People are always looking for ways to save money or live a cheaper lifestyle, especially if you want to travel or buy a home your disposable income quickly is eaten up by your savings or mortgage.
A couple of months ago I went to the USA and Mexico and to make that financially possible I looked at ways of becoming more Thrifty.
Here a few tips I have for you, some may be common sense or not very life changing but every little bit counts.
GET A SECOND JOB OR ASK FOR MORE SHIFTS: So far between rent, internet, phone, electricity and gas bills, car registration & unexpected expenses like getting fined for jaywalking and a rock smashing windscreen on motorway I have needed to take up working every second Saturday (on top of my regular 9-5 Monday to Friday) this is thoroughly exhausting and not for everyone but I am certain the end goal was worth it!
Taken by yours truly ~ TULUM, MEXICO, SEPTEMBER 2017
SHOP AROUND: Ironically my jaywalking ticket was as a result of trying to be thrifty and it ended up costing me more. I wanted a strawberry milkshake ($6 from café across from my office) I opted to get an Oak Strawberry milk from Woolworths across the road for $2.75, my $3.25 saving ended up costing me $72.25 more! (Side note: I am no law breaker all I did was cross the road 3 seconds before the little man went green, after the cars had stopped on the red, endangering no one! Unlucky for me an eagle eyed tax collector masquerading as a highway patrol officer was at said red light, this ticket was my first EVER! and defiantly my last! I felt the ticket was not about law enforcing or public safety it was pure revenue raising and soul destroying!!! I would still recommend going to Woolworths and saving an extra $3.25 just make sure you don’t cross the road seconds before the green man appears!
Other things to shop around for are a better deal on your insurance, utility providers, accommodation – anything and everything! Make a regular habit of checking to see if you are still under contract, are you getting the best rate or plan available to you. Question price increases, chances are you can find a better deal elsewhere or persuade the company to give you a discount for loyalty of not leaving to get a better deal, this has worked for me with my phone/internet provider, as well as storage company. Another thing to check is your bank, are you paying too many fees, can you find someone offering free account keeping fees, start with your own branch I never realized I was entitled to zero account fees until I asked saving me $60 per year which is 850 MXN Peso!
You could get entry into Frida Kahlo’s house and still have 760 left over just on that one saving per year!
Picture of Courtyard taken by me at Frida Kahlo's House Mexico City - October 2017
MORNING COFFEE: The oldest trick in the book is to cut out your morning coffee (and save approx $1,000 per year!) but If you are like me and do not want to miss out on your $4.30 flat white with extra shot from the café downstairs that used to have a cute barista, at least pick up their loyalty card. Getting your coffee on a Monday morning for FREE will make your day a little brighter trust me, and make you feel less bad about the $20 you spend a week on coffee!
My Instagram photo of a Soup bowl super sized coffee on my first morning in Los Angeles. DTLA September 2017
LUNCH SPECIALS: Check out your favourite restaurants for lunch specials, I know my local Thai and Indian lunch specials are $9.90 & $7.90 compared to the $15+ per dish spent in the evening. Pick up lunch specials and put in the fridge at work to take home for tonight’s dinner. Thai or Indian for 2 delivered in the evening can be in excess of $45 compared to the $15-$20 lunch specials, over time that is a potential $65 per week you could be saving.
MEAL PLANNING: I touched on this slightly with lunch specials, I try to make lunch at work as much as possible, even if it means eating peanut butter on toast every second day. Also plan evening meals, if you know you are going to dinner with a friend or out for a special occasion budget for these things (look up the menu before you go) and more importantly don’t buy unnecessary food for home. If you are like me and buy fresh and you know you are only going to be home for dinner 5 out of 7 nights only buy enough food to make 5 dinners, the savings will add up in the long run.
CAR VS PUBLIC TRANSPORT: I gave up catching the train to work – I know I know Carbon footprint etc but I realized a couple of things that made more fiscal (not socially responsible) sense. By catching the train I was spending $80 per fortnight on Opal (train ticket) as well as spending $23.07 a week just to own a car (registration/ insurance) and by leaving my car at home it was still costing me money! Petrol to get to and from work is less than $80 per fortnight so it just made more sense to sit in peak hour listening to music in comfort alone with the heater on vs. sitting (in peak hour mostly standing) on a cold train with 100s of people coughing all over me. I am also saving a fortune on taxis from the train station, as often I would get caught in an unexpected rainstorm or be carrying heavy parcels and didn’t want to make the 1km trek home. I am also more productive at work, not contracting nasty colds shared on public transport.
SELF CONTROL: I have also stopped buying random things and clothes and makeup until it is thread bare or down to the last drop. I am sure everyone can cut back somewhere on something and be amazed at the savings.
Other money saving ideas include: Growing your own vegetables, buying second hand goods, getting things for free from freecycle groups on facebook.
STAY WITH FAMILY & FRIENDS: Full disclaimer I have family who recently moved to the USA and my Best Friend recently moved back to Mexico so I only stayed and paid for 5 out of 20 nights in accommodation as the rest was spent with family and friends and one night paid for by Virgin Australia for cancelling my flight home.
If you have any more great money saving ideas leave them in the comments below.