We know the ‘go without your morning coffee’ money saving technique but if you’re going to get serious about saving – whether it’s for a new car, camera or the bigger ticket items like apartments and houses – you need to think outside the box.
One approach is to think about the environment. Put pennies in the bank and do your bit for sustainable living. It’s about being more creative about the way we live and save. Here are some ‘outside the box’ ideas:
- Buy in bulk: Don’t only buy in bulk, start a bulk buying group. This way you reap the full advantage of wholesale prices, avoid paying for packaging and steer away from impulse buys.
- Work with the weather: It might sound obvious but switching that air conditioning off in the summer and heating off in the winter will go a long way in cutting the ever-increasing energy bills. It can be as easy as keeping the curtains closed in summer and putting on a few extra layers in winter.
- Flick the switch: Turning the lights off is another seemingly clear but often overlooked step. It can be tempting to leave a lamp on for ‘later’ but for those hours you’re gone electricity – and the money you pay – is going down the drain.
Saving doesn’t begin and end with these points. Not only are there many more environmentally orientated techniques, there are also those that are usually right in front of your eyes:
- Avoiding unnecessary charges: Late fees. No one wants to read this in an email or letter. Anything from a credit card late fee to library fines makes our skin crawl. Get yourself organized.
- Limit ‘takeout’: Another seemingly obvious step to take (but one we can often slack on) is hiding or limiting access to those takeout menus. It’s very tempting – come a rainy Monday night after a long day when all you want to do it curl up on the couch with your favourite Thai takeaway – to not think about cooking. If you do make a concerted effort to cook for yourself more often you will end up saving a lot.
- Walk, bike, train or bus: If you can leave your car at home you can dodge potentially expensive tolls and the money you spend on petrol (not to mention the good it does for the environment). If you can walk to the local shops, walk. If you can ride, ride. The exercise is a bonus too!
- Credit quota: Avoid spending money you don’t have. Think carefully to yourself when you next flash plastic at a register. Is this something I can afford? Is it really something I need? Will I end up paying more for this with interest? Use cash when you can.
No matter what you’re saving for – while these suggestions are by no means the be all and end all – they should get you started. When most people start to save seriously it’s for the bigger ticket items. Perhaps it’s a home, or apartment. The cash you saved thinking twice about the credit card and flicking the switch will go directly to that deposit. If you’re one of many first home buyers you’ll have the first home owners grant to boost the fund pool too. But whether you’re buying a new car, home or camera you want to make sure you shop around. Just as you would visit a few dealerships to consider the perfect vehicle or compare cameras across outlets you would weigh up the options for home loans. With determination and discipline you could be walking away with, driving off in or letting yourself into your new camera, car and home within no time.
Thanks for the guest post Gemma!