So it’s nearing the end of month 2 of my spending fast and I bet you all want to know how its going! I will be completely honest with you, I have slipped up on occasion but overall (and considering it was Christmas and New Years!) I have really done better than I thought I would.
Christmas went really well, we have a group of 10 for Christmas lunch, followed by left overs for dinner so its pretty easy to cater for (thanks mum! I can’t take any credit, she is amazing). I was able to stay on budget for buying gifts, I had grabbed plenty of wrapping paper at last years Christmas sales so I didn’t even have to spend money on that. I have looked into possibly doing one of those Chrisco Christmas hampers (you pay a small amount per week for 40 weeks and end up with huge hampers) but the prices don’t seem all that special, if anything you are paying to have it off your mind and it will just arrive ready for Christmas. I think I’d prefer to just budget in some Christmas savings and buy things closer to the time. But I do see the appeal of being able to avoid the shops at Christmas!
Some of the things I was worried about spending money on over the Christmas break were things like eating out and going to the movies – I was lucky enough to get some free movie tickets so that has mostly been covered. One trap I didn’t see coming was that I still had to pay $3 on my movie ticket as the movie we were seeing was being featured in extreme screen – heads up people to check this before you decide on a movie time.
As for New Years it was a quiet one at home this year, just some movies and snacks to see us through to midnight. I don’t like starting the year off by sleeping in half of the day because I was up all night/morning so I’m usually in bed by 12.30 if not sooner. But even if you love to see the night through with friends there are plenty of thrifty ways of doing it. Why not consider a BBQ and drinks at home with friends, you can save yourself a fortune on food and drink this way and still have a great night.
So the other slip up came when I didn’t plan ahead and ended up eating lunch out a few times early Jan. So as far as my $50 spending money a month goes I had spent January before the month was out. BUT getting back to work on the 5th really helped me stick to a routine and I can happily say I have not even touched Feb’s $50 (thanks to a bit of money I got for Christmas!).
Well I promised you tips on how to stop spending money, so here are some that I have embraced since starting on my spending fast:
Stay out of stores. This might seem like a no brainer (especially at Christmas when everyone and their dog are at the shops) but before starting the spending fast I would find myself wondering around stores to kill time. Very dangerous move, this leads to ‘sales’ and ‘great finds’ that I don’t need. Shopping has become a recreational activity, you’d be surprised how many people just ‘go shopping’ for something to do. I have been one of those people!
Get busy. For people who shop because they have nothing better to do (or are there for a reason but find themselves lingering and overspending), get busy doing things you love to do, your hobbies, or free activities.
Get real with your wants and needs. Challenge your automatic answers when things break and need replacing. Ask yourself if you can live without it, you might be surprised by your answer.
Avoid impulse purchases. When you go shopping take a list and stick to it. It’s so easy to head to the supermarket for food and come home with things you didn’t need. The same goes for any purchases, if you need an item of clothing and you go without a list its easy to lose track of your spending.
Do a clean out and stock take. You can easily accumulate multiple items over time, have a clean out and you’ll come across so many things you thought you had lost/needed to replace. I can stop buying hand moisturiser, seriously, I have enough to last a lifetime.
Keep track of what you are saving by not spending. Every time you get the urge to spend something that isn’t a “need”, write it down in a little notebook instead of purchasing. Include everything from a coffee to a new shirt. At the end of the month, add it all up and you can see first hand how much money falls through your fingers – and how awesome you’re doing at saving!
Consider quitting some regular spends. I have a habit of buying magazines when I crave buying junk food. This is a good habit for my health, but not so good for the wallet. By writing down what I would have purchased and reading some blogs and articles online I still get to enjoy the same buzz from a magazine without the expense. Same goes for buying a coffee in the morning, I stopped doing this and its saving me just under $5 a day (I like a big vanilla late so it aint cheap). The coffee habit has been easy to kick given its summer, but I know I love a hot drink in the morning in winter so I’m planning to break out the travel mug and take a home-made hot drink. For other people this might be a weekly bingo habit, or maybe smoking, or even big weekends in town they can quit to save some cash.
Become addicted to saving. When I decide to do something, I give it everything I’ve got. I write about it, plan it out, read about it, pin images about it, I learn as much as I can until people are sick of hearing me go on and on about it. If you repeat a habit long enough, they will stick.
I hope some of these examples can help you get thrifty this year!