With so many money eating ventures on the horizon I dedicated September as my ‘stingy’ month. Stingy as in money, but defiantly not fun! What I’d set out to do was to have a race and save as much money as I could and report on some of the cheap adventures I took part in and how I made my money work for me.
Truthfully, I didn’t do as well as I wanted to. This month became “slightly stingy September” with a quick trip to Australia’s most expensive city, Sydney, as a Red Bull MOBILE Scout and other family and work related things leaving me out of pocket and not having saved as much as I’d anticipated.
5 Ways I’ve Saved
1. I cut back takeaway, coffee and other unnecessary treats
There is nothing better than a fresh brew when you’re bleary eyed, just want to crawl back into bed but have to be at work or Uni and one you don’t have to make is even better, but at AU$3.90 a cup it can add up quickly. I have totally eradicated my coffee drinking ways this month which has saved me a significant amount of money.
I generally have one coffee per weekday morning upping that to two if I’m meeting people. I approximate that I generally drink 30 coffees a month.
30 x $3.90
= $177 saving
With coffee also comes my bad habit of buying a cannoli ($2.50) or friand ($2.90) to eat for morning tea. Whilst the price sounds small, adding multiple coffees and treats up really stacks up (for both my wallet and my waistline!)
Another item I spend a crazy amount of money is pre-prepared food or takeaway. After being at work all day, and finishing at the gym around 8pm I just can’t be bothered cooking and this is where my friends Pad Thai, Ravioli and Sushi step in – and it’s not just a once a week meeting! This month the only takeaway I’ve had was in Sydney (where I was staying in a hotel so I didn’t a place kitchen to cook in.) Instead, I bought simple laksas from the supermarket (for around $2.50 each) and cooked them with a few pieces of chicken. Simple, delicious and without the $15 price-tag!
2. I visited the Farmers Markets
I’ve discovered a new love and it happens each week at the local show ground – the Farmers Market. I used to always poo-poo whenever my parents wanted to come (something about wanting to sleep in on a Sunday) but now I find it a savers treat. Come with a list though! I find if I don’t I’ll often go off on a tangent buying macarons (delicious) new season produce I’ve never heard of (to tast test) or vanilla bean honey (even more delicious!)
Last week I bought all my fruit and veg for about $75 (this is for a family of four not just me!) where as I’d spend about $100-$120 at the green grocers.
I haven’t measured how much I save by buying things at the farmers market yet but the fact I’m also supporting local farmers makes it worth every cent.
3. I took more shifts at work
I can already hear you saying “No way!” but consider finding something you actually enjoy and can be done casually. For me, I’ve worked at a radio station for three-years now and I’ve learnt one big thing – no one likes working Sunday nights but it can work to your advantage. With the station being 5minutes from my house, a lot of button pushing and a lot of listening it’s the perfect ‘extra’ job. I spend my time there doing Uni work or writing posts (such as this!) and listen for the cue to change put the ads in and then put the show back on air.
Sure, I could be doing other things during this time but I know I’d probably be doing exactly the same thing at home and not getting paid! My Sunday radio job has become my ‘on the side’ savings delight with all of it going directly to savings.
Whilst something like this may not work for you consider what is in your local area that could earn you a few extra dollars. Delivering pamphlets, newspapers, milk (yes, people still do that!), babysitting, washing cars at a crash repairs… anything works and it all adds up to an extra few days when you travel!
$50 – $200 Savings per month.
4. I used a piggy bank
Sounds kind of childish but this step actually led me to saving the most amount of money. Every day I would empty all the coins into the piggy bank and, if I didn’t need them for something else, the $5 notes as well. Whilst the rule was to not take any money out of the piggy bank.
It was kind of amazing to see how all my small change added up. I managed to save $367 in 4-weeks. If I didn’t eat out or buy coffee where did the change come from? Buying milk (I only buy small cartons because I’m not a big milk drinker) which need to be topped up every few days, paying for parking or bus tickets and even recycling plastic bottles and can (in South Australia we get 10c for every can taken to recycle centres and machines to do this have popped up throughout the city and University campuses as well!)
5. I created an eBay account
When I met Beverley from Pack Your Passport she told me about a few of the strategies she used to save $5000 in 6-months and eBay seemed to play a big role. I’ve always been an eBay skeptic but I figured to give it a shot. So now I have an account with a few items, mainly books and clothing I don’t need any more, and I’m waiting for a sale. One of the best tips she gave me was to use the product description effectively – include sizes and any other information that you think would be important when deciding to buy something.
Although nothing has come of it yet I feel I should include this because it’s a step I’ve made towards earning money. I will update you when I finally sell some of my items!
I have a few posts about Stingy September which I plan to post in the upcoming weeks. I apologise for being so slow getting them out for your viewing pleasure!
What are your best saving tips for at home? What about on the road?
Photo Credit: Images_of_Money