This is to inspire you to do little things to help you achieve your savings goals, or just to make daily life easier. I sometimes need to be reminded myself. I've been hit by big medical bills and found it hard to get from one day to the next, but even then, these little steps did help.
Sometimes life is all about just getting from one day to another with no real room to move financially. For most people in the developed world, we can find something to save, or something to do to provide benefit long term.
10 ways you can save 50 cents, or more, tomorrow:
1. Plant some lettuce, or other hardy greens (I did this today and used garden soil and pots provided by my mum. Seeds and plants she had spare too. Not always possible but you can get seedlings and soil for a small initial investment).
Save at the super market by buying fewer greens.
2. Only buy petrol at the service station.
I also did this today. I have a weak spot for sweets at the servo. I am determined to nix it and reduce my general treat consumption too. One visit at a time.
3. Limit petrol and car use, or get rid of your car. Realistically, most people find having a car brings with it benefits that are worth the expense, particularly somewhere spread out like Hobart. Often jobs are only available to people who can drive.
Going out everyday in the car soon adds up in petrol and general wear and tear. I car pooled and took the bus this week. I did not enjoy it as much as the convenience of a car, but it was less of a spend on an appointment I had to make, and no money spent on parking which is fast becoming nauseatingly expensive. It was shockingly low compared to petrol and I had a pre-loaded bus card so did not need money on me.
Easily saved $8 (4 for parking, 4 plus for petrol)
Bus fare around $1.30 one way, concession rate
4. Limit $4 coffees. For those working, a four dollar coffee can mean the difference between getting through the work week, or not.
For those not in paid employment, it's easier to reduce the fancy coffee part of the budget. Pod coffees are still cheaper, truck stop coffees are cheaper and Italian filtered coffee, or plunger coffee is cheapest and tasty. There's always instant but the cost per serve is not always cheaper than other home made options.
Allow yourself a fancy coffee as a treat, buy yourself a thermos and/or reusable cup to give you the feel of a fancy coffee without the hip pocket hit. You can get a good caffeine hit for twenty cents or less per cup if made at home (more for pods).
There are fancy coffee machines for less found in most capital cities/ major centers at libraries, newsagents and service stations. Fancy coffee for $1 or so, great if you can find some near your work, or play!
If you have an old coffee filter machine, you may want see how many chores you can do while the coffee is brewing.
Skip one $4 coffee per day = $20 per week
$1040 per year
5. Take lunch once a week if working. Not buying lunch one day a week is relatively painless and will save $6 plus for that one time. You can do that!
Sometimes, taking lunch is not reasonable. Then I would encourage you to find healthy, cheaper alternatives. At the very least, try a healthy lunch that gives you energy. I enjoyed salads, sushi, fruit and coffee when I was working. Sandwiches, yogurt and fruit make an easy, light lunch/ morning tea. Make sure you take enough food to keep you going or you will buy ALL the chocolate. Allow the occasional treat at work too.
$6 per week X 48 weeks = $288
6. Have a uniform for study or work. You save a fortune by having clothes that are versatile and planning your week of work, or study clothes in advance. Even if you do not go out to study or work, it helps to have basic clothes and limit shopping of clothes. Buying regularly second hand can easily impact bank balances. Limit shopping, even op-shopping, is a good idea.
Limit clothes shopping = hundreds saved per year
7. If you are well enough to work, study, or volunteer and you lack experience, do. It will not save you money to study or volunteer but it will show employers that you have experience. Get a qualification if you can, experience and qualifications will give you an edge on others that are waiting for opportunities.
Study or work = invaluable
8. Find an inexpensive hobby. If that's not a priority, find a way to save on your hobbies and make them more affordable e.g. buy craft supplies on special and limit your craft budget, buy second hand equipment where safe and worth it, or buy new and shop around.
Inexpensive hobby = potential savings, hundreds per year (cheaper than therapy too!)
9. Make cards/ gift tags, or find inexpensive but classy $1 cards. When I was working full-time I had newsagents I would frequent that sold cheaper cards without worrying about making them. I rarely buy cards now and have got back in the habit of making simple, beautiful gift tags and cards.
Paying $4 each for birthday cards soon adds up! Some people buy bulk cards for $1 each but I would not go through them in time for the space they take up. Buy craft paper and pens on special to make hundreds of cards for cents (good sense :D).
10 birthdays per year = $30 per year saved
10. Have a clear savings goal. I am ever more determined to buy a house even when the odds seem stacked against me.
Disclaimer: This is the opinion and ideas of the author, and may not be appropriate for everyone. For professional personal financial counselling and/ or advice, contact appropriate professionals.