Here’s A Super Simple Hack To Easily Save More Money
For some people, putting away a reasonable amount of money each month is a no brainer. These are the people that are honed in the fine art of rising interest and responsibility. For other people, the priorities are a little different. These are the people who have money slipping through their fingers faster than they can say “Yes, I know guac is extra”. This article is for the latter of those people.
Sometimes it’s simply difficult to save money because there doesn’t seem to be a lot of it around. The general cost of living sucks the numbers right off your savings account. However, if you’re thoughtful and strategic with your money, a little of it can go far. And one clever way to keep track of your spending is to keep lists.
Here are four lists to fill out and track to get you thinking about where your money is going and why:
The Goals List
Think about your day to day, week to week, month to month routine and write down what you’d like to achieve on a long term basis. Are you saving for a holiday? A house? A nice pair of sneakers designed by a celebrity?
Make a financial goal that reflects this so you know what you’re working towards. Say you need to save $20,000, write down the figure and a realistic deadline and update how much you’re saving intermittently. You could even add in that you want to earn a certain amount of money from a side hustle, or that you’d like to make a small income from your hobbies.
Start with anything you can realistically cut out to save costs. Some examples could include making a goal of “Not taking any taxis or Ubers” or “Not buying takeaway” and update your progress month by month.
This is the space for any type of financial goal or improvement you’d like to focus on. This is the ribbon at the finish line. Keep it somewhere visible so you’re reminded of what you’re working towards.
The Big Expenses List
This one is key. Do you ever get to February and all of a sudden it’s your sister’s birthday, your Mum’s birthday and your best friend’s birthday in the same week? I mean, probably not. That’s a pretty specific circumstance. How about: are you ever in a situation where you have a solid stream of events you need to buy presents for? Yeah? That’s better.
Well, this list makes room for stuff like this so you’re not caught off guard. Make sure to write stuff down like car rego, wedding gifts, down payments on a course. List anything and everything you can think of as a possible expense that could set you back a few hundred. Just writing them down will put you in the right frame of mind to set aside the money and still be able to add to your savings.
The Grocery List
The most effective way to save money on food each week is to stick to a list. Ever wander through the aisles and pick up something that you think you need or you think you’ll use one day but never do? That’s the danger of listless shopping. Not to mention that it’s not so good for your health (“A family pack of crispy m&ms for $3? What a bargain!”) or your fridge (“Oh dear, that head of cauliflower sure has grown a lot of mould.”).
Figure out what you need by flicking through recipes and meal planning, make a list and stick to it. Another one to keep note of are things that are running low. Make sure you keep an ongoing inventory of beauty products, toilet paper and cleaning stuff you should keep up to date before you do your big shop. By keeping track of when these items are running low, you avoid running to the supermarket to pick them up last minute. And we all know a last minute supermarket trip means leaving with the one thing you need and seventy three things you don’t. It’s also motivates you to buy things in bulk if they’re on sale.
The Wastage List
This one keeps track of the things you unknowingly waste each month. It helps you reassess how much stuff you actually need so you can cut down on things you didn’t even realise you could cut down on. That head of cauliflower you let rot in the back of your fridge should be written down, as well as half cans you ended up throwing away or leftovers you didn’t get to in time. After you’ve assessed the wastage for each month, add up the estimated total. It might surprise you. The wastage list is necessary for you to have a long, hard look at your shopping habits.
Then you can turn things around. If you have a recipe that only needs half an onion, find another one you could use it in. Or, see if there’s a way to double the quantity. For example, I’ve got this cookie recipe that uses half a can of condensed milk so I always double it to make sure I use the whole can. Twice the cookies, twice the savings. (Not really, condensed milk is like $2.50 a can but you get the idea.)
Keeping on top of your goals and your spending habits is a really simply, easy way to build up some extra money in your bank. Even if you don’t have a huge savings goal, tightening the purse strings a little will give you so much more freedom for the things that matter.