If you’ve been watching my Instagram stories recently where I’ve been talking about shopping on budget, you’ll already know that I’m on a savings drive. I’ve never been much of a saver, the past few years I have haemorrhaged money on fitness – bikini competitions, coaches, supplements, outfits, education (qualifying as a Personal Trainer), setting up Lucy loves Fitness properly as a business and investing in it. I’m talking silly money, but I don’t regret any of it. I value what I have got out of everything relating to my own fitness, and helping others. Now, I’m 34 years old, I want to get my s**t together, and start saving for a house and the future. I’m going to share my top tips on how to save money each month.
1. Set up a budget tracker
I work with budget trackers in my day job, and I have always geeked out on numbers. When I was 16 I had the most inspirational Maths teacher, and I decided that I wanted to be one. Fast forward a few years of focusing on Maths and extra tutorials to get through my Maths A-Level I realised I wasn’t quite cut out for it, so I re-directed my focus to Business & Marketing. You need to know how to balance financial spreadsheets in business, and it’s a skill that translates into real life!
I have a spreadsheet and every fortnight when I get paid I transfer out my living expenses to my various accounts and put aside my savings too. I list every outgoing on my budget tracker and then I’m left with a small amount of spending money.
I’ve shared my budget tracker here for you to download and customise; Personal Budget example
There are other budget spreadsheets to choose from online.
2. Make your own meals
Your daily coffee & toast purchases soon add up, and your lunch can be even more. Your daily work lunches might seem cheap at $10 a day, but then that’s $200 a month and approximately $2,200 a year (excluding a month’s holiday).
Tip: Dedicate an afternoon or evening each week to grocery shopping, and pack your lunches rather than purchasing them. If doesn’t need to be just your lunches either, read my Top 3 Healthy Breakfasts post for more cost saving ideas.
Make sure you take a pre-written list to avoid impulse buying.
3. Clever Credit
There are 2 types of credit card users; Transactors and Revolvers.
Transactors are people who use credit responsibly by paying off their revolving debt each month. These people will usually have reward credit cards and hence by using their cards for transactions are earning rewards for every transaction, yet they’re not incurring any interest.
Find the best rewards card for you here, look at number of bonus points offered upon sign up, make sure you achieve the minimum spend by the time limit and watch out for annual fees. Weigh all of these up and take your pick. Now you can be rewarded for using a credit card. You must pay off the full balance each month to be a true transactor though.
Tip: I auto transfer all my reward points from my credit card to Qantas Frequent Flyer. That’s where I see more value from my points.
4. Transfer your credit card balance
Revolvers are people who carry a balance from month to month, perhaps paying only the minimum amount due.
You could dramatically lower your interest repayments by moving your existing debt onto a balance transfer card. Balance transfer cards can see you pay 0 per cent interest for a fixed number of months (between 6 and 24). With such significant saving potential, there’s no excuses to not compare your options, transfer your debt and start saving. Just make sure you pay it off before the time runs out. Find the best balance transfer deal for you here.
5. Sign up for every free customer rewards program you can
No matter where you live, you’ll find plenty of retailers who are willing to reward you for shopping at their store. Give your email address to collect every card you can, and then check your inbox for extra coupons whenever you’re ready to shop.
I have bought an iPad Mini and a Suitcase (nobody wants to spend their hard earned cash on a new suitcase) with my reward points, and I’ll also be using them for a holiday to Queensland in December. They soon add up!
Tip: Planning your recipes around the ingredients on the weekly specials list at your local supermarket is the ninja level of saving. You can also pick up the recipe cards with the budget recipe of the week on and get 4 meals out of $10.
6. Watch the Minimalist doco on Netflix
What is minimalism? If Joshua Fields Millburn & Ryan Nicodemus (The Minimalists) had to sum it up in a single sentence, they would say, Minimalism is a tool to rid yourself of life’s excess in favor of focusing on what’s important—so you can find happiness, fulfillment, and freedom.
I watched the documentary back in March, and blogged about it . It’s a great documentary to re-evaluate what’s important and why you spend money on…anything really. I know it would help you save money. So what are you waiting for?
This post might be a little out there for me, I usually blog about living a healthy lifestyle, but for me this made sense as it’s top of mind. I feel really proud saving money, I’m 34 and taking this adulthood seriously now. It’s exciting and with the big road ahead into weddings (maybe I’ll just start with 1), kids, a house and buying a car again, I need my bank balance to be healthy too.
I’d love to know of any tips you swear by too!
Happy saving, Lucy x