Savings goals and spending limits. While those are two great places to start if you’re looking to grow your savings, if you don’t understand and address the cause of your overspending, you’ll find yourself quickly reverting back to your old ways.
So, how can you better understand and then address said overspending? Well, according to Natasha Janssens, Certified Money Coach at Women With Cents, it’s to check your bank account or bank statements, which can offer you great insights into your relationship with money. “Spending money is more often emotional than it is rational,” says Janssens.
“For example, do you spend on a lot of takeaway because you feel exhausted from your busy schedule? Do you frequently buy alcohol or indulge in retail therapy to improve your mood? Make a point of noticing what you are spending on and your why. It’s only by tapping into the emotion that triggers the spending then you can begin to shift your spending habits.”
Janssens suggests a simple activity to do is to track your non-essential spending for a week or two and to group it into three categories — emotional, disorganised or habit — and then tackle the category with the biggest spend first.
All that aside, while the psychology behind spending is good to keep in mind and Janssens’ suggested exercise is a useful one to do, there are countless easy ways you can start saving today and Janssens shares seven of them below.
Cancel Some Subscriptions
“Take a look at how often you use each subscription and unless it’s something you get regular use out of, consider cancelling it. Streaming services in particular can hook us into multiple subscriptions and is an easy starting point to declutter.
“It is also worth decluttering your inbox and unsubscribing from all the retail mailing lists. You can do this yourself or use an app such as Unroll Me — but keep in mind some free apps may mine or sell your data to third parties. The objection I often get here is ‘but what if I miss a sale’. The truth is that even if you paid full price for an item you need you will still be ahead than if you ‘saved’ a tonne buying things you don’t need but were tempted to buy.”
Order Less Takeaway
“The easiest way to save on takeaway is to be armed with quick and easy meals you can make yourself for those times you feel too tired or don’t have much time to cook. Doing a cook-up on a weekend once a month and freezing the portions is also a great time and money saver.
“Otherwise, for those times that you really do feel like giving yourself a treat by ordering takeout, you can save money by not buying the extras — for example, we use our own soft drinks and make our own steamed rice which shaves a large chunk off the final bill.”
Shop Smarter at the Supermarket
“I found that I saved about 30% by switching my shopping to ALDI. However, since then Coles and Woolworths have become more focused on price matching on many staple items, so if there isn’t an ALDI in your area don’t be disheartened — it is still possible to save on your groceries.
“If you don’t mind doing your shopping at different places, grocery comparison apps like Half Price: Grocery Deals and Frugl can help you to quickly do a price comparison in order to get the best deal.
“Getting to know your local supermarket and when they mark down prices — which is often late in the afternoons, buying unbranded, and avoiding packaged and convenience foods where you can. If you tend to be an impulse shopper, ordering your groceries online can help you stick within your budget — I also found it made me less likely to order takeaway as it was quicker to do my shopping, I simply reused my last grocery order.”
Revisit Your Gas, Electricity, Internet and Mobile Plans
“The biggest and easiest savings you can make is on your utility bills. If you aren’t shopping your bills every year when they are due for renewal, you are guaranteed to be leaving money on the table.
“Energy Made Easy is a government website designed to make it easy to understand your energy bill and shop for the best deal. Once you know how much you can save, you probably won’t even need to spend time switching providers.
“Simply call your energy company and ask them to match (or better) the competitor’s rate. There are also plenty of online comparison sites to make it easy for you to compare your phone, internet plans, and let’s not forget reviewing your mortgage and insurance policies.”
Cut Down on Expensive Cocktails
“While there is no harm in heading out with friends to celebrate every once in a while, if Friday night drinks are a regular event for you it might be time to consider switching to a cheaper drink or not drinking every time you go out.”
Drink More Water
“Drinking more water will keep you feeling fuller which will reduce the amount you spend on snacks as well as sugary drinks. It will give you more energy thereby reducing your reliance on coffee. It will improve your skin, which reduces the amount you spend on makeup and skincare. And it will improve your health, reducing your medical bills in the long run.
“If you feel the need to relax after a stressful day at work, swap out the glass of wine for 15 minutes of mindfulness. Apps like Insight Timer are free and can help you get into the habit of practicing mindfulness and meditation more often.”
Add a Dry Towel to the Dryer
“Also, popping a dry towel in the dryer with your wet clothes can reduce the drying time by up to 25%. Taking advantage of cashback apps when you shop online can also help you pocket some serious savings.”