How To Save Money: 21 Simple Ways To Scrimp in 2018

How To Save Money: 21 Simple Ways To Scrimp in 2018
Carly Jacobs

I’m a notorious tight ass. Not the kind that tries to get away without paying my fair share of the bill or the person who drinks everyone else’s booze and never brings their own. I’m a tight ass in that I just don’t enjoy spending money. I never really have. I’d go on shopping days with girlfriends in high school and they’d spend all their weekly pocket money on CDs and trinkets and I’d just tuck my money away until I found something I really wanted.

I’m getting more and more discerning with what I spend my money on and I figured these tips would make a great blog post and help some people save money. These ideas won’t work for everyone but they’re a collection of things that have worked for me. Money can be awkward and boring and sometimes you just need a reminder of the simple things. You also sometimes need someone to give you permission to spend money on the things you like…. which is totally reasonable.

1. Cook simple food 

Mr Smaggle and I eat in accordance with the Ketogenic eating style. We’ve been doing this for about a year and our grocery bill is a third what it used to be. We eat eggs, meat, vegetables and good fats and that’s it, he also eats small amounts of dairy like cheese and yogurt. We used to spend about $70 per week on gluten-free bread, wraps, pasta and other allergy substitutes but now that we eat grain free, we don’t buy anything like that anymore. The simpler your meals, the cheaper they will be. Herbs are expensive and packets of sauces and meal kits can really add up. We buy our vegetables and meat from a local market and we can get pretty much everything we need for the week for two of us for about $70 dollars all up and that’s what we used to spend on Mr Smaggle’s allergy free food alone.

2. Spend more money 

Four pairs of cheap $50 shoes cost the same as one pair of $200 shoes but if you shop smart, the $200 shoes will last a lot longer than the four pairs of $50 shoes. Sometimes you need to spend more money to save money. For example, I used to buy cheap, plastic containers at the supermarket to keep my make-ahead meals in and I was constantly replacing them. Over the last year or two, I’ve slowly replaced them Pyrex glass containers and they’re lasting beautifully. Yes, they’re more expensive but I’d rather spent $15 on a container that’s going to last ten years than $3 on a container I have to replace every few years.

3. Go to the library 

I love magazines but I can’t justify the cost and waste of them so whenever I want to get my magazine hit, I go to a library and binge flick through all the mags I love. Marie Claire, Vogue, InStyle. I still buy indie mags like Frankie and Smith Journal, but for the glossies, the library will do. I do buy books on my Kindle but I justify it as paying $9 (most popular Kindle books cost about that) for the convenience of not having to lug books around with me and I get to support an author. That’s $9 well spent in my book.

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4. Borrow a dress instead of buying one

I’ve borrowed the same dress from my mate Nikki for at least three weddings and it’s always such a winner. It saves me so much time and money going shopping for something appropriate. Before you start shopping for something fancy, shop your own wardrobe or ask a mate if you can borrow something. It’s thrifty and environmentally friendly. Win.

5. Avoid eating in restaurants 

This one will depend on where you live, as some people live in densely populated areas where they can eat out more cheaply than they can cook at home but most of the time, it’s cheaper to prepare your food at home. I grew up in a city where it’s expensive to eat out and even more expensive to get a cab home afterwards so I’ve grown up with this lounge room culture where my mates and I hang out at each other’s houses almost exclusively. I’m happy to have a meal out here and there and have a few drinks at the pub but I’d much rather bring a bottle of wine to a mate’s place and sit their couch. Cheaper and heaps more comfy.

6. Bargain with your utility provider 

We moved house recently and really didn’t want to change service providers but we noticed a competitor had a much better deal, so we called our current provider and asked them to price match, gently hinting that we’d leave if they didn’t. They matched it without question and we didn’t even have the hassle of changing providers when we moved. If you’ve been with your current utility provider for years without checking the current rates and deals of competitors, give yourself that job to do this week. You could save yourself thousands of dollars just by making a phone call.

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7. Check your internet and phone bill plans 

Similarly, we both got new phones last year and checked our plans and we realised we were paying WAY more than we had to. We were each paying around $80 per month for 5Gb and we saw another plan on offer at a different provider for $100 per month for 30Gb that we can share. We were getting ripped off because we joined that plan ages ago and at the time it was the best one but we got lazy and didn’t check it. We’re now saving $60 per month and we get an extra 10Gb than we had before.

