Are you living your dream life?
If not, it’s likely because you can’t afford to live the life you want.
The truth is, wishing for change won’t work. There is more to reaching and realising your financial goals than simply making resolutions for the same. Financial resilience and investments may help, but they’re not the first step.
The first and most crucial step to achieving such goals is by learning to keep your budget on the low, and saving. The more money you can save per month, the easier it will be to realise your goals.
Whether looking to buy your first home, to pay off a huge debt, or even build an investment portfolio, you have to learn to save now to enjoy financial flexibility later.
Here’s how you find financial freedom.
1. Take Advantage of Money-Saving Apps
Almost everyone today owns a smartphone.
Use your smartphone to help you save some money. There’s a wide range of apps that can help you save some money while shopping online. From budget planners to saving tips, your smartphone can become a financial advisor and money manager in your own hand.
These apps are particularly helpful if you buy from one store, it will help apply coupons on orders you make, thus earning some of your money back. It is a great way to save money while shopping.
2. Switch to Cash-Only Payment Method
Paying cash for every purchase you make could save you lots of money in the long run.
The benefit of paying cash is that you can keep track of how much you spend on a purchase to the last penny. Paying electronically (swiping credit/debit cards) could cause you to spend more than you need to.
Adopting a cash-only payment method also limits you from overspending (you cannot use the money you don’t have on you). This can however only work if you leave your debit or credit cards at home when you go shopping. Determine how much you wish to spend on your shopping before leaving the house.
3. Avoid Convenience Stores
If you haven’t noticed this already, prices for everyday commodities will vary from one shop/store to the other.
Buying groceries at the local store will be much cheaper than shopping at a convenience store. In addition to this, you might want to shop for items in bulk to save even more. An excellent example of this is coffee – while a cup of coffee costs around $4, you’d save much more if you bought the entire bag of coffee and brew your coffee. This applies to eating out as well – so stay disciplined.
4. Cut Down on Utility Bills
For many people, there’s no escape from utility bills.
There are however strategies you can adopt to help keep your utility bills on the low. One way to do this is by installing low-flow faucets and showerheads to your bathroom. In addition to this, investing in a smart thermostat can also help lower your heating bills significantly. An energy audit may also help save you a few more coins in the long run.
5. Avoid Paying Interest
Don’t just stop using your cards, cancel them altogether. These cards will continue to accrue interest even when you don’t need them.
Cancelling the credit card reduces the risk of wasting money on interest to the credit company. First, call the credit company to see if they can offer you a lower interest rate. It would also be a wise idea to switch to an interest-free credit card.
According to the financial experts from Lend, it’s not about cancelling debt as quick as possible, but moving it to where it generates the least interest. They explain “transfer any remaining debt to the new card, then formulate a plan to pay the debt off. Take a good look into your credit card statement to see how much should be paid to repay the debt. Paying the minimum balance might not be enough.”
6. Learn to Cook/Prepare Your Meals (At Least Once A Week)
Ordering takeout or eating out will only increase your expenditure.
With many people leading busy lives, getting enough time to prepare your meal each day can be nerve-wracking. Setting aside a day when you can make and cook food to last you a week is a better approach to minimise such spending. All you have to do is cook the meals and freeze them. This way, you can warm portions of the foods when you come home. Investing in a slow cooker might save you the hustle as well.
According to the nutritionist experts from Get A Healthy Life, there are some super simple time saving tips to help you prepare food and save money quickly. They explain, “set aside time at the start of your week to prepare your meals for the week. After this, pack all the food and freeze them properly. The food should last you at least a week and retain all the health benefits by being frozen. This will help you reduce unplanned spending on food during the week and let you stay on top of your spending.”
7. Handle Minor Repairs and Maintenance Yourself
Handling most of the home repairs and car maintenance could save you lots of money.
The internet is already flooded with ‘how to’ videos on how to fix most household and car problems. This ranges from changing your air conditioner filter to organising repairs for your dryer. You might however not be a DIY person. If this is the case, you could ask someone with a proper understanding of the various repairs and maintenance needs to train you.
Most of the repairs are quite simple to handle. According to the maintenance team at Brian Thurtell Plumbing, “changing the filters, or car oil, yourself could save you thousands of dollars in a year. Learn to handle most repairs and maintenance yourself and you won’t just be upskilling, but keeping money in your pocket too.”
8. Consider Used Items
Used items are considerably much cheaper for the quality.
Some people will want to get rid of their ‘cooker’ after using it for 6 months, or even a fridge after a year. Such appliances (among other items) will still be in perfect condition. Buying used items allows you to save more money, and at times, save enough to buy the brand/model you have always wanted. eBay and Craigslist is the first place to look for used items.
You could also visit a consignment shop or yard sales for discounts on various items. By adopting second hand tactics like this you may be able to avoid asking for loans from friends or family members which bring their own unique challenges.
9. Take Advantage of Product Offers
Some items, such as electronics and clothes, will cost a lot more when new.
Don’t buy such things on their release date, wait a few more months for the prices to drop to get yours. The few weeks or months wait could save you up to 50% of the original price. This strategy might, however, seem too much if you prefer getting the latest and trending fashion on the market.
10. Hire Someone to Shop for You
Some people rarely get time to shop for essentials required in their homes (e.g. groceries).
Others will buy anything and everything hence cannot stick to a shopping list. Having someone do your shopping for you can however help prevent impulse buying. You could hire a shopper or shop in stores that deliver items ordered online. Some grocery stores will even offer to deliver your purchases free of charge.
Jessica Stewart is an Australian writer and a Business Administration student living in Sydney. She has extensive knowledge of financial data and project management topics. Jessica has a passion for photography and when she’s not studying or writing, you’ll find her outdoors capturing still shots of perfect scenery.