’m not quite what anyone would call a tight arse but I’m definitely very frugal with my money. My credit card statement is nearly identical nearly every month. Groceries, groceries, rent, groceries, cheap takeaway Vietnamese dinner, groceries. There’s usually a budget airline plane flight in there somewhere and a few bottles of wine but that’s honestly it.
My partner and I both work for ourselves and our money situation is always a bit precarious, so we need to be very careful with our budgeting to stay on track. If you have a bit of a struggle with your every day financial situation, here’s how to stop spending money…
Pay only in cash
It’s very easy to get credit card happy these days particularly with paywave where you just have to tap your card and go but this is how you end up over spending, because money doesn’t really exist when it lives on a magical little card. If you’re really serious about sticking to a budget, withdraw your budget amount in cash for that week and once you’ve spent it, you’ve spent it. This will stop you from dropping $25 on a casual lunch when you couldn’t be bothered to make sandwich and it will also stop you impulsively spending $50 on a Thursday night at the pub.
Open a long term deposit savings account
If you really struggle with keeping your savings in tact, you need to open a long term savings account. Choose one with consequences if you really want to challenge yourself. I have a savings account with a a very high interest rate, and all I have to do is make a deposit of $100 every month and not withdraw any money from it at all. It’s not a huge amount of money to save each month but it makes such a difference. If I put aside $100 every month for 10 years, that’s $12,000. Whenever I get a big cash injection, like if I’ve finished a project, I always put the excess in the my high interest savings account too, to give it a bit of a boost.
Decide where you want to cut corners
If you’re trying to save money, you don’t have to cut corners everywhere. I tend to start waxing my own legs and doing at-home hair dye jobs when I’m a bit strapped for cash because I’d rather spend my money on nice wine and travel instead. Choose one or two things that are your ‘no scrimp’ items – that could be concert tickets, dinners out, fancy food, whatever – and then scrimp on everything else. If fancy wine isn’t important to you, buy cheaper stuff and use that money towards the things that matter to you like books or beautiful shoes.
Stop saying yes to everything
Entertainment, food and beverages are expensive and depending on where you live they can be very, very expensive. If you say yes every time some one asks you to go out for dinner, you’re never going to save money. Limit your entertainment spending to once a week. A glass of wine you drink in your own home is about a quarter of the price of a glass of wine in a fancy bar. If you look back through your eftpos card or credit card statements, you should be able to see where your trouble spots are. Give yourself an entertainment and stick to it.
Stop automating your payments
Instead of automating payments, set reminders to make payments manually. If you go into your bank account and manually transfer your gym membership fees, credit card payments or phone bill it will make you more aware of where you’re spending money and most importantly, where you’re wasting it.