It can be tough to save money. Most of us feel we live pretty basic lives anyway. But in times such as these when every dollar counts, little things can make a big difference.
A survey in the USA asked people for their top tips on saving money in tough times.
8. Reuse and recycle.
We live in a throw-away world. Everything is disposable. But a lot of what we throw away could be reused. Make it something of a competition to see how you can stretch items that are supposedly disposable further than the consumer companies want you to. And, when you need something around the house, ask, “what have I got that could do that job without me having to spend money by buying something new?”
7. Cut your food costs.
After our mortgage or rent food is one of the most expensive and unavoidable items of expenditure. Find ways to cut back. Buy in bulk. Eat out less. Use basic brands rather than the more expensive brands. Grab one of those cookbooks that teaches you how to make basic but nutritional meals. Find someone you know who is great at budgeting on their food bills and ask how they do it.
6. Save on clothing.
Up here in Auckland we have SaveMart where you can buy “pre-loved” clothing. Some people feel totally put-off by the thought of wearing second-hand clothes but I read recently that 12% of Aucklanders buy used clothes. And some of my friends do and it is amazing what they can get! If you are completely against second-hand, at least steer away from the expensive designer brands.
5. Cut back your phone/internet mobile costs.
These days things are pretty cut-throat in the communications industry. Phone your company and find out exactly what you are getting for your dollar. Then phone the opposition and ask if they can do better. You might be surprised to find that, having done that, if you go back to your current supplier they will match the sales terms of other companies.
4. Invest in your career
The income-generating asset that you probably have the most control over is your career. Invest in it by doing courses, up-skilling in your workplace, learning to do things no one else in your company can do. In other words; make yourself indispensible.
3. Track your spending and trick yourself into spending less, saving more
It is amazing, magic even… if you begin to accurately track your spending you will save money. Partly because you will choose to, and partly because the competitive part of you will click on and see it as a challenge to cut back your spending.
2. Get serious about TradeMe
It constantly amazes me how much people make on TradeMe just by selling things they don’t want. Our daughter recently picked out a dozen or so items of clothing and bits and pieces she no longer used and made over $300. Some people say they can’t be bothered with the hassle of selling stuff but that’s $300 for very little effort and no real investment.
1. Reduce your bills by simply asking
If you don’t ask you don’t get. Recession times are tough times for retailers and service providers too. If you have cash or are a regular patron of a shop or company, ask for a discount. You’ll be surprised at what you might get!