Monday, January 24, 2011

Spending Less – The Top Five

This year money is going to be tight, very tight.

There are a several reasons for this:
·         I have employment for six months but beyond that I’m not sure
·         Whispers in the press of another interest rate rise
·         Inevitable rise in prices for basics like food, utilities, petrol (gas) and insurance plus the effect of the Queensland and Victorian floods on those prices
·         And... the roof needs replacing - desperately.

I’ve been practicing a simple, frugal approach to life for many years but in the last year or so, I’ve dropped the ball a bit. Now is the time to get back on track and to ramp it up a notch or two. That’s going to mean being very organised, spending less on everything is much easier when you’re organised. For example, last week I grabbed a serve of chilli con carne out of the freezer for my lunch at work. When I’d divided the chilli into single serves and put it in the freezer I was in a hurry and didn’t label it thinking that I’d recognise the contents easily. If only that were true... Instead, I’d picked up a serve of tomato and vegetable sauce, which is very nice over pasta or chicken but not so appetising on its own. So, I was faced with buying a sandwich or going hungry. I’m motivated to save money but starving requires more motivation than I possess!

Sandwich - $6.00
Lesson in labelling frozen food – priceless

Five ways we’ll be spending less this year:

Library only for magazines, books and DVD’s
Our regional library carries a great range of titles and they’re free. It also has an online catalogue which means I can log on at any time and request the book or DVD I require and they let me know when it’s ready to pick up. This saves time and money.

Home cooked
Food in general will continue to get more expensive but when you pay someone else to prepare it you’ll be paying even more. This year I’ll be vigilant about preparing our food at home.

Stay out of the shops
When I first chose to change my approach to money this was the first step I took – I deliberately stayed away from the shops. I no longer went for a stroll through the central shopping area during my lunch break and I was amazed at the effect on my bank balance. In order to reinforce this mindset again, I’m having a ‘No Spend February’.

Stay out of the car
This is a no-brainer. The less you drive, the less you spend on petrol. And petrol is getting more and more expensive every week.

Turn off the television
The television is a dangerous object to have in your home. It not only sucks vast quantities of time from your life but it also exposes you to a universe of ‘wants’. The introduction of the television heralded a substantial shift in our society. People we would never normally associate with were suddenly in our home deliberately influencing the choices we make in our daily lives and those of our children - for their benefit not ours.
Also, the time we lose while watching TV undermines our ability to do what we need to do. Have you ever totalled up your viewing time? What else could you have been doing during that time? While I don’t watch much television per se, I do watch DVD’s. The end result is pretty much the same, though – less influence perhaps but lots of lost time.

These are the top five ways I’ll be spending less this year. There are many other lesser approaches that I’ll be employing in my quest to spend less money and ultimately reduce my mortgage and I'll be sharing them with you, too.

What are your top five ways to spend less money?

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