Like most people, I always would look forward to pay day. The difference with me is that I liked getting paid to add to my savings. Seeing more money grow and build in my account was way more exciting than going out and spending it all. Weird, I know, but that’s me…I can be a little odd at times. My last role included a standard salary and uncapped commission. (this was mostly the case until we all smashed our comms one month and they started capping things) My monthly savings goal was half my pay, along with all my commission. It would have been so easy to go out and spend big, especially on a comms payday. I also used any gift cards that I got through work programs towards practical things like the laptop I am writing this on. Resistance paid off though and in one year I managed to save $50k. No, I didn’t live off 2-minute noodles or never leave my house. Apart from trying hard to stick to my savings goal, there were other factors that played a part in making this happen.
I am not math nerdy smart or anything, I didn’t even do maths in year 12 as it was no longer required and my life felt amazing to be free of maths. What I do enjoy though is working out finances and budgets and making lots of lists. I spent a good amount of time figuring out a budget for the month which included, rent, bills, food, transport and spending money. The only problem I had was sticking to it. Most months even if I tried to be diligent, I always seemed to dip a little into my savings fund. Maybe my budget was too optimistic or didn’t allow for things that just always seem to pop up. I am sure using an app like Expensify would help keep me on track, either way, I never went too crazy with spending.
I was never a competition winner growing up, apart from this massive easter egg basket I won when I was about 4. Seriously can’t help but laugh every time I look at this photo. My friend said to my one day, ‘Well, do you enter any competitions? The answer was no, I guess not. It’s a lot easier then I thought to enter, as most of it comes on Facebook or an email subscription like boost juice and oz bargain. A sample of things I have won have been, movie tickets, concert tickets with meet and greet, Jillian Michaels VIP prize pack, food, wine and comedy shows. Most of these competitions were 25 words or less situation, but I don’t know if they ever read what is written as my entries were never anything interesting or eloquent. This meant there were lots of nights out for free. The only tip I have for competitions is just to enter, coz you may not win them all but for small things like movie tickets etc, you are probably 90% in with a chance to win.
Deals Deal Deals
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Well, some people may prefer to pay full price for everything but I am not ashamed to say send all the freebies and deals my way. One of the best investments foodies can make is to buy an entertainment book. The cost of this was $65 yearly, one year I bought two, a digital version and the paper copy. I found the digital version to be best as it can check your local area and you can narrow it down to food or activities etc. The book mostly was used for food deals, which meant either buy one get one free or 25% off the total bill. If I went out to eat and got a meal for $30 each, this meant meals were actually $15 with the buy one get one. These meals were usually top notch as well which meant we were getting a bargain. It was great too for finding new restaurants to try and many I went back to without using the book. At times it may have felt restrictive mostly going to the entertainment book restaurants but there was a good variety to choose from. Apart from that, the local pub did $12 steak nights, and lots of parma night deals around Melbourne too. Sites like Groupon can be valuable as well, as long as you use the voucher. I found sometimes the date passed before getting a chance to use it. Also, some of the deals on their site weren’t really as good as they stated. If you checked the restaurant’s website, you might have only been saving $10 instead of the 60% discount that Groupon claimed. It can take a bit of extra time looking up these deals but it’s totally worth it.
No More Buying Things
I have never been a huge spender, however, if I had my heart set on something I wouldn’t hesitate to buy it. This may have been kitchen appliances, yes I am older so this is the kind of stuff I like to buy. It may have been overspending on birthdays and Christmas presents. It also may have been buying something every time I went to Kmart, no matter how cheap, it all adds up. Before I was travelling the world, I wouldn’t think twice at booking a holiday getaway. Leading up to leaving, I had to really stop myself from buying things I really didn’t need but just wanted. e.g. An air fryer, purely to make ‘healthy’ chips. I also started doing markets on the weekend selling clothes and anything I wasn’t going to take away on the adventure. It was crazy to think back to all the stuff I had and just didn’t use or never ate, with a pantry full of food. I don’t ever want to go back into that situation again. Right now I am in the mode of if I buy something I need to get rid of something. I have about 40kg of belongings which I would also like to cull a bit more as time goes on. (Don’t window shop – if you can’t control spending)
List of more ways I saved money:
Cooking meals – Healthier way to eat instead of buying meals out
Taking homemade lunches to work – Leftovers is the easiest way for people who don’t like cooking much
Dan Murphy’s samples – On the weekend they might have some whiskey samples which can be fun to try before buying your alcohol
Drinking at home – You are more likely to drink less and buying a bottle of wine may cost $10 instead of $40 at the pub
BYO food popcorn to movies – Yes this might sound like the ultimate stingy move but who wants to pay $10 for a small popcorn
BYO sneaky drinks to events – I am sure we have all done this one at some point in our lives because $15 for a glass of wine really kills the wallet.
Bulk buy Costco – Looking back now all I can remember buying from Costco was bulk bacon but I am sure there were other things I purchased. MMMMM Bacon
Ride bike – My train ticket for the year cost $1680, this whole cost can be avoided with a 20min bike ride. This ride took just as long as the train did in my case and there was a bike track for the most part which made it safe.
Take water when going anywhere – Water is life and I can’t go anywhere without a big bottle. This also usually stops the excuses to buy a bubble tea filled with sugar.
Market Shopping – Not only is it cheaper to buy fresh produce from the local market but the quality is always better than buying from a supermarket. I also like to support the small businesses running these shops vs the massive corporations.
Camping – Most campsites cost around $30 per night, vs a hotel in the same around costing around $200 a night. Camping was a great way to getaway for a weekend without blowing the budget. I would have bbq for brekkie lunch and dinner most days. Yum!
What are some of the ways you have saved money to be able to travel?