I was listening to the radio the other day (the actual radio – what up 1996!) and they had a segment where they asked listeners to call in with their biggest money saving tips but the segment quickly dissolved into money wasting horror stories.
My favourite was a woman who paid for a monthly cheese box delivery and totally forgot she signed up for it. She just thought a weird secret admirer was sending her cheese every month for a year. I laughed at that one but then I’ve done things just as stupid. I once paid for the same magazine subscription twice and didn’t figure it out until I’d received two magazines for three months in a row. Genius right? I thought they were accidentally sending me two, so I was quietly gifting the extra magazine to a mate of mine until I actually figured out I was paying for it. It was penance for not being honest and telling them after the first month I was receiving two mags instead of one. Guilt got the better of me eventually.
No matter how savvy we think we are with money, most of us screw up every now and then. So I thought I’d put together a few money saving tips you’ve probably heard before but when you read them you’ll be like ‘I totally forgot about Gumtree! I’m so selling my Xbox…’
Sometimes you just need a reminder of the classic(andnot so classic) money saving tips…
I read about this ages ago and it just seems like such a sensible idea. Mr Smaggle and I do this with coins and we usually end up with a couple of hundred dollars at the end of the year and then we take ourselves out for a fancy dinner but this is next level. The premise is that you save every single $5 note you get for a full year. This woman has it done it for 13 years and has saved over $50,000. Just from not spending $5 notes. How unbelievably achievable does that sound?
About a year ago I stopped buying shower gel, hand wash and general cleaners. I use Dr Bronners for all that stuff now. We have these self-foaming pumps we bought from Muji and use watered down Dr Bronners in the kitchen, bathroom, shower and for general purpose cleaning. It saves us a fortune buying all the different types of soap you need for all the different things. We buy a big bottle about once a year and it’s $25. There are heaps of different scents but we always get peppermint because that’s the first one we ever bought and we love it so much we’re too scared to try a different one in case we don’t like it. We have a lot of soap issues. We still buy proper toilet cleaner and washing powder but everything else gets the Dr Bronners treatment. Including the cars… and I imagine pets if we had them.
3. Set yourself an allowance for clothing, entertainment, etc
Mr Smaggle and I aren’t foodies and we’re not super into fashion (we like good quality, long lasting clothing) but we’re very into travel so we give ourselves an allowance for that. We put aside an amount each year that we’re comfortable spending on travel and we stick to it. Which means that if we ended up overseas three times in the first half of the year, the second half of the year will be spent in Australia, doing road trips and weekends away. If you spend too much money in one area like restaurants, bars, clothing or shoes, set yourself an unbreakable allowance for that particular thing. If you have a bad habit of spending hundreds of dollars at the pub every weekend, try setting yourself a weekly limit of $50 and if you want to have a few bevvys, invite your mates around instead.
4. Think carefully about the gifts you buy
You might see a cute pair of earrings or a nice notebook and grab it for a friends birthday but if they never use that gift (and chances are, they won’t) it’s a waste of money. Think about taking them out for lunch instead or buy them a lovely bottle of wine to drink with them. It’s a much better use of your money than a random scarf they’ll probably stuff in a drawer and then donate to charity ten years later.
5. Shop your pantry
Did you know that most Australians throw away about 20% of the food they purchase? That equals about $1000 per household per year. It’s literally throwing money in the bin. Instead of going out and buying all the stuff you need for dinner for the week, have a look in your pantry or freezer, see what you have and build dinner around that. Got some mincemeat that needs using? Make taco bowls. Got half a packet of rice? Make something Mexican. Shop what you have at home and avoid wasting money and food.
It’s basically like an investment app to make investing super easy. You can hook it up to your credit card where it will round up every purchase you make to the nearest dollar and invest that money. I saved $600 last year with Raiz without even trying. They just took micro amounts of money that I didn’t even notice and invested it. It’s a great passive way to get into investing without a huge amount of risk.
Sidenote: Raiz used to be called Acorns but couldn’t be called that when it launched in Australia because of a naming rights issue so they called it Raiz instead. I just need everyone to know I came up with a much better name. ‘Gumnuts’. How cute is that? So much better than ‘Raiz’ and pays homage to the original name Acorns. If you need me to name something for you, I’m ALL over it.
7. Sell your old shit
You never know what someone will buy. We had an ANCIENT fridge that still worked fine that we bought off Gumtree years ago for $100. When we moved we were going to get rid of it but it still worked so we popped it on Gumtree and someone bought it. For $100. We basically had a free fridge for 7 years and we didn’t even have to pay someone to take it away. We put EVERYTHING on Gumtree. Camera gear, electronics, old magazines. Second-hand IKEA furniture even sells well on there. Even if you sell something you don’t need for $50, that’s still $50. So worth the effort of listing it. If you need some tips here’s an article about selling things on Gumtree.
8. Buy new shit second hand
We buy everything we can second hand. Our current fridge, drier, my Apple watch, our daughter’s stroller and heaps of our professional equipment like camera lenses were bought second hand off Gumtree or eBay. I’m certainly not against buying new stuff but if there’s something we need, we try to get it second hand first. We really wanted a Stoke stroller for our daughter but they were $3000 new and we got a second-hand one that was barely used for $600. Bargain.
9. Return things that aren’t great when you buy them online
I’m usually a stickler for this but the other day I bought a pair of tracksuit pants. I never wear tracksuit pants because I hate the way I look in them. These were a ‘skinny’ pair of tracksuit pants designed to look like tights. I put them on and they looked great… for 5 minutes. Then the knees went all saggy and they looked awful. I liked the way they fitted everywhere else so I cut the tags off and told myself I’d wear them. I haven’t worn them. I know a lot of people would rather forfeit $20 for a cheap top they bought online rather than go to the trouble of going to the post office to return them but you’ll save so much more money if you actually return the items you don’t like. I’m going to return these tracksuit pants anyway, even though I probably won’t get a refund because I’ve cut off the tags. I really hate them and if they can re-sell them that’s better than them cluttering up my cupboard not being worn.
Do you have any money saving tips you use? Care 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!