We all like a few little luxuries in life but if your aim is to cut your weekly spending then you have to be prepared to make sacrifices and that may mean that some of those luxuries just have to go!
Here are my top 5 ways to reduce your spending and save yourself a little bit of money.
1. COFFEE SHOP COFFEES
This is my no. 1 weakness. I just love a good cup of coffee. And of course you can’t enjoy a good coffee without something yummy to go with it. But I do try to limit myself to one a week, mainly when I catch up with my girlfriends.
But lets do some maths just so you can see how much you can save by skipping that daily coffee. Let’s say you buy a regular size soy latte from your fav coffee shop. Generally that will set you back about $5.70 – some places charge less, some charge more. So if you get a coffee every day on your way to work that is $28.50 a week. Multiply that by 48 weeks ( take off a couple for annual leave) and you will be spending a whooping $1368 a year on take-away coffee.
MY TIP: Buy a box of flavoured coffee from the supermarket. I stock up when they are on special so 10 sachets cost about $3.25. A pack of five slices of Banana Bread is $5.00 at Woolworths. Then you will have coffee and banana bread for a week for the measly sum of $1.32 per serve or $6.60 for the week. What a saving!
2. BOOKS MAGAZINES AND NEWSPAPERS
I love to read and while I will admit to buying the odd camping and caravanning magazine at $10.00 a pop I really can’t justify the expense to often. The same with books. I am an avid reader and if I bought every book I saw that caught my eye it would cost me a small fortune, given that most new release titles cost anywhere between $20 to $30. I hardly ever buy a newspaper anymore given that you can read most of the main articles online for free.
MY TIP: Utilise your local library. Many have an amazing array of books, magazines and newspapers. My local library now has e-books available to borrow as well. You download your preferred app like Overdrive or Borrow Box and then borrow the book on line.
If you can’t find a book you want and feel that you have to buy it they are much cheaper to purchase in digital format. Also Amazon always have lots of titles that you can download for FREE. Failing that op shops and markets usually have great books at fairly cheap prices. And don’t forget to swap the good ones with your friends.
3. PAY TV
I have never had Pay TV like Foxtel. They are very expensive and generally have a look in contract involved. There are so many channels available now for free that I can’t justify the expense of having it.
MY TIP: A much cheaper alternative these days is Netflix or similar. If you just want to watch a particular series for a few weeks you can cancel it again afterwards. Many libraries have a variety of DVD’s that you can borrow for free. If you still have a video shop in your area many of them are doing it tough and have dropped their prices dramatically. Some of them even have things like ‘Cheap Tuesday’ where you can get 10 for $10. Many also have Playstation and XBox games available.
4. BOTTLED WATER
Bottled water can be expensive depending on where you buy it from and if we listen to the experts we are filling landfill with plastic bottles that will never break down. Also, it has been suggested that some types of bottles if left to heat up in your car can produce toxic chemicals.
MY TIP: Buy a good quality metal or BPA free bottle and fill it up at home before you leave to go out somewhere. Australia is fortunate in that we have good quality water in most areas but if you are concerned about the water quality in your area you can buy water filter jugs and bottles.
5. EATING OUT/TAKEAWAY
I love to go out for dinner and even like to grab takeaway sometimes, but if you are doing it once a week it can add up. For example, we went out to dinner for Miss M’s 16th the other week and it cost us just under $200 for 5 people. Admittedly it was a special occasion but eating out is not cheap. Chinese for 4 of us comes in at about $40.00 without entrees. Even pizza can cost close to $30.
MY TIP: Go out for dinner for special occasions. It will mean more and you will enjoy the meal more as well. If you want to have a night off from cooking, get the kids to make pizzas. We do this quite often and they always taste so much better than bought ones!