You can do it too!
I don’t for a second want everyone to think that I made a small in Grand Cayman I didn’t. It is easy to fall in to bad spending habits that will leave you broke no matter how much you earn. Don’t work harder work smarter. Don’t earn more, just save more.
1. Stop taking your wallet to work
Have some money on you for absolute emergencies, but if you don’t have money, you can’t spend it on trivial things. If a friend calls you to meet up for a drink after work, you still go but avail of the free water. If you are one of those people who will have a bad day in work and go buy an expensive muffin or cookie, this is for you. You will be saving money and calories. I was so guilty of this. Monday? Cookie. Bad Day? Chocolate. Its Friday!? Donut. Any excuse to escape from the office for a few moments of sugary bliss.
2. Smokes, Booze and the Devil’s Dandruff
What ever your poison, it is costing you money. Some of the best nights of my life have been under the influence, but seriously cut back if you are trying to save. If you want a drink, invite some friends round to share a bottle of wine or six-pack. You can even stretch to the odd happy hour, but if you are drinking a few times a week and ordering drunk food after, think about all of the wasted travel potential. Cigarettes in particular are the most pointless of all. Their cost-benefit is extremely low and should be the first thing eliminated from your budget if you are trying to save. A pack of cigarettes cost $10 each. If you smoke 3 packs a week it is costing you over $1500 a year or that train trip around Europe you can’t afford.
3. Ditch the Coffee
Suck it up and drink the free instant coffee. Those Americano and Nespresso Pods really add up. For example, if you buy a $3 coffee ever day, thats $28 per week or $112 a month. 10 nights accommodation in Thailand or Mexico with some left for Pad Thai or Tacos. How bad to you really need that caffeine hit?
3. Keep an eye on Supermarket Offers
Buy whats on offer and what’s in season and work with that. Loves bananas but apples are half price this week? Buy the apples. This is easy when you aren’t a picky eater. Best to practice not being picky now as you may not always have choice when you are travelling. Experiment with food you never tried before. Keep your cupboard stocked with staples and then work with whatever you have for the week. Which brings me to my next point.
4. Learn to cook
Cooking is a lost art amongst millennials. Never has convenience food been so convenient. What you are saving on time grabbing that sandwich for lunch is costing you money that adds up over the week. There is zero preparation involved in making a sandwich so why do you pay such hyper-inflated prices for the convenience? Don’t forget that you are mainly paying for the plastic packaging which is ending up in the oceans. Other than the simple sandwich for lunch, why not go back to basics and get creative in the kitchen? Start a cooking club with your friends. That way, you get to host them but you also get some free meals in return. Trust me, a large grocery bill and some Tupperware will save you a fortune every week. Why waste money on a soggy sandwhich when you could be sampling a Roti in Delhi?
5. Let yourself go
This one is especially for the ladies. Those highlights in your hair that cost a few hundred dollars every few months? It’s time to go back to your low maintenance brown do that you do in the sink at home. Those perfectly plucked and shaped eyebrows? Caterpillars are back in fashion. Do you really need a 20th lipstick or nail varnish? (especially expensive brands that STILL test on Animals.)
Do not tell me you don’t have money to travel when you regularly shell out $50 to have colored plastic glued to your nails.
Netflix, Spotify, Audible, Gym, Yoga. Anything that is causing money to drip from your account monthly, has to go. I just saved $130 per month by cutting out all of those. Yes I miss unlimited music and audiobooks but working out outside is fine. There are thousands of free yoga videos on YouTube. The bottom line is that although these services are wonderful, they add up annually and when you are susbribed to several things at once.
7. If someone wants you bad enough, they will call
With Wifi everywhere, communicate via Skype, Facebook, WhatsApp and Email. Why are you in an expensive phone contract? Why do you need the latest model phone when the old one works just fine? Free yourself of phone bills. The only one you really need is a great internet provider. If you pay $50 a month on your current phone bill, you could save $600 a year.
8. Adopt a life of Minimalism
Stop buying stuff you don’t need. So simple but we live in a consumerist society. Why buy a new outfit for the weekend when your wardrobe is overflowing? Why buy new shoes when the old ones need repair? Remember that soon, you will be packing your life into a pretty tiny backpack. Before making a purchase, ask yourself, will this fit in my backpack?
9. Get on your bike
If it is at all possible, cycle to work. It’s free and great exercise. Cars are costly between repair, tax and insurance. With a bicycle, all you need is a pair of tyres, a functioning pair of legs and a helmet of course. If it rains, someone will feel sorry for you and give you a lift. (Maybe I’m lucky!)
10. Lights out
Getting energy saving bulbs, turing off lights and using the ceiling fan instead of air conditioning are all great ways to save on electricity. Don’t leave laptops and phones charging all night either. You would be surprised to save at least $20 a month on electricity. At least I was surprised, I always thought my father had an irrational fear of spontaneous combustion from mobile phone chargers. As it turns out, he knew that every unit of electricty used adds to your electricity bill.
What are the silliest things people that are always broke spend money on? What are your saving tips?