How to ACTUALLY save money (from a formerly broke gal)
All of my life, I’ve really struggled to save money. Perhaps it was my fast fashion addiction (as my mum would say!), or my penchant for brunch; but whatever it was, it was sucking the contents of my wallet every week.
It’s incredibly easy to fall into the trap of trying to keep up with fashion trends (that seem to be almost daily these days) by buying clothes that you’ll wear once and then stash them in the back of your wardrobe, never to be seen again.
When I decided to move overseas, I had exactly $345.76 in my bank account. I’d been working full time for a couple of years, and even though it was a crappy magazine wage it was still a full time wage. I made a plethora of silly purchases each week, that after paying rent, electricity, various bills and buying far too much food at work left me constantly on the verge of broke.
Moving over to the other side of the world is daunting enough, not to mention the added pressure of ensuring you’ve saved enough moola to support yourself for a few months. Especially when you want to travel for a while and don’t have any plans to formally settle down to (YET!). I asked around for a lot of advice, and people were incredibly helpful. Below are the tips and tricks that I’ve learnt along my saving journey:
Save all of your coins. Every single time you get home, go and empty the contents of your coin purse into a jar. You won’t miss the small change, and it’ll force you to break a note every time you purchase something, making you really commit to it.
Meal prep. Sure, it can be annoying to get home from work and prepare lunch for the next few days, but it’s even more annoying to be buying lunch and/or breakfast every day at work. Whether it means you just take leftovers from dinner or spend a sunday afternoon prepping food, meal prep will save you loads of money.
Transfer money each time you get paid. Set up an automatic transfer on pay day, so you don’t even need to think about transferring money to savings. This has been an absolute lifesaver for me and by the far most helpful for saving loads of money. You can’t miss the money if you never saw it there!
Make lists about necessary purchases. We all get the urge to go shopping, and a clever technique is to begin an essential shopping list in your phone. Chuck ANYTHING you might need to buy; friends’ birthday presents, cleaning products or work uniforms. Whatever it is, each time you get the urge to go shopping, you can and you won’t lose control because you’ve got an essentials list already.
Declutter and live simply. By stripping your wardrobe down to the basics and clearing your room of all the funky knick knacks you’ve collected over the years, you’ll realise how much unnecessary stuff you own. THere’s something incredibly freeing about having a clear, stripped back bedroom with only the essentials.
Sell your clothes. I owned more clothes than most people would in a lifetime, and I was getting upset at the thought of throwing away my clothes. There were a few pieces that were extremely expensive, and I realised I could easily resell them. I’ve been using Carousell to sell my clothes and possessions online, but I’m hosting a market stall to sell all my clothes. You are ALL formally invited, we will be at Glebe Markets on the 15th of July from 9am.
Use the “What if I don’t method”. It really, really works. Often when we shop we try to convince ourselves that we need the particular item we’re looking at. Go in the opposite direction, and ask yourself “What if I don’t?”. Will the world fall apart? Will you lose someone close to you? If the answer is no, then it’s not a necessary purchase.
Read The Barefoot Investor. My parents gave me this book for Christmas, and it completely changed my outlook on money and how to legitimately save it. It’s a super easy, fun read for a financial book, and everyone who has read it absolutely raves about it.
Go old school. Rather than going out to the new cafe down the road for brunch or meeting friends at an expensive bar after work, try having more company at home. You’ll save money on food, drinks and transport; it’s a winning combination!
Good luck with your saving venture, and I hope you manage to save enough to travel the world as well! Elle x