Unspoken Conversations are the topics that are often swept under the carpet, whispered amongst the closest of friends and bitched about by many. I want to create awareness about difficult things that people face in life; grief, mental health, money, illnesses, family troubles, relationship difficulties and putting yourself first. I want to tell the truth about things that really matter.

Sunday, 10 June 2012

Easy ways to save your hard earned pennies!

Let’s face it. We’re always scrimping and saving for something and we're always looking for ways to save money on necessities so that we can spend more money on frivolities.

My story

When I was a uni student, I was scrimping and saving just to pay the bills, my bus tickets and to buy a bottle of Passion Pop or two to get me through the weekend.

In my third year at uni I was working three jobs, walking to uni to save a buck, and living off 3 chicken breasts, 1 kilo gram of Home Brand rice and a packet of frozen vegetables for a week. It paid off. I saved $10,000 to go to Europe for 6 weeks as a graduation gift to myself for finishing my degree while being independent (apart from the odd phone call to my parents begging for some moolah…mummy!)

When I left uni and scored myself a job I thought that finally I’ll be rolling in it! I didn’t think I’d ever be able to look at pasta, eat a sausage, or swallow tuna ever again in my life! You beauty. I’ll be able to upgrade from Passion Pop to Moscato and from Valley Girl and Sports Girl.

I soon realised that if I wanted to continue travelling, buy a house, go to concerts, eat out, drink alcohol and still afford to pay the bills, cloth myself, feed my ever hungry mouth and play sport to keep the kilos at bay, than I needed to do a little more tweaking of my budget. That didn’t mean that I didn’t go and splurge my first pay check on a Weber Q for my partner, or that I’d have to become a hermit, or eek..go back to pasta…but it did mean that I had to consider what was important to me and what my priorities were.

The tips and tricks for keeping money in my pocket and not someone else’s over the years has enabled me to: visit temples, snorkel around the Phi Phi Islands and explore the Cu Chi Tunnels in South East Asia, buy a house in Adelaide, renovate renovate renovate, get engaged and madly save my pennies to sip copious amounts of Pina Coladas in Fiji for my sisters wedding in September.

Our house!
A photo that I look in Thailand.

Our outside area under construction.

 How not to burn a hole in your pocket:


Own one car. I know this is not always possible with children and work commitments, but one car means one lot of registration and insurance. It also means only that you only have one car to maintain with services, oil, petrol and tyres.

Own no cars. If you have easy access to public transport, why not use that? I didn’t have a car in Adelaide for my first 5 years. It’s probably what allowed me to save to go to Europe. Yes, it was a pain in the butt taking 3 buses to work sometimes, but spending $14.50 a week on a bus ticket sure bet spending over $100 in petrol and all the bills that cars rack up.

Walk. Too often we jump in the car to drive 2 minutes down the street. Trade your wheels for your feet. Not only will you save money, you’ll also save your waste line.
Pay your bills before the due date. Many billing companies offer a discount if you pay before the due date. Take for example our Tru Energy Electricity bill. If we pay before the due date it’s $234.68. If we pay after the due date it’s $241.94. That’s $7.26 that I’d rather keep in my pocket just by planning ahead.
Buy your fresh produce from the markets. If you live close to a farmers market, get yourself a little trolley and save yourself hundreds every year. We can fill our fridge full of vegetables for a fortnight for $40. That includes: carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, asparagus, pineapple, apples, grapes, bananas…you name it!
Never pay full price for anything (unless you desperately need it). We always buy marked down meat and things on special. Substitute if something you need isn’t on special with something that is.

Shop on a full belly. It helps to avoid buying crap food and things you don’t need.

Try and avoid the confectionery aisle. Don’t even go down there if you don’t have the will power not to put things in your trolley e.g. chips, lollies and soft drink. Your jeans and your wallet will thank you.

Turn power points off at the wall. Not only is this environmentally friendly but it also saves power. We have saved around $50 every quarter just from flicking off a switch.

Save going out for meals for special occasions like date nights and birthdays. We all love to eat out. No cooking. No cleaning. You appreciate going out more when it’s a special occasion. SAVING $100 per week.

Entertain at your house. Being on a budget doesn’t mean that you don’t have to have a social life, it just means modifying it. Have friends over for a BBQ. Supply the meat and ask them to bring a salad and dessert. Entertaining doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.

Shop at Discount Outlet Centres. Harbour Town is great if you live in Adelaide and I know that other major cities also have outlet centres. It’s conveniently right near the airport. I used to pay $150 for jeans. The other day my Mum scored 3 pairs of Levis for $150. Outlet centres have everything form clothes, to home wares, to food, to your sports shoes, toys, gifts and much more!

Make presents instead of buying them. More love, time and thought goes in to hand crafted gifts plus they’re a lot cheaper. 

Check out my tea towels that were made by a friend for our engagement party. We LOVE them.

Hand crafted and so so gorgeous! I love them!

Research.  Find out who is offering the cheapest prices on the necessities for example your: home loans, line rental for phones, Internet options, electricity rates and much more!

Swap the heater for a rug.

Swap the air conditioner for a fan and fresh air.

 Make sure your phone plan is right for you. You might be constantly going over your cap and cursing your bills OR you might be paying too much. Check the data allowances for phone calls and text messages as well as the internet for your plan. Change if necessary.

Do activities that don’t require money. Go camping instead of hiring a hotel room. Play cricket at the local park instead of going Ten Pin Bowling. Hire a movie, pop some pop corn and devour chocolate instead of going to the cinema. Invite the lads over to watch the footy and drink beers instead of going to a pub. I promise you'll have just as much fun, if not more!

Candles. They create a romantic atmosphere and save electricity. We have ours burning every night.

Of course you can pick and choose where you want to save money. 

Everyone has different priorities and different things that they “choose” to splurge their money on.

 We only resort to every single dot point when we’re in mega save mode. 

Other times we’re more lenient with going out for tea, or going on a date night to the movies.

I hope that this helps to keep your hard earned cash in your pocket or in the pockets of the people you choose AKA the massage parlour, or hair saloon or to the movie man!

Look after yourself and those around you,

Kirsty xxx

1 comment:

Kylie said...

Recycling cans and bottles for money is also awesome money saver/maker :)