8. Make coffee at home or work 

The price of takeaway coffee has officially reached the point where it’s a luxury item now. It’s almost impossible to get a cup for less than $4.50 and if you have five takeaway coffees per week for a full year that’s over $1000 a year spent on coffee. Doesn’t that sound like a ludicrous waste? If you love coffee and you’re happy to spend that money on it, go for it but if coffee is just a cup of something perky you throw back every morning, think about making it at home or at work instead and pocketing that cool grand for something you really want.

9. Avoid buying things in packets 

Have you ever just bought fresh produce like vegetables, fruit and meat and been shocked at how cheap it all was? But by the time you throw in a bottle of soft drink, a packet of chips, some ‘healthy’ gourmet chocolate and some fancy little yogurts, you can easily double your grocery tally without even trying. You don’t have to totally give up packaged goods, just think about what you’re buying and why you’re buying it before you throw it in your trolley.

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10. DIY your beauty treatments 

Depending on your budget and needs you can make exceptions to this rule. For example, I have special needs hair, so I would never cut my own hair and I also won’t do my own eyebrow maintenance because it’s just far too easy to screw that up. I do all my own hair removal with an epilator though, I do my own manicures and pedicures and I even colour my own hair. I know there are some people out there who will need to allocate their beauty budget differently but DIY what you can and only pay the professionals when you really need too.

11. Pay off your credit card every single month 

If you’re an adult who eventually wants to buy a house, you need a credit card to show that you know how to deal with money that doesn’t exist. That’s the only reason why I have one but I pay it off every single month and I won’t pay any interest on that credit card. Paying interest on credit cards is the biggest waste of money. Never buy what you can’t afford and keep that credit card balance at zero.

12. Say no 

If you can’t afford it, say no. For example, I almost ever go to concerts, mainly because Cher and Madonna almost never come to Australia. I had a few people ask me to go to Taylor Swift and Beyonce and I like their music and it would be spectacular but unless I’m really frothing over an artist, I’m not going to shell out $200 for a ticket to their show. It’s totally fine to say no to those kinds of things. I’d rather pop my $200 in my savings account and watch some T Swift on YouTube.

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13. Avoid buying gifts for people 

I’ve been very slowly but surely removing myself from the present buying cycle. If I see a friend for their birthday, I’ll buy them a bottle of wine or something but I no longer spend full days looking for a present for someone and then freaking out and spending $50 on anything at the last minute. It’s such a waste of money. I’d rather buy a lovely bottle of wine and drink it with them. This means most people have stopped buying me gifts too, which is excellent because I definitely don’t need any more stuff.

14. Spend money where it counts 

In this world we need to spend money to survive, that’s kind of how it works but it’s how you allocate that money that matters. For example, I pay $50 per week for my gym membership, which is a really expensive gym membership. I get quite a bit of judgement from people when they find out how much I pay to go to my gym but here are a few things to consider.

1. Most people join gyms and never go. So yes, $50 per week for a gym membership you’re not using is very expensive.

2. I go to the gym 5 to 6 times every single week and never less than 3 times. So on a bad week, it’s $16 per class and on a good week, it’s $8 per class, which is entirely reasonable considering rent, trainers, equipment and insurance all need to be paid for.

3. I fucking love my gym. It’s an F45 (most of them are brilliant, I’m just super lucky to have a really great one near me) and it’s everything I’ve ever wanted from a gym class. It’s 45 minutes, it’s different every day, it goes by super quickly and I get excellent results. Being in good physical condition also means I feel better, I sleep better and I’m more productive. It’s an investment in my whole wellbeing, not just a gimmicky expensive gym membership.

I’m not saying you need to join an F45 (although you should, they’re ace), I’m saying that if you pay $30 per week for a salsa class you love that lights you up inside, keep doing it. It’s money well spent. If you pay a few hundred dollars for a theatre subscription and you love every play you go to see, keep paying that money. Cut it down in areas where it doesn’t matter so you have the room to spend it on things you love.

