Budget not quite stretching to your lifestyle? A few small changes to your behaviour can make big changes to your bank account. Read on for our favourite budgeting tips...
Buy your skincare online - If you are a sucker for salon only or department store skincare, you'd be amazed at some of the savings you can get from purchasing your products online. Shipping is really not as much as you would expect and it doesn't usually take that long to arrive. Plus a lot of the overseas sites are riddled with product reviews, so you get to see what kind of rating that expensive cream is actually getting - no point in buying it if it's no good! Try: www.strawberrynet.comwww.skinstore.com or www.skin-etc.com
Here's an example... I recently purchased a top-of-the-line skin serum from one of the above mentioned websites. It cost $97 USD or $130 NZD and there was a 'buy one get one free' deal on - the other day I spotted the same product in a NZ store for $360 with no free product. That's $720 product value for around $145 NZD including shipping. My skin is happy and so is my wallet.
The amount of change we lose or fritter away on silly things really does add up over time. Indulge your inner child with a good old-fashioned piggy bank and as it fills pop the money into a high interest savings account. If you save just $2 a day that translates to $730 a year that you otherwise wouldn't have had. If you have a partner get them to pop the same amount in and you'll have $1460 at the end of the year excluding any interest accumulated over that period! Lock the money into a savings account and don't touch it... then you can watch it grow as it benefits from compound interest.
We all like going out for meals now and again and if you're not ready to give this up, consider investing $60 into an Entertainment Book. You'll soon find it pays for itself and it is a good way to try new restaurants you may not have been to before. The book has a variety of voucher styles which are helpful for either group outings with friends or romantic dinners for two, and even includes takeaways and entertainment options such as the movies and video stores. For more info check out www.entertainmentbook.com.au
Curb the daily splurge
Test yourself this week at work - add up what you spend on snacks, vending machines, morning coffees, deli sandwiches over a week and you will be shocked! It's quite easy to spend up to $10 a day (and more) if you buy lunch and coffee... that's $50 a week, or $2,450 a year - assuming you take a holiday. OUCH! Here are some ways to keep your spending down...
Keep a range of herbal teas and a teapot at your desk, or brew a nice plunger coffee in the morning and take it in a thermos flask.
Cook extra large dinners and freeze leftovers for lunch.
Prepare a quick and healthy lunch options lat home by setting some rice to boil on the stove while you shower. Throw in some frozen vegge and grab a can of tuna and you can enjoy a low-cost, nourishing and low fat lunch.
Get organised and buy fresh fruit and salad ingredients on the weekend and take a big bag in to keep at your desk and eat throughout the week. Chances are your waistline will thank you too.
If snacking is your problem, invest in a stash of small tupperware containers and fill them with foods such as dried fruit or roasted almonds, then keep them in your work drawer.
Style on a budget
Review what you spend on clothing. When you update your wardrobe, buy cheap seasonal purchases that are trend oriented, and splurge on classics that will last. As a total shoe fiend, everyone always knows I wear fabulous footwear, what they don't know is that I hunt most of it down from designer second-hand boutiques, sales, and outlet centres and boy do you find some bargains when you keep looking. Some items such as lingerie are not really seasonal at all, so check your phone book to see where the nearest factory shops are for the most amazing lingerie steals any time of the year.
Before you hit the supermarket, make a list and plan your meals for a week, this will keep you to a stricter schedule of items and help prevent splurges. I highly recommend purchasing your groceries online. I find going to the supermarket extremely stressful - the traffic battle there, the throngs of shoppers and then there's the going in for bread and milk and coming out with shampoo and a magazine! There are many reasons I love shopping online - the convenience and time saving are major strong points. I tend to order the same items often, and if I want to try new meals it is easy to add ingredients to your shopping list to save for a later purchase. It is easy to save money with online shopping as you can search the entire specials category and the real time calculator makes it a breeze to stick to a budget. And then there's the fact that I can go home and do some relaxing yoga while waiting for the nice delivery man to ring the door bell with my weekly shop. It doesn't get much easier than that!
Be good to the environment - cut carbons and save dollars at the same time... There are loads of small changes you can do in your home which will help you save a lot of money in the long run. Check out this story on stopping global warming for tips.
And, if you've noticed how much more your grocery bill increases when you have to purchase cleaning products, be sure to check out our DIY Cleaning Products story for effective cleaning products you can make yourself - no nasty chemicals... be good to the environment and be even better on your wallet.
You could also try car-pooling with a work-mate to save gas, ease traffic congestion and reduce the amount of carbons you put into the environment.
Give your mobile company a call and ask them to run a check on whether your phone plan is the most suitable for your usage... It is entirely possible that they have a better plan to reduce the expenditure on your phone costs. I recently discovered I was on the wrong plan and as soon as I changed over I instantly cut my monthly bill by $150 - $200! It's well worth the cost of a call to see if you can make any savings. Likewise, take a look at your home phone usage as well. If you have children that like to gossip on the phone, try to get them into the habit of keeping a log of their phone calls, and give them a set limit time to their calls such as 30 minutes in the evening. If you regularly make overseas calls then chances are you would be wise to investigate using an International Calling Card or using your computer to set up a Skype phone.
Be honest, when you go shopping you accept the ticketed price as the price don't you? We accept that we can haggle over the price of a house, or a car, but it's really not in our nature to haggle for other big-ticket items. The truth is many retailers have the ability to give you a discount on an item, or sweeten the deal with another item. Another way you can often get a good discount is buy bundling your purchases. I recently bought a laptop, a home phone, a car stereo and a few other computer items from a big name local retailer. I asked what their best price was and the sales assistant went straight to a computer and came back with a discounted price of $237 less than the original total. That was well worth my time asking! Of course, if you are going to haggle, be polite and friendly when you do it!
If you really want to be prepared, find the item you want, then do your research and find similar items from competitor's stores at a lesser price. When you are armed with this information with you, the sales person is made aware of the fact that they want your sale, but could lose it to the other store over a discount... chances are they will weigh this up in your benefit.
You could also try shopping with cash - some stores will happily give you a cash price on big ticket items - please note, unfortunately, haggling will not work in the supermarket!
Article by Je t'aime Hayr
If you have some great budgeting ideas, share them with the Gloss community by submitting a comment below!
Written by Coraliee, on 12-07-2009 19:59 I have started a 'Change Jar' - but call it the 'Cookie Jar', because some friends and I have planned to go the Cook Islands for a holiday in a years time. I put only notes in it and every time I put something in the jar I say "see you in the Cook Islands!" Its quite exciting - I recommend a tin one that you can't open, without a can opener - may stop temptation to break in to it!