This year went decided that we wanted to head overseas and take the girls to Disneyland in Hong Kong. It wasn’t an impossible goal but one that we had to work really hard at. We set ourselves a challenge to save $10,000 in 5 months! At the time we didn’t know if we could do it but we set ourselves a budget and we were really strict on our spending. Matt worked long days and then I would go to work at night. I can honestly say this was the hardest we had worked but we managed to achieve it.
Here are our top tips to save money
1. Have a financial plan
It’s called a Budget! A budget is really easy to create, it will only take a few minutes and it will help you save money. A Budget is basically your earnings minus your expenditures/planned savings and then if you have some left over your winning. Once you have a budget you can easily understand:
- Where your spending your money
- If you are overspending
- and where you can save.
Remember to keep your budget simple. You don’t need anything fancy to work it out. A simple notebook and calculator will help you keep track of your spending. You’d be surprised where you’ll be wasting money.
2. Go without
Because we had been tracking our spending we knew where we could save money by going without. A lot of people think you have to turn into a social outcast to be able to save money and this is not the case. Although we go without a lot, we do try to pick a fortnight family outing that we all can enjoy. We will always look for free outings first such as getting out into nature or low-cost fun like packing a picnic and hitting the park. When we are in “savings mode” we ask “Is it a Need or a Want?” with all purchases. You’ll be surprised how many times your brain will try to convince you it’s a “need”, but most likely it is a “want”.
3. Stay motivated
Sometimes it’s really hard to stick to a budget but you need to find a motivator. We use a simple visual aid to motivate ourselves to save as much as we can. All we do is make on an A4 piece of paper a savings tick sheet. You start from $0 and have a box for each $100 you save until your savings goal. It really helps us stick to our budget.
We include our kids each week in our saving talk. Kids don’t always understand you can’t buy every toy in the store, but showing them and discussing why we are saving money helps them understand the bigger picture.
4. Put your savings into a different bank account
Because we had a budget and knew our expenditures every pay day we would transfer our savings away from our regular bank into a completely seperate bank. This way our precious savings were harder to get to and we didn’t have an ATM card to this account. This way we couldn’t make random purchases with our hard earn’t savings.
5. Reduce your expenditures
There’re lots of ways to reduce your everyday bills like food, power, gas, fuel and phone. My Telstra plan wasn’t working for me, it was costing a fortune for very little. But when I called the accounts department to complain about my plan they offered me a cheaper one and double my data and inclusions. It never hurts to shop around. We always shop with a menu plan and shopping list and STICK TO IT. We even moved caravan parks to save $70 a week, over 4 months it’s a significant savings.
If your dream is big enough then you should be able to save money easily. If you’re looking for a great book to help you with your savings then take a look at The Barefoot Investor – The only money guide you’ll ever need. It has some great financial advice to help you hit the road.
What is your major savings goal right now? Feel free to share any tips you have to help others reach their goal too.