Ditch the excuses
Have you been trying, and failing, to save money all year? Got yourself a clear savings goal but aren’t getting any closer to it? Find yourself stuck in a money-spending rut? Most importantly (and here’s where you need to take a good hard look at yourself), are you always making excuses for your inability to save?
‘I don’t earn enough money’. ‘I keep getting unexpected bills’. ‘All those nights out with friends … you know …’
It’s time to ditch the excuses and make a fresh start with your savings in January. It might take a little effort on your part to get started, but with a few simple changes now, you may just get to the end of 2018 and answer the above questions very differently. Start small – very small if you have to – and within a year you’ll have a nice little pot of savings to be proud of.
Breaking the habit
There’s a story (or is it an urban myth?) about a man that was trying to lose weight. His downfall was the iconic Aussie meat pie. Each day, at lunchtime, he’d walk past the local pie shop and couldn’t resist going in to buy a pie. His clever weight-loss consultant suggested he walk a different route at lunchtime – nowhere near a pie shop. Small change in behaviour, big difference to his waistline.
If you notice that you spend a lot of money at a certain time of the day or week, then you’ve got yourself an opportunity to change things up, just like Mr Pie Shop. Are Friday night drinks – what with the requisite cocktails, taxis and late-night snacks – consuming too much of your pay packet? Have you got into the habit of meeting up with a workmate at 10am each morning to grab (another) coffee? By mid-week, are you exhausted and revert to gourmet take-away meals until Sunday night?
You don’t want to give up your Friday night social life completely. Or your morning catch-up with a workmate. And it’s hard to shake that mid-week exhaustion. But you can disentangle these things from spending. For example, nix the night out and get your mates over to your house. Or suggest to your workmate that you do a lap of the block at 10am instead of loitering at the barista’s machine. To cut spending on take-away, you could do a big cook-up on a Sunday arvo and freeze dinners for the rest of the week.
See what we’re doing here? Replacing a more expensive habit or activity with a less expensive (but hopefully just as fulfilling or fun) one. If there’s something you absolutely don’t want to give up – like that Friday night tearing up the town – then you could make a mini-sacrifice somewhere else in your life.
So, what’s one little thing you could change to save money, without causing total upheaval and disruption in your life? What is realistic and achievable? Got something that you reckon you could commit to in 2018? Here’s what you do next.