Now I’m gonna start by saying this isn’t going to be easy or fun a lot of the time, it takes hard work and patience to achieve that ideal bank balance. It doesn’t matter what you’re saving for, it’s always hard to change your lifestyle in order to save a few bucks here and there.
First and foremost, you have to know what you are saving for, and how much you need to save. Having a set goal will make it much easier to save because you know exactly what you want. The dream figure has to be reasonable, and definitely in reach, otherwise you’ll be discouraged before you even start. (which would most likely result in buying some unnecessary thing to comfort yourself) It should align with how much you earn and how much you spend.
To start, I suggest writing down all bills and purchases with its cost (per/week) beside it. This way, you can visualise it clearly. Include everything; payslip, groceries, eating out, phone bill, internet, rent, pet food, movie streaming subscription, gym, etc… I also suggest going through your bank statements, making sure you haven’t forgotten any other recurring payments. (or finding a subscription that you totally forgot about and never use anymore!) From here you can see where your money is going and areas that you can change in order to save some cash.
Essentially it’s all down to one thing: the less you spend, the more you save. So everything is up to whether or not it’s worth more to invest in the purchase or to save that money.
To help you out, here are some of the main ground rules I use when saving. These helped me saved a heck lot more money than I otherwise would have, which allowed me to go travelling by myself at 18 and buy myself a car at 20 (without finance!!).
- Cook most of your meals yourself – Save dining out for special occasions and delete the food delivery service from your phone. We didn’t have it 5 years ago, you don’t suddenly need it now. (Apart from a case of a horrible hangover, one can slide every other month)
- Don’t upgrade your phone if you don’t have to – We live in a society today that thinks it’s okay to throw away items just so we can get the new “bigger and better” one. This is a really bad habit for both our ecosystem and your pocket. Basically, as long as you can message, waste hours on social media and take a decent pic that’s all you need. On the other hand, if you do need a new phone, maybe look into secondhand ones, you can usually find a great deal (especially if it is from someone who throws out a perfectly good phone because, as stated above, they “so desperately” need the newly released one)
- Buy less stuff – Unless you need it to live, don’t buy everything that takes your fancy. You don’t have to restrict yourself to never buying anything (that’ll just make you go a tad crazy), but just make sure what you do buy, you have the full intention of using it often and for good reason. For instance, one person may buy a smoothie maker with the intention to “kick-start their diet” sometime in the future. – not the best decision. Whereas, another person may buy it because they’ve been looking for one for months because they LOVE smoothies but haven’t seen any for a reasonable price. – a good decision because you know you’ll use it all the time.
- Forgot about brands – This goes for everything, food brands, clothing brands, shoe brands, etc. Really, unless you have the tag flapping out of your collar, no one is going to know the difference between a $60 white shirt and a $5 basic tee. Of course, quality may differ, but remember, you’re trying to save for something much bigger and better than a white t-shirt. If you do love a good brand name fashion item I suggest checking out your local Op Shop (thrift store). I often go op-shopping and find my best outfits there, I suggest going to “richer” suburbs as you’ll have a higher chance of finding better quality brands that have only been worn once or twice (I’ve even found items that still have the tag on them!)
- Try to limit the number of times you go out every week – Of course, life is miserable without spending time out with family and friends, so still do it, but be more money-conscious. Maybe suggest to have a game night at your house and buy snacks from the local supermarket. If you do go out for dinner, know that you don’t eat out all the time, and tell yourself you can enjoy the evening without feeling guilty. If you’re wanting to be very tight with money I suggest eating something beforehand and only buy an entree out, that way you won’t be left hungry and are able to socialise and eat with friends without feeling guilty.
- Skip the Gym Membership – If you want to become a bodybuilder, by all means, have a gym membership, otherwise, you really don’t need to go to the gym. With the help of Youtube, working out at home can be just as effective. I found this website that has a range of Youtube channels and websites to start you off. Another way, if you aren’t afraid of working out in public, is to take advantage of your city’s open air-gyms. They usually have an array of gym equipment from stationary bikes, to leg presses and chest presses. You can usually find these on pathways and walking trails, here are the ones in Brisbane.