Get Smart: Saving Up The Smart Way

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I’m not the biggest spend thrift in the world. I have to admit: I tend to worry about spending too much on restaurants, prefer to stay in and watch netflix than hit the movie theaters etc.

But I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t want to be able to enjoy the finer things in life, whether that be upgrading our home with some clever interiors or being able to travel to foreign lands.

The truth is, for many of us in the developed world, luxuries like these aren’t far out of reach. All it takes is learning to effectively manage your money and save up for the lifestyle you have always craved is a way you can feel happy and healthy.

What do I mean by learning to “effectively manage your money”?

Get your head clear.. and your goals!

The first way you can save a little bit extra each money is to set yourself clear goals and stick to them throughout the month. If you have a value to work towards, it will make things much easier when you are planning your spending through the month. If you don’t already have a separate account for savings, you should open one. It will mean that you can put away a certain amount each time you get paid, and because it won’t be in your current account for you to see- you won’t be tempted to use it.

Pull the ol’ switcheroo

A really simple way to make $100 is to switch your bank. Many banks offer new customers over $100 to join up with them, so if you want a quick boost to your finances, open up a bank account with someone else. It could be what pays for your new phone deal, date night or even a few nights in a lavish apartment (recently I’ve been looking at some awesome ones in Indonesia, such as Overseas trips to places where your dollar is has more purchasing power is also another way to stretch your wallet – but that’s another point in itself!

Sometimes, switching credit card providers can give you sign up bonuses as well. This basically achieves the same effect (or even doubling the effect if you also get savings).

Bullet journal your spending

Tracking your spending is easier said than done, and to be honest, although online banking is amazing- sometimes pen and paper is the simplest and most effective option. Start a bullet journal and track your expenses each month. Write a list with every essential outgoing you have each month and the amount which comes out. Then write down your income for the month. Whatever is left once you’ve taken away your expenses is your flexible money. You can split this between your living, food, transport, lifestyle and savings. Tracking how you spend your money each month is more likely to motivate you to save because you can physically see the money coming out of your account as you write it down.

Use someone else’s budget

Making a budget each week for your food shop is another incredibly effective way of saving some cash. If you are feeding an entire family, it might seem like it is impossible to make your food shop any cheaper than it already is, but with some smart thinking and planning you can really make things much easier to manage.

Instead of picking out a different meal for each day of the week, pick one or two meals and make a big batch to eat throughout the week for evening meals and lunches the next day. One pot meals such as these  are amazing because they are simple to make, save you money on water for washing up, and are a delicious option for the whole family.

If you’re overwhelmed by the thought of having to come up with a meal plan, you can always head over to Pinterest and find (literally) thousands of delicious meal plans that other busy parents have already come up with!

Go old school coupon clipping

Get using coupons! I don’t know about you, but this was something my parents did (and still are doing to this day) and is something I grew up around.

Most of the time when you visit your local supermarket and buy a weekly shop, you’ll leave with coupons to use the next time you go. Sure, the things they offer might not always be what you want, but you could actually try and base some of your meals the next week around one f these coupons. Let’s say you have a voucher for potatoes; you could plan one of your meals for the week as jacket potato, or perhaps a warming stew or leek and potato soup. If you put your mind to it, you could save a lot on your shopping by paying attention to the offers.

Shop around for the best utility rates

If you feel like your house bills are becoming too much to handle, don’t be afraid to shop around. Visit a comparison site and see what the current rates are, you might be surprised to find that there are other companies offering the same deal as yours but cheaper. Switching your energy provider also provides another benefit: like with banks, if you switch to them and are a new customer, you could reap the benefits to your pocket. Most companies will offer you 10% off your first month or maybe even your first year at a discounted rate. So take a look and see if you could be saving on your household bills.

Use some leg power

Have you got a bike? If so, you could save money AND keep fit by ditching the car for short journeys and riding your bike instead. It will get your heart pumping, lungs burning and pockets saving. And even if you don’t have a bike, you could try and walk to the shops next time you need a pint of milk rather than hopping in the car.

Sell old items you no longer need

Clear out some of your old things by using sites such as eBay or Gumtree to sell items you no longer need. It will serve the purpose of decluttering your home and saving you a trip to the tip to get rid of old furniture. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, so don’t be afraid to put something a little more antique online, because there may be someone out there who is looking for the perfect finishing piece to their home, or the missing element for their project. You’ll be surprised what people will take off your hands.

Keep an eye on your mortgage and loan rates

If you currently have a mortgage make sure that you monitor the interest rates. Because if the rates are high right now, you are probably best sticking to a tracker mortgage so that if the rates drop, your payments will too. However, if there is a sudden dip in interest rates, bag yourself a fixed term so you can stay on that low rate for as long as possible without worrying about interest shooting up again.

I’ll admit that it’s a bit of a pain to keep track of interest rates, but it takes just a couple of minutes every month. For you to save thousands of dollars in the long run – is it worth it? Definitely!

Quit the gym, go outside!

If you are thinking of joining the gym, don’t. A gym membership can cost you a lot of money throughout the year, and it is money which could be saved to spend elsewhere. You don’t need a gym to stay fit, you can do some amazing workouts at home or join a local sports team.

Now take action

In this article, I’ve provided just some ways that you can more effectively manage your money by incorporating a couple of good habits, and cutting out unnecessary spending. Now that you’re equipped with the knowledge, it’s time to go out and take action! Even implementing one piece of advice here might save you a bucket load of money. So get cracking!