Saturday, 10 July 2010

How Do You Save Money?

Currently on my personal blog, I'm running a series about 100 ways to save money! Thinking about it, a lot of the actions I take to live a more frugal lifestyle also help my home run more simply and more environmentally friendly. I certainly use less water, electricity and gas (petrol) than most and try to reuse or refuse as a part of my life choices.

My top 10 tips for beginners trying to save money are:

1. Write everything down that you spend and review it at the end of the day and week. Are you making the best use of your spending?

2. Commit to no-spending days - something I now live by! Begin with 1 a week, followed by 2, 3, is amazing how much you can save!

3. Take cash grocery shopping with you and only spend that cash!

4. Cut 10% off your grocery bill (if you usually spend $100 a week, commit to only taking $90 a week with you) - use what is in your cupboards, planning your meals, making meals from scratch. My tips alone made me slash 75% off my budget!

5. Reduce your laundry costs by wearing most things several times before washing them and hanging clothes outside to dry.

6. Use money jars to budget your spending for the week!

7. Define everything as a need or a want and if you find something you want like makeup or a new book, force yourself to wait 48 hours before you purchase it!

8. Commit to saving, even if initially you can only put $30 a month into an account, once you see that money building it makes you think about ways in which you can save more

9. Use the library and community recycle/swap programs

10. Always be prepared - I spend money when I don't have lunch with me at work or need a quick snack or tissue or lip gloss. I now make sure I always take lunch, a snack, lip gloss, tissues, wet wipes, gum and anything else I/we may need with me.

11. Commit to making meals from scratch, starting with one night per week. I personally have soup night one night per week, I make a large batch of soup and it is our meal one night a week (with a simple salad) and one lunch per week, the leftovers are frozen and we then have a pick of great soups for Saturday lunch - with a buffet style salad. This alone cuts about $7 a week off of the grocery bill. Today's soup is broccoli!

12. Have a leftover night, pull all leftovers out the fridge and make that your main meal!

13. Shop local

14. Before you buy something new, check out your local thrift shops and freecycle.

15. Watch how much water you use, I shower after I swim (at my local pool) but at home I am still very mindful of how much water is used. I make sure taps are off, showers are short, laundry is washed at 30 degrees and the kettle is only boiled with how much water is needed.

I'd love to hear some of your tips for beginners looking to save money! I'm always amazed at just how many ways there are to save!!


Hathor's Bath said...

- decide whether or not you really use all those flashy features on your mobile phone, and if you really have to fire off text after text when you could just send an email or wait until you got home to call. People buy the very latest phone with all the newest features and most people don't even use a third of any of those. I have a simple phone which I use to call people if I really have to, but otherwise, I don't use it at all.

- do you really NEED cable? Sky TV is considered a necessity by many, but do you really need to have a hundred channels? I don't have sky; I don't even have a telly license as I don't watch telly. I have videos if my son wants to watch them, but otherwise I don't bother.

Kella B said...

Making your own cleaning products and cooking from scratch are not only cheaper, but healthier.

Also try really, really hard to return library books and dvds on time. The fines can add up.

I make a coffee at home in the morning, and take it with me, instead of buying one on the way to work/school.

Keep some crackers/biscuits/dried fruit and a water bottle in your handbag, in case you get held up somewhere, and kids start whining. You really dont want to have to buy a $6 sandwich in a corner store, or a mccrappy meal, eww.

dilli said...

cut errands and town trips to every two weeks or once a month... it takes planning and a while to get used but can be done.

turn off and unplug electrical things when not in use. we have cut our electric bill in half.

grow your own herbs and spices. most can be grown in any environment and save a lot of money.

do you really need air conditioning.. sure it is nice but it's expensive, open windows and use fans, it is much healthier and will cut your bill.

cut back water use- shut the water off while sudsing up or brushing teeth.. reuse grey water for plants and gardens

when using meat in dishes, slice or chop tiny and use filler veggies in place... still tastes great and is healthier

alice lory and eaglet said...

1. Use a prepaid phone with long lasting credit and don't replace you phone unless it has become unusable to make calls. It is funny when everyone is comparing phones and the one everyone wants to look at is the greyscale screen nokia from 2001 not the iphone.

2. [If you have self control] pay for everything that you can using a credit card (yes!). Keep your savings in a high interest account that is compounded daily. Pay off 100% of your card before the due date and enjoy the extra interest on your savings. It might only be a few cents/dollars for a single person but for a family it can be more significant. In general though keep any savings 'earning' for you don't leave then in some crappy commonwealth savings account where you get $3 interest per year.

3. If you don't have self control deal only with cash. Take out a set amount each week and divide it up into categories. If you run out too bad and make do without for a couple of days.

4. Meat free days. There are a huge number of reasons why these are a good thing but from a purely economical point of view, meat is expensive and you don't need to eat it everyday for good health.

5. Use less product than the packaging indicates. E.g. I wash using a fraction of the amount of powder the packet says to use and only need to buy one box per year. Try using less shampoo, less soap, less washing up liquid. See how far things will stretch.

