A few weeks ago, I wrote about how tracking my expenses made me aware of my spending habits and how it helped me gain back control over money. Although it has brought me to the path I wanted to be on, I realised that it was only the first step of many that I’m going to take in order to reach my financial goals. Knowing the situation was eye opening but it is really in taking actions that the difference will be made.
There is an abundance of money-saving tips online and the Internet probably doesn’t need another one, but for the purpose of this journal, here are a few changes I did to boost my savings:
- Doubled the amount of my automated savings – I found out, from tracking my expenses, that I can actually put more money into my automatic savings than what was already set up. Paying myself first is the easiest way for me to save, giving myself a raise was also the quickest way to increase my savings.
- Changed my clothes shopping habit – Most of the money I wasted last year were spent on clothes I didn’t even wear; probably on cosmetics that I didn’t even use, too. The result of my closet clean up was a bit (okay, totally) embarrassing and although I didn’t go on a shopping ban, I have only spent $296 ($217 USD) on clothes and shoes to date. If you’re wondering, I spent $1,124 ($823 USD) on clothes from January to July last year.
- Created meal plans and grocery lists – I’m in charge of all things kitchen at home and having a meal plan makes my work so much easier. I don’t always have a specific meal plan but I always know what ingredients I want in our fridge and pantry throughout the week. Having a plan and a list allows me to limit our grocery shopping and helps us minimise waste as well.
- Exchanged supermarkets for fresh food markets – We live about 5 minutes away from the market but we didn’t start going until the beginning of the year, which is a year after we moved to our current home. I still regret not doing this since day one but I guess it’s better late than never. Buying food from the market saves us about $25 ($18 USD) a week. It doesn’t seem like a lot of savings, but in a year, it adds up to $1,300 ($950 USD).
- Stopped going to the gym – Fitness is an important part of my life and it’s not something I will give up but I’m already at the point where I am confident home fitness programs will give me the same results I got from when I went to the gym. I had an annual membership last year as well as a personal trainer, which cost me about $85 a month. I don’t regret paying that much for a year because the results were good and I learned so much from the personal training, but I also no longer want to spend that much money this year. My contract ended in March, so to date, I already saved $340 ($250 USD) by working out at home. I still workout at least 4-5 times a week and my level of fitness is still the same.
- Changed my mobile plan – I had to wait for my contract to finish in June and when it did, I went on a month-to-month plan instead. I used to pay $61 a month (a bit pricey because I was paying for my handset as well) and I’m now only paying $35. This is probably still on the higher end but this is the best plan that works for me.
- Downgraded my extras (private health insurance) cover – In Australia, we have to add “extras” to our private health insurance to cover other non-hospital procedures such as dental, optical, physio, etc. The Insider Accountant explained it better here. My extras cover was in the mid-range but when I reviewed it, I found that I don’t need most of the things covered and will end up paying more than I will actually claim. I thought of getting rid of my extras cover altogether but I claim for dental and optical regularly, so I chose one that costs less than the amount of benefits I will actually claim. This change slashed $30 ($22 USD) off my monthly premium.
There are other little things I do to improve my savings balance but the above changes are the ones that have the most impact in my finances. The above changes alone increase my savings to about $800 ($585 USD) a month. I know I have a long way to go and many other things to try but I’m more than happy to know that I’m on track. At the moment, I’m focussed on cutting expenses and I haven’t thought about the income side of things, but I think I will have to in the near future.
Are you saving for anything at the moment? What are the things you did/do to boost your savings?
Image credit: Unsplash