There are lots of things you can do to improve your financial position. Well there are kind of really only two things; increase your income or spend less.
Increasing your income is a great idea and definitely achievable, but instantly increasing your income isn’t possible – it takes work. While you’re working hard, here are some things you can do to reduce the cost of living and save more money!
- Don’t get into debt. Really try to avoid buying things you can’t pay for up-front. With the exception of real estate, all of your purchases should be paid for in full. Why? Well if you think about it, what exactly does going into debt do? It allows you to buy something that you can’t afford, and continue the cycle that hasn’t allowed you to afford it in the first place. Not to mention that borrowing money isn’t free – you’ll pay interest for it, which makes it even harder for you to catch up. It’s important to note that this all refers to ‘bad’ debt, i.e. borrowing to purchase consumables, cars, holidays and the like. Borrowing money to make money (leverage) is a completely different story!
- Pay off your debt. If you missed point number 1, then paying off your debt (excluding your mortgage) needs to be your highest priority. The interest will usually be higher than pretty much any return on investment you can consistently achieve, so you aren’t using your money as best you can.
- Sell your car. If you don’t need it, you can save a lot by not having a car. Insurance, fuel, maintenance, and the cost of the car itself. There are lots of savings here. It will also have a positive impact on your fitness level!
- Don’t shop while hungry. It’s the oldest trick in the book, but people still do it. You’re more likely to buy what you don’t need if you go shopping while hungry.
- Invest your savings / save for the future. Always put some money away on the side. I’m not talking about money you are saving to buy ‘something’ with – save for ‘nothing’ instead. There will always be something you can spend your savings on, especially while you are younger. The key is to build a good foundation by saving a consistent amount of money that’s kept separate to everything else. With the added benefits of compound interest and investing, you will really accelerate your financial growth.
- Reduce TV and cancel pay TV. This has two impacts – it helps you save money, and more importantly if you utilise this valuable time, it increases your productivity, learning and fitness – all very important to improving and becoming financially secure.
- Stay fit. If you can stay healthy, you will help to reduce health related issues later in life that can cost money in themselves, but also prevent you from earning.
- Cook more at home. It’s so basic but so many people don’t do this. It’s important to be careful because you don’t want to go overboard with this. If your friends are catching up for dinner, you need to make sure you’re not the only one that never goes out. It’s more about reducing the low value (i.e. no relationship building aspect for example) external dinners / meals.
- Stop smoking. Super simple, reduces costs + increases health.
- Save money for the unexpected. Always try to have some money set aside for a rainy day! Check out our Pay Calculator to estimate your take home pay and help you prepare a budget.
- Have one ‘zero dollar day’ per week. Or more than one day a week if you can. A simple challenge that can have a positive impact on your mindset when it comes to saving.
- Be smart with travel. Booking holidays two weeks before, or during peak seasons are a sure way to make sure you pay a premium. The cost of the exact same holiday can vary significantly due to timing. Do your research and find out when prices are lower, and book well in advance to secure the best prices you can.
- Change your phone plan. There’s always pressure on carriers to compete – all you need to do is find the best deal.
- Optimise your health insurance. There’s also lots of competition in the health insurance market – which means more and more options for consumers.
- Always assess yearly renewals such as car insurance, home insurance etc. A month or so before you are due for an automatic renewal, shop around. Use this information to either negotiate with your current suppler, or take up a new deal before your current arrangement renews.
- Don’t buy on impulse. Set a limit where if you decide to buy something over a certain amount, you sleep on it. Then reassess the next day if you really need it.
- Shop on eBay – it’s cheaper than most department stores.
- Don’t buy new gadgets. You really don’t need them. By now you probably have all of the gadgets you need and enjoy – upgrading to the latest won’t have any real lasting positive impact.
- Reduce your dependence on new things. Sometimes you can get caught up in a consumption cycle, when you feel that you always need the latest and greatest. The problem is, there will always be a newer and newer thing that you can buy, and the short-term feeling that comes with buying these things can be addictive. Cut the cycle and you will realise you don’t need most of this stuff.
All of these tips depend or you and your style. Sometimes it’s not worth giving up on a particular thing you like to save a few extra dollars. You know your position best, so do what’s comfortable for you!