Envious of your financially adept peers who pay off their credit cards monthly, are faithful to their mortgage repayments, and can still holiday every year? Have you, in contrast, unwittingly contributed to the additional $230 million of credit card debt in the past month through wanton spending? Is ‘excessive’ your middle name and you equate ‘savings’ with a credit limit increase?
If you answered yes to any of the above, my three stage ultimate guide to being cheap is for you. Here is the first instalment on controlling your spending:
1. Make your goal emotive, and share it
We develop an emotional connection with the small luxuries we buy for ourselves – why not our big financial goals? Give an image or name to your goal and place it where you will see it daily and feel motivated to achieve it. Share your goals with friends and family to reduce any pressure on you to spend unnecessarily, and to create some support.
2. Know your spending weaknesses
In your world, does ‘David Jones’ equate with ‘weak at the knees’? Do you have VIP status on multiple shopping sites? Give yourself boundaries and steer clear from situations that encourage you to spend. Restrict your internet usage in your personal time and never save your credit card details on shopping sites, the more effort required, the less you’re likely to buy.
3. Review your bills
Do you baulk at your monthly bills, and yet never question their rates? You can save up to $150 per month by auditing bills and switching suppliers. Often, by bundling services, you can get a discount. Likewise, every year shop around for better car and health insurance before it’s time to renew.
4. Avoid buying at full price
Waiting a few weeks for an item to go on sale will help control impulse shopping, and create much-needed discipline. If you do need to buy, take the time to search for deals within coupons, promotions and discount codes. For further information on Finder.com.au or to source shopping deals visit Finder.com.au/deals
5. Paying for services that you can DIY?
Taking a regular beauty routine out of the salon and into your home can save you more than $1,000 a year, and exercising with a friend in place of a gym membership can save another $1,000. If you normally spend big at the pub, think about inviting friends over, and ask them to BYOG.
6. Avoid spending big in a group
Are you overly generous? Picking up the tab for drinks, taxis, movie tickets and the like may have helped you into debt in the first place. When your friends know you have a savings goal, you’ll feel less pressured to help them out, and they may even support you.