Saturday, June 6, 2009

How to save money

There was an amazingly dumb article in Sunday's paper a few weekends ago that put forward really stupid ideas about how to save money. Gah!

For example: Buy a dress and wear it more than once. What an idea! The novelty of wearing something twice! ZOMG that makes me want to smack someone up the side of the head.

There were a few good ones but mostly dumb so here are 20 ideas I have for saving money (I can come up with 20 just right now, so it can't be that hard!):
  1. Get organised in your house/home. A lot of spending extra money comes either because you can't find things and go and buy another one, or you don't know that you have something so you don't know you can / have to use it. So go to Ikea or Tupperware or Bunnings or Target or whereever you want to get things to pack your stuff away and label it and use it. You'd probably be horrified at just how many pens you own, for eg, if you got them in one place. It also means that you can find something when you need it!
  2. Get organised in your day. If you're going out, take water and an apple and some nuts and dried fruit and save on a snack, and a drink. Plan your day so you're home for lunch or dinner or a main meal. Eat a decent breakfast before you go and eat something as you travel as well if it's a little later.
  3. Freeze things as you go. Meat in bulk. Vegetables. Fruit. Icecubes. Celery. Cheese. Butter. Bread. That kind of thing. It saves time, trips to the supermarket and eating out because you have things on hand to make food with.
  4. Be willing to earn money. Don't decline any offer of financial return for your skills, time, attendance, help or effort.
  5. Know that saving money is not about not spending money. You will have to spend money, but spend it judiciously. Go to the dentist, but skip the teeth whitening. Find a great hairdresser who DOESN'T cost the earth and wait 8 weeks between cuts or longer if you want. Buy storage items and be neat. Maintain a sewing machine and learn to sew, mend and make.
  6. Get a notebook for the car and write a note of the kms on the odometer when you fill up. Do it each time you fill up. Keep an eye on the odometer and see if it influences how much you drive. Also have an eye on how often you're filling up.
  7. Repair things around the house - I have a glass vase that had separated front from back, and for a few $$ I bought some silicone and fixed it. Easy! New vase! Totally worth it when the roses are so gorgeous at the moment.
  8. Reuse: wrapping paper, tissue paper, newspaper, plastic wrap etc etc - our mothers did it and we can too.
  9. Recycle: I had a table that we didn't use as it was ugleh and I bought some laminate paint ($42) and received a sample of Pentrol and voila! new table! And it is SOSEXY bright purple and it is unique and recycled.
  10. Realistic: are you drinking champagne on a beer budget? Are you realistic in what you earn and what you need and therefore what you should put your money to?
  11. Reduce: how many times have you ordered a sandwich and added extras to it that you barely think about while eating (avocado I'm looking at you)? Consider making a small reduction each time you eat in particular - a small coffee not a medium one, two fewer fillings on a sandwich, less sauce on your pasta, that kind of thing.
  12. Reskill: if you learnt something as a kid, update that skill (sailing, knot tying, crochet, camping) and apply it in a new way. Or look at your local hardware store, adult college, library etc and see what they have to offer!
  13. Garden in some form or another for psychological
  14. Declutter so that you have what you use and use what you have. It will keep you interested and busy and happy.
  15. Cook and eat at home. It saves money. Have a stocked pantry so you can at least whip up pasta and a tin of flavoured tuna. I'm not saying don't use any convenience foods but really, it takes 15 minutes to make a pasta that is healthy if you have a few items in your pantry.
  16. Pursue a dream - get off the rat race merry-go-round and do something you Want To. In my world of perfect children, great thighs and wearable bathers (also known as la la land) if you do something you hate doing, 5/7 days a week, you are going to be miserable and unfulfilled. This meants that you will fill that emptiness with Stuff. And Things. To fill the void that is there because you are doing something you hate or at least dislike more than the benefits are worth. And possibly justify it by saying that you earn a lot of $$, or you will earn in the future. I'm not saying that you have an entitlement to love every minute of your job and yes, you do need a job to get by. But if you're only working in a job you hate so that you have the money to salve your soul because you work in a job you hate, you're doing it wrong.
  17. Cut back and still enjoy. Use less shampoo or go 'poo less. Phase out sugar in your coffee, or coffee in your day. Walk instead of driving, catch the bus, borrow books etc etc.
  18. Borrow, lend, barter and trade with friends and family: need a drill? hot glue gun? sewing machine? cookbook? blue coat? cocktail dress? Ask around! If you're needing it for a special occasion then don't bother buying it, but borrow it instead.
  19. Skip the clothes shopping and buy a sparkly headband, coloured and/or patterned tights, great cheap shoes, and op-shop bargains when you actually need something! I've not "shopped" for a year and going strong on it - I shop from my cupboards and am surprised with what I find. I also have a "1 in, 1 out" rule so I have to get rid of something before I buy something new. Keeps me from needlessly throwing out things I still love. I also keep a list of things that I need, and I check with it whenever I say "yeesh I need a new thingamajig" and if it's on there, then I may actually need it, and not want it. For eg, I need long sleeved winter tops as I live in them over winter (with a tshirt over them at the moment, and later with a sweater over it) but own 1 at the moment.
  20. Learn how to care for yourself and your family: Colour your own hair or get someone else to do it (or cut it if you're brave, skilled, or not attached to it), learn how to paint your toes, wax your legs, do your eyebrows or whatever else you need to. Do a first aid course, learn to use power tools and gardening tools, and take care of more things yourself. It may cost a little money to gain the skills you need but the investment is worth it.

2 comments:

Eve said...

"# Pursue a dream - get off the rat race merry-go-round and do something you Want To. In my world of perfect children, great thighs and wearable bathers (also known as la la land) if you do something you hate doing, 5/7 days a week, you are going to be miserable and unfulfilled. This meants that you will fill that emptiness with Stuff. And Things. To fill the void that is there because you are doing something you hate or at least dislike more than the benefits are worth. And possibly justify it by saying that you earn a lot of $$, or you will earn in the future. I'm not saying that you have an entitlement to love every minute of your job and yes, you do need a job to get by. But if you're only working in a job you hate so that you have the money to salve your soul because you work in a job you hate, you're doing it wrong."

Yes, this. This is what I'm trying to do, and this absolutely makes so much sense. Good list, Em!

kgirl said...

I love your list - seems to offer far more pertinent advice on frugality than "wear a dress twice"!