It is far too easy to lose track of where your money is going. Spending is simple with a tap here and a tap there. Before you know it, your pay is gone.
During December to February I realized I had been purchasing non-stop. ALL meals were from either cafés or restaurants. OMG!! Yes, I had been spending far too much time with my ‘latte-drinking friends.’
What has happened to me??? My social life has taken over. I’ve lost control of the money I am spending.
This has to stop. NOW. It is too dangerous to keep spending out of control and not save.
I decided to set myself a challenge. I love a challenge. Six months of tracking every dollar spent. This is the easy part. The tricky part is then to cut down on unnecessary expenses.
From my expenses, I have found six simple ways to save money FAST.
Put all expenses onto a credit card.
I was astounded by what I was spending my money on. Too many coffees at work, with people I don’t even like!! Breakfast and lunches at trendy cafes with my ‘foodie girlfriends’ and purchasing too many bottles of water were the highlights of my weekly expenses.
I would use a mixture of cash and my savings account to pay. However, I was losing track of exactly what and how much I was spending each day. I did not have a record.
A credit card helps you keep track of every cent spent. It provides a date and time for all expenses. You can export all your expenses from the Bank’s website into an excel spreadsheet, so that you can be horrified with what you find.
Open a credit card, which offers points;
- Day one starts each payday
- Pay the credit card off entirely each payday. The balance needs to be reset to zero. This will show you how much you are spending each pay period
- Have a credit card linked to frequent flyer points
Use the points on the credit card.
Now that you are putting all of your expenses onto one credit card, the loyalty points will start adding up. Quickly.
Use these points. Don’t let them expire or just sit there for a rainy day. USE THEM.
Become savvy in café and restaurants
All social outings and work meetings involved eating and drinking in restaurants and cafes.
I was spending up to AUD$65 per day on food and coffee. Seriously!! What is going on???
Now I have this down to AUD$9. Saving AUD$57 per day.
To avoid unnecessary spending , this is what I do;
- Breakfast – I make sure I eat at home first. At the trendy café, I stick to coffee or a light snack such as a muffin. This saves a substantial amount of money.
- Work Coffee Meetings – I’ll usually stick to water. Most cafés will provide water. If you have 6 coffee meetings each day, you can save AUD$27 per day. Goodness, that is AUD$135 per week!!
- Dinner – Select an entrée. These dishes tend to be cheaper.
Purchase household products when they are on sale
Wait for the sales then purchase all cleaning products.
OMO Front loader Washing Detergent retails for AUD$20 however once a month it is half price. This also applies to Dishwashing Detergent, Toilet Cleaners, and General Cleaning Sprays.
Take your own water instead of purchasing it.
There are many occasions where you need a bottle of water. At the movies, gym, going for a walk. Instead of paying for bottled water, take your own. Ensure it’s in the BPA free plastic bottle.
Investigate what benefits your employer offers
Over the past three years, I have not ventured into the staff shop. The merchandise in the windows is covered in the company logo!!! As if I would purchase a beach towel or tea towel with the employer logo all over it! No way!! I could not think of anything worse.
A colleague suggested we go into the staff shop before our coffee meeting. I must admit I can image him with the company beach towels stacked neatly in the linen press. I did think differently of him when he said he shops in the store regularly.
So we went in. Not only was I was shocked at the ugly merchandise on sale. Logo embossed socks, t-shirts, mugs and caps. Hideous. I wondered who would buy this?
Then I saw a queue of people. These employees were lining up for discounted movie tickets, theatre tickets, 30% off supermarkets purchases, 30% off train travel. And the list went on and on. It was a little overwhelming.
Needless to say, I now visit the staff store once a week. Not to purchase merchandise, just discounted cards and movie tickets. I have saved hundreds of dollars.
When you realize you have lost control of your expenses, it is simple to get them back on track. Just use a credit card for all expenses, become savvy in cafés, take your water bottle with you everywhere and investigate the benefits your employee offers. The savings are amazing.