6. Budget and plan for indulgences. We like tea, coffee, wine, cheese and chocolate so put a little money aside for it in our budget so we can get a small amount or one or two each week. It means that we don't get bitter about never buying the things that we like and it also means that we don't go silly and decide that we deserve to go out and spend a whole lot of money on treats in one go.

Looby said...

-portion control; when we first moved here we began to eat the much larger North American portions and consider them normal, we cut back to smaller portions and our health and wallets were happier.
-don't make meat the focus of the meal, if we have chicken breast we use one for the two of us, and bulk up the rest of the meal with veggies.
-don't go shopping, last week I promised to help a friend find an outfit for a wedding and ventured to the mall which I try to avoid, this weekend I am returning to return some purchases that I did not need.
-use gift cards, I do all my grocery shopping in one store and every pay day I put the same amount on a giftcard and use it for all my purchases (like the envelope system but easier for me to manage) as I see the balance going down over the two week pay period I can adjust my menu to cheaper options, or splurge on steak, I've been doing this since December and it works brilliantly for me to never go over in my food budget.

Paula said...

1) confine your meals out to once a month. going treatless is no fun, but don't go crazy.
2) put all your purchases, even the groceries, on a reward-based credit card and pay it off every month. If you need something big, save up for it first, and then put it on the reward-based card and pay it off. Our credit card pays one percent of our purchases back and automatically credits the rebate to the principal on our mortgage. Since we pay it off every month, it's free money to us- the bank is making their money only on the vendors who accept our card, and not on us. We also put as many automatic bills like the phone and the cable company (using the cheapest , most basic plan that gets us bundling discounts for our internet connection) on this same credit card. We use no others.
3) make all your meals from scratch.
4) take advantage of the deals at Costco and the like, but be disciplined when you go in there and educated about what things cost. Know when you're getting a deal.
5) shop online first so that you know what things cost and where you can get the deal, and then print out the best deal you can find online and bring it with you. Ask the brick-and-mortar vendor if they can meet or beat the deal. You'd be surprised what they'll do for you, once they see that you've done your homework and that you're ready to go somewhere else. Ask for the deal.
6) Entertain yourself as cheaply as possible. If you're paying for internet service, use it. Borrow books and movies from the library. Ours is great for foreign film, which we love. Speaking of movies, learn to make popcorn in a saucepan on the stove from the bulk popcorn at the store instead of microwaved popcorn- there's a super savings right there.
7) set yourself a threshold on what you'll spend for a bottle of wine- mine's $10. However, if I'm buying a $7 bottle and I see a $13 bottle, that's still $10 a piece if I buy both, and that's okay in my book. If you find an inexpensive wine that you really like, see if you can order a case and get a discount on the case. I recently found a white that I liked and ordered a case and they gave me a 15% discount on the loose bottles I was buying that day.
8) turn saving money and spending less into a game- it will be a lot more fun that way!

Surviving and thriving on pennies said...

-Make all meals from scratch.
-No prepackaged anything even crackers/chips. Make muffins etc instead
-No cable
-buy 2nd hand everything except undergarments
-buy what you need, not what you want
-No soda
-grow your own garden
-make your own laundry soap
-line dry your clothes
-bathe only when needed
-shower at gym(water you dont pay for)
-Shop local markets for produce
-Eat meatless meals 3 out of 7 nights
-Take anything for free from friends/family. Great way to get clothing/shoes
-Sweep porch/driveway instead of using water
-Free entertainment. Libraries, parks, hikes, ets
-Make your own cleaners

Sarah C said...

I make my own bread. We're a huge bread eating family (at least a loaf a week), and the cheap stuff at the market is full of cheap and crappy ingredients. I make 4 loaves, twice a month and put the extra in the freezer.

I also make my own cleaners. White vinegar, dish soap, baking soda, and essential oils will clean just about anything!

Also, I garden. It doesn't fulfill all our produce needs for the year, but it makes a nice dent in the budget in the summer.

missmessy said...

Invest in your health! I Consider healthy living, eating right, exercising, growing our own food, a HUGE savings!
no co-pays, no prescriptions, no raising insurance premiums, no time off work for illness...

Lesley said...

cancel your cell phone contract and you will save hundreds per year switching to a net 10 prepaid contract. That way you have control over your expenses, you get no surprise accounts. You pay as little as $15 for 30 days service, 10c/minute, 2.5c/text and 15c/min for international calls.

Ainead said...

-Learn basic mending skills. Being able to fix a dropped hem, resew a button or replace the saggy elastic on your favourite pair of comfy home pants means you can keep clothes for longer and not have to pay to have them fixed.

-Get to know the bargain spots and events in your local area. (e.g. I've recently discovered a local Mum-Bub market held monthly in my town where you can buy 2nd hand baby and pregnancy goods rediculously cheap.)

Anonymous said...

If you really need something new ask if you need it and will use it - if you answer yes then sleep on it and don't but the same day. A lot of the time the urge to buy passes and you may see things differently.

If you are replacing something look to see if you can trade in your broken / old item. Such as Currys trade in schemes or using comparison sites when selling mobiles, cameras etc.

I think the tip about meat free days would save me money but i'm not sure i have the discipline!