Saving tips from an almost broke girl

16/01/2018   Meg McKenna, Content Producer

If you want sound advice on how to spend your money right, I’m probably not the best person to talk to. In the last two months I’ve travelled between three different countries, graduated, moved out of home and successfully spent the rest of my money being overly generous during Christmas.

I’m not in the best place with money at the moment, but over this time of spending I’ve learnt more about saving than I have in all of my 20 years of life – and working around a pack of financial advisers helps too, I guess.

While I’m entering the new year almost broke, I know that if I stick to a few small lifestyle changes 2018 will be a year of financial stability.

1. Plan your food

Going to the grocery store without a plan is a dangerous situation to be in. We’ve all been there. You buy stuff that looks like it’ll brew up a good feed at the time, but when you get home you’ve got a bunch of stuff that needs to be consumed within four days and a complete lack of meal combos. Not good. Googling cheap groceries and writing up a list before heading to the super has saved my life.

Meal prep is also an incredible time and money saver. I’ve started setting aside an hour or so on a Sunday night to cook up a feast for five – except it’s all for me! Just like that, lunch is sorted for the entire week. No more lunch-break buying; that’s damn expensive!

If my mates are heading out for brunch and I don’t want to miss out, I’ll go! I just try to make smarter choices. I’m not a coffee drinker, so sometimes (when I’m strong enough to deny a BLT) I’ll just have water and a slice – $4 is practically the same amount as a coffee, right?!

2. Respect your possessions

I recently dropped my phone and completely smashed the screen. It cost $170 to fix and it shattered me (pun intended). Since then, I’ve bought a protective case for it because I know that a small expense on a case is better than a large expense on a completely new phone. Lord knows I can’t afford a new mobile device.

The same applies to all of your possessions, whether it’s making sure you wash your clothing correctly – it says ‘delicate’ for a reason, or keeping up with regular maintenance on your car because if you keep ignoring that weird rattling noise forever, your vehicle might blow up. Your things are important! Look after them correctly now and it’ll save you in the long run.

3. Drop expensive entertainment

Turns out there are plenty of cost-friendly ways to have fun with your mates. My sister took me to the local library recently and I was reminded of how wonderful those places are (you should see how they scan books these days… the future is now!). Best of all – they’re free!

It’s summer time, if the library doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, take a trip to the beach, have a picnic in the park or take advantage of free exhibitions! The world is your oyster. Just whatever you do, don’t spend $25 on a movie ticket.

4. Set a budget

Budgets are both horrifying and exciting. There’s nothing like the horror of sitting down and calculating how much money you’ve blown on snacks from 7/11 in the last 10 weeks. On the other hand, it’s really motivating (and exciting) adding up your costs and seeing how much you could be saving each month.

I wouldn’t go so far to say budgeting is fun, but I do feel like I’ve got my life together when I’m sticking to my budget.

These are some very basic tips that are helping me get off struggle street as we head into the new year, but if you want personal advice from an expert, speak to one of our financial advisers today!

General Advice Warning: This advice may not be suitable to you because it contains general advice that has not been tailored to your personal circumstances. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.

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