15. Meal plan 

For the first time in my adult life, I have a kitchen that isn’t a hallway, so I’ve gone to the dark side with my meal planning. I take it very seriously. Every Sunday I cook a big batch of chicken curry, caulirice, savoury mince and a frittata for our dinners and lunches for the coming week. I also make yogurt in my Easiyo and homemade whole egg mayo. The ingredients cost around $90 for a full weeks worth of food and at the end of the week, our fridge is empty, without a veggie drawer full of slimy lettuce we never got around to using. We recently bought a pressure cooker, which is like a slow cooker but fast (seriously they’re amazing) and it makes the best curries and casseroles. We just make a few meals on Sundays, pop them into portions for the week and we’re good to go.

16. Take your lunch to work 

One I always find if I each lunch out it’s never quite as satisfying as wanted it to be and I usually have to buy an additional afternoon snack to keep myself sated. If I pack my lunch from home, I know how much I need to pack to keep myself full and I don’t have to buy an overpriced afternoon snack to make up for my disappointing lunch.

17. Never buy bottled water 

It’s a massive waste of money and it’s terrible for the environment. I used to work in an office with a guy who would buy a bottle of water every lunchtime, bring it back to the work kitchen table and drink it, sitting in front a shelf full of glasses above a chilled, filtered water tap. Drove me bonkers. Just make sure a water bottle is a part of the everyday stuff you carry. Keys, phone, wallet, water bottle. Sorted.

18. Never buy bottled anything 

I went on a bit of a waste-free bender last year and stopped buying bottled drinks. I’d buy a few bottles of kombucha, a few cans of Diet Coke and maybe an almond milk cold pressed coffee here and there. Not only was it really expensive, it was totally unnecessary. I’ll still occasionally have a Diet Coke or something but I’ve cut back on the daily purchases and it’s made a big difference to my wallet and my rubbish bin.

19. Pay your bill on time 

Paying late fees is like setting money on fire. Put reminders in your phone to make sure you never miss a bill or better yet, just make sure that all bills are auto-paid out of your account that way you won’t get caught with late fees.

20. Regularly check your bank statements 

Just check in once a month and make sure everything is up to scratch. You might be paying for a subscription service you no longer use or an automated payment might be going through that doesn’t need to go through anymore. It might also make you aware of other expenses you’re wasting money on like that $8 muffin you buy a few times per week or an online shop that gets $100 from you every few days when you’re bored at work.

21. Buy second hand 

If I want to buy something, I always check Gumtree first. We’ve bought cameras, phones, computers, camping gear and even a treadmill off Gumtree.

What little things do you do that save money? Any tips to share?

P.S Also you should totally sign up for my newsletter. It’s full of cool stuff.
P.P.S Don’t forget Crochet Coach has a free trial offer period at the moment so make sure you sign up!

11 Comments

  1. Missy D 3 months ago

    Always a good reminder to reign in the money spending at this time of year. 🙂

    Some things I do:
    1. Walk/use free park gym equipment rather than join a gym (I don’t find gyms enjoyable or of value to me).
    2. Grow my own herbs and veggies (food is super important to me, so high flavour is a must), but you’re right that herbs are expensive, so I grow the ones I use regularly.
    3. Visit the famers market for my fruit and veggies.
    4. I also joined the library this year – no book buying. 🙁 But I buy digital subscriptions of the magazine I love (Money Mag) which is about $20 cheaper a year than receiving the actual magazine in the mail.
    5. Pay my insurances etc annual rather than monthly – you often get a discount doing it this way and you don’t have to think about it for a year.
    6. We use pre-paid mobile accounts with Boost – they’re a Telstra service that uses Telstra infrastructure (so great connections anywhere) without the price tag of being on a Telstra plan.
    7. I’ve started buying gifts for people as I see things all year round, rather than trying to wait until it’s their birthday or giving them the gift straight away. That way I’m buying them something meaningful without breaking the bank.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      I love this ‘I don’t find gyms valuable or enjoyable for me’. That’s what this kind of stuff is all about, finding the things you want to spend your money and dtiching the things that are a waste for you. And yes – the yearly payment thing can make a HUGE difference!

  2. Harlow 3 months ago

    I’m also that friend who will go shopping but not buy anything! I have a strict no impulse buying policy that I’m very serious about. I often get friends trying to convince me to buy stuff that’s fabulous but I stick to my guns unless the price is tooooo good. We are a household that tries to eat healthy too and most of our grocery expenses go towards fresh produce. I’ve decided to see if I can help that and planted a bunch of fresh herbs, cherry toms and lettuce greens. Hoping that it will save money over time! My partner and I used to be serious cafe coffee addicts (part of it was to do with having a great coffee place around the corner) and oh boy when I did the maths on what it was costing us…it’s been crappy gross Moccona at home ever since. Unless it’s a special occasion like catching up with someone in a cafe! Buying second hand is another huge thing. Op shops, Gumtree and Facebook Market Place is where it’s at! Every single piece of furniture in our house is second hand, it’s amazing how many good deals are out there…if you haven’t checked out FB market place before, I totally recommend it!

