Save with envelopes
If budgeting really isn’t your forte, a great way to get into the habit of only spending what you have is to use the cash-in-envelopes system. Simply label a few envelopes with “groceries”, “entertainment”, “savings” etc, and take the cash out you need for each every payday. Then limit yourself to only spending what’s in the envelope — you will be surprised at how much you can save when you don’t have instant access to your everyday or savings account.
Holiday in a home
The cost of a hotel can really add up when you’re on holiday. A great way to enjoy your holiday without the cost of a hotel is to rent a home instead. Airbnb is a great online service where you can find a home, unit or room to rent in a city of your choice around the world for a fraction of the cost of a hotel. Most are just as nice, with the added benefit of scoring a kitchen and laundry as well — essential for longer trips or when travelling with kids!
Public transport is your friend, especially if you live in a major city where traffic is a pain and parking is an expensive nightmare. Work out how much you pay in petrol each week, tack on tolls and parking, and then compare it to the cost of catching a bus, train or tram. Go public and stash the savings.
Slash your mobile bill
Cutting your mobile phone bill is as easy as going prepaid and making use of the multitude of free call and text apps on the market. If you’re contract is up for renewal, resist the urge to get a shiny new phone. Chances are your existing one is only a couple of years old and, if you’re a big user, you could save yourself hundreds a month by using VOIP apps such as Viber or WhatsApp for the majority of your calls and texts.
Friday night doesn’t have to mean a night out on the town. Party at home instead with a few friends and some old-school board games. Get your mates to bring a plate and their drink of choice before settling down to a hipster night in.
Can your credit cards
Rule number one of budgeting tells you not to spend more than you can afford. Credit cards let you do exactly that, so it’s time to cut the interest costs, lower the maximum limit you can borrow and, if you do use them, make sure you pay the full balance off each and every month.
Buy your wine online
There’s not much you can’t buy online these days, including your favourite tipple. If you love a good drop, then head online to Vinomofo for some great deals that will save you buckets on some premium-tasting grapes.
Give to charity
It might sound like an oxymoron, but giving to charity might just save you money, especially if your income is on the cusp of a higher tax threshold. Talk to your tax agent about how you can save come tax time by donating to your favourite cause.
Ditch the gym
Paying a weekly gym membership can be costly, especially if you find you don’t use it as often as you should. Save yourself $20 a week by downloading an app to get you moving instead. Fitocracy and RunKeeper are two great — and free — options to start with.
Buy your books online
Buying books online through Fishpond or The Book Depository is a great way to save on your reading material. Or, if you have a tablet or iPad, you can buy digital versions instead for up to half the regular price.
Using coupons is a great way to save on almost anything. Before you buy online, do a quick Google search for coupon codes for the retailer in question — more often than not, you’ll find something that will cut the cost of shipping or save you anywhere between 10 and 20 per cent on the purchase price.
Set up a savings account
If you want to save more, then you need a savings account. Choose one that makes it hard to transfer funds to your regular account so you’re not tempted to drain it during a shopping spree.
Spend your tax
Sure, a last-minute splurge on clothes or travel sound like a great way to spend your tax refund, but you might just save more to spend later if you use a lump sum to pay off any existing debts. Paying off your car or making an extra mortgage repayment or two can save you thousands in interest, so do the right thing with your tax refund and reap the rewards later.
Love what you have
The best way to curb your everyday spending is to be content with what you have. You don’t need the latest gadget, accessory or overseas holiday to make you happy — be conscious and thoughtful with your spending, enjoy what you have, mend what is broken and reap the rewards of considerate spending in the years to come.