly to do with travel. Over the past few years It has been about generating a house deposit. Your goal may be a trip, deposit, new furniture or simply a shopping trip or weekend away.
9. Leave it in the basket and come back later.
Online shopping is the devil. It is so easy to cruise around a website putting countless unnecessary items in your basket. I fill my basket then leave the site. I come back a couple of days later and check out the basket with a clear head. Generally I remove items from the basket that I now realise are impulse buys and that I don't really need. This reduces waste and unnecessary spending.
10. Take inventory of what you already have.
Sometimes you can go clothes shopping and see something you like, take it home and realise that it doesn't really add anything new to your wardrobe because you already have three items just like it. Look through your closet, what staples are missing that you would like to fill in? Write them down. Take a shopping buddy with you and establish what each of you are looking for and give each other a nudge if you are tempted to look in the wrong direction.