10 Creative Ways To Save (That Don’t Include Giving Up Coffee)
Outlandish saving strategies can make even the strongest soldier weak at the knees. A whole week without coffee? No thanks. Give up Netflix for a month? Hard pass. And my personal favourite: ditch brunch in favour of a home cooked meal. Sorry but that’s just never going to happen. Brunch is life.
For many of us, giving up on all of our favourite things only leads to heartache, pain, and a week of shame spending to make up for all the lost coffees and brunches. So in an effort to better our bank accounts without giving up too much of our daily routines, we’ve compiled a list of creative ways to save. And I promise, these hacks won’t make you want to pull your own hair out (because that’ll just cost you money). Here goes.
#1 Delete your details from online accounts
It’s just all too easy to buy things online now – especially when websites have your details stored for future purchases. So make it harder for yourself to spend – sign out of your iTunes and PayPal accounts, take away your credit card details from your ASOS account, and definitely turn off that “helpful” feature that stores your card details on your computer, so that when you next go to purchase something you actually have to get up and look for your card.
You might just decide leaving your bed/desk to go look for a flimsy piece of plastic might not be worth it and cancel your order. Let’s just hope you haven’t memorised your card number – then that’s just going to be a whole other uphill battle.
#2 Unplug appliances
According to energy experts, plugged in appliances are often responsible for adding 10% or more to your monthly utility bill – yikes. Turning off appliances sounds simple enough, but we can often forget how dangerous it is to have these energy “vampires” sucking up power when we’re not even aware of it. So make a conscious effort to remove phone chargers, lamps, TVs, kitchen appliances and hair dryers from their outlets when they’re not in use.
#3 Try a staycation instead of a trip away
There’s really no need to spend exorbitant amounts of money on a far off land when there’s plenty to see here in our own backyard. Staycations are great: do a little bit of research and plan yourself a killer weekend itinerary that gets you out of the city and into an unknown part of town – it’s sure to be an adventure that soothes both your soul and wallet.
#4 Pack your lunch
Yeah yeah, it sounds easy enough – so why aren’t you doing it? I promise you, that $14 salad from the corner cafe will taste a whole lot better when it’s been created by you for a fraction of the price. We have a few excellent ideas for your next packed lunch here, here and here – and there’s not a Vegemite and cheese sanga in sight.
#5 Learn the art of the re-sell
Recoup some costs by selling some items in your wardrobe you no longer want. While you probably won’t get everything back that you spent, if you aim to sell on while the item is still in season, you’re bound to get a good bounty back nonetheless. There’s a trillion ways to sell your things – eBay, Gumtree, weekend market stalls and Facebook selling groups are a good place to start.
#6 Resist using the heater/AC
I know, it’s bloody freezing out there. But there are a bunch of ways to stay warm and save money this winter, and it begins by letting go of your portable heater dependence. Opt to use blankets and hot water bottles to keep your tootsies cosy and warm, but if you must use the heater, use it economically. Namely, program your heater to turn on 20 minutes before you wake up, and turn off 20 minutes before you leave the house or go to bed – there’s no use paying for wasted heat. And similarly in summer, ease up on the air con.
#7 Try doing cash-only weekends
Set yourself a budget for the weekend taking in to account the various activities and grocery shopping that’ll be done, then hit the ATM on Friday afternoon to take out your weekend spending money. Limiting yourself to only cash means you’ll have physical evidence of how much you’re spending and are therefore less likely to conveniently (or recklessly) paypass everything as you go.
#8 Use sliiiightly less of everything
If you’re serious about saving, it’s time to get stingy. Squeeze a little less shampoo, pour a little less cereal, use a little less blueberries in your morning smoothie – you probably won’t even notice the difference, but it’ll save you big bucks in the long run.
#9 Grow your own veggies
It’s both satisfying and surprisingly easy. But don’t take my word for it – hear it from the experts.
#10 Take advantage of free fitness classes
When it comes to fitness, it’s often easy for it to take a back seat in favour of more important things like rent and food – but getting exercise doesn’t always need to be a high-priced luxury. Sure, some gym memberships can cost you an arm and a leg, but there’s also a whole world of free (or heavily discounted) classes you can sign up for that won’t send you into a direct debit shame spiral. You know, the one when you sign up for the gym but never end up going but you keep getting reminders of your failure by the fortnightly direct debit that’s taken out of your account? Boy does that suck.
To find these elusive free classes, you’ve just got to do a little digging – for instance, did you know Melbourne host free fitness classes at Fed Square on Tuesdays and Fridays? There’s even a free bootcamp at Sydney’s Hyde Park on Mondays and Wednesdays, and everyone’s favourite activewear brand Lululemon host free yoga classes throughout the year. So it’s not as dire as it may seem.
Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.
h/t The Zoe Report