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      We did that too! We planted zucchini, eggplant and some herbs and it’s going mental! We get lots of second hand stuff off Gumtree too, love it. We also sell a lot of stuff on Gumtree!

  3. Michaela 3 months ago

    So much of what I buy is second-hand – from furniture, decor, kitchenware (if it’s in GREAT condition) and most obviously clothing.

    My workplace has a regular rotation of coffee pots in the break room, so I never need to spend money on that. Which is great, because I can easily go through 4-5 cups a day!

    I do eat mostly fresh produce and meat, but it’s actually really expensive here and definitely cheaper to just buy boxes of pre-made stuff or packs of ramen. But that’s one thing I won’t compromise on – I prefer to eat healthy.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      Fresh produce is varies so much! I live in a very Greek/Italian/European suburb now that’s full of amazing cheap fresh produce markets. I never want to leave!

  4. Alina 3 months ago

    1. I shop at certain retailers regularly, so I joined their memership programs and take advantage of their deals. Last year I saved up points worth $360 at Coles and $50 at Woollies which more than covered our Christmas food shopping, just by using Flybuys and Everyday Rewards throughout the year and taking advantage of special deals/offers. They also email me when products I often buy come on special (I stock up on the half price specials).
    2. Myer One send a $20 voucher every 3 – 6 months for showing the Myer One card when filling up on petrol at Caltex (I rarely shop at Myer and only for specific items when they’re on sale).
    3. RACQ membership gives many discounts incl 5% off giftcards such as Coles (save even more on groceries) and 4c/l off at Puma petrol stations. You can get similar deals with entertainment booklet, etc.
    4. I find it helpful to shop at Aldi first and then place an online order for items needed at Coles/Woollies. Online ordering helps me stick to my budget more easily because I can see how much I’m spending on my trolley as I go.
    5. I have several lists on my fridge/phone: ‘Aldi’, ‘Not Urgent’ (for online order), ‘Urgent’, ‘Chemist/Other’.
    6. A Meal Plan is a must for saving time and money! I wish I’d started this years ago. It’s probably taken me 6 months to get good at it.
    7. Keep a good supply of non perishable items so you don’t have to pay full price or run out for them when it’s inconvenient (incl prescription medications). I tend to buy other things I see when I’m out getting emergency supplies.
    8. Stock up on cheaper prescriptions every 21 days at the end of year once the safety net is reached.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs 3 months ago

      Ah! I do the Aldi/Coles shop thing too! Saves so much money. I also have a credit card with points and I get Westfield vouchers at the end of every year. It’s usually about $300 so I buy an appliance or some new gym gear with it.

  5. Soren 2 months ago

    Hey Smaggle. Some great reminders. We just got into Barefoot investor, and that little awareness has made a big shift in our thinking.

    Even changed banks as bank fees and atm charges add up if not careful. And setting up automatic debuts means you still get some money to spend. But you have your limit and when its gone, its gone.

    And bought a $5 thermos and i have hot coffee all day from home rather than the 8 i use to spend on the convenience of T/A.

    Id add Super and Insureance to shopping around for best deal. Long term game but adds up to a lot in the longterm.

    Hope all is well in your world. Thanks for the article! Soz.

  6. Katy Hunt 2 months ago

    unfortunatly I have no choice with utilities her in the west,, but amazing how much less meat I eat now I live alone… 🙂
    and I already do the other tricks . Being in the country I don’t get tempted with the range that is available. and even if you save up and have a list, after a while you think to yourself, ive spent far too much money today, and I don’t finish all my list

  7. Michele Cooper 2 months ago

    -You can use your smartphone to locate coupons whenever you are shopping online.
    -Skype instead of making expensive long distance calls.
    -You can also avoid buying premium gas for your car if the manual doesn’t specifically recommend it.
    -Also find if you can get cheaper gas prices in your area. You will be saving some money in the long run.

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