We’ve all been guilty of careless spending from time-to-time, but it really does pay to be more conscious about where you’re dropping your cash. Small savings can add up.
Don’t believe me? Well if you make the following minor adjustments alone, you may save yourself up to $6,403 a year. Put the extra cash in an account, or even a jar, at the end of each week and watch the savings grow.
1. Coffee & water
There is no denying that barista-made coffee is superior to the instant Nescafe in your office’s communal kitchen. But when you realise how much your daily fix is costing you over the course of a year, you may reconsider how essential it is.
Assuming you work full-time (based on a working year of 230 days) and you buy one $3.50 coffee a day, that’s $805 you are spending per year. That’s $805 you could spend elsewhere, or indeed save.
The same goes for bottled water, which can cost around the $3 mark for 600ml. If you refill a water bottle with filtered water from the tap instead of buying it, you may save yourself $3 a day – that’s $690 a year.
Total saving = $1,495
2. ATM fees
In Australia, many banks charge non-customers fees between $2 and $3 to use their ATMs. They may even charge up to 80c for a balance enquiry. However, banks normally waive these fees for their own customers.
Though it might take a bit of extra effort to find your own bank’s ATM (like walking an extra block) it pays to do this as these fees can add up to a significant amount. For example, say you withdraw cash from another bank’s ATM three times a week, and assuming you will be charged a $3 transaction fee each time, that’s costing you $468 per year. You may as well be giving money away. In instances where you can’t find your own bank’s ATM, consider withdrawing a larger amount of money to keep you going longer.
Total saving = $468
3. Grocery shopping
Planning ahead for your grocery shopping may take time and effort, but it’ll be worth it when you see how much you can save by doing so.
- Start off by writing a list of the items you need based on a meal plan for the week. If you plan on taking your lunches to work, as we suggest in the following tip, don’t forget to factor in what you will need for those meals too.
- Once you know your items, shop around for the best prices. Have a snoop around on supermarket websites for the things you know you’ll be buying. Supermarket specials often start on a Wednesday, sometimes on a Saturday. Then do your shopping at the one offering the most specials on the items you’ll purchase.
- Don’t be afraid to buy no-name. Australia’s supermarket wars mean that the big supermarkets are broadening their range of no-brand products and the stigma of buying ‘no-name’ is disappearing. I am also a fairly recent ALDI convert – I find that their brands are of a comparable quality and a helluva lot cheaper. For instance, you can save around $3 on a jar of organic extra virgin coconut oil at ALDI. I’ve taken to buying all of my pantry staples at ALDI. So far, no one has been able to tell the difference.
- By the end of the week, typically by Sunday, you may also find that some fresh items like meat are reduced. When I see big reductions, I snap up things like beef mince and chicken thighs. These items often come in bulk; I divide them into meal-sized portions and stick them in the freezer for future meals.
By doing these simple things, I am now saving myself $50 a week. That’s an enormous $2,600 a year.
Total saving = $2,600
4. Buying lunch every day
I was terribly guilty of this when I was working. For me, being time poor and a little lazy meant that I would grab lunch at the company café every day, which would set me back a minimum of $8 every day. That was $1,840 I was spending per year on lunches (again assuming a work year of 230 days).
I could have saved myself a fortune had I taken a little extra effort to package up leftovers from the night before or thrown ingredients for a quick salad together.
Total saving = $1,840
GRAND TOTAL = $6,403
These are four incredibly easy ways you can save dough. By making these small changes alone you have the potential to save a grand total of $6,403 per year. Just think about where else that money could go!
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