It’s spring and while it might not be the start of a new year according to the calendar, it feels like the start of a new year. The days are getting longer, the birds are getting louder and the sun is definitely brighter. So, I’ve decided to take this feeling of renewal and apply it to some fresh goals.
In coming months money is going to be tight, very tight. There are a several reasons for this:
- As a small business owner, I’m seeing revenue diminish as the economy slows.
- Whispers in the press of an interest rate rise specifically aimed at taking the heat out of the housing market.
- The inevitable rise in prices of everyday commodities like food, petrol, utilities.
- And, the weatherboards on the ‘lean-to’ of my cottage need replacing – desperately.
I’ve been practicing a simple, frugal approach to life for many years but in the last year or so, I’ve dropped the ball a bit. Now is the time to get back on track and to ramp it up a notch or two. That’s going to mean being very organised; spending less on everything is much easier when you’re organised. For example, I once grabbed a serve of chilli con carne out of the freezer for my lunch at work. When I’d divided the chilli into single serves and put it in the freezer, I was in a hurry and didn’t label it thinking that I’d recognise the contents easily. If only that were true… Instead, I’d picked up a serve of tomato and vegetable sauce, which is very nice over pasta or chicken but not so appetising on its own. So, I was faced with buying a sandwich or going hungry. I’m motivated to save money but starving requires more motivation than I possess!
Sandwich – $6.00
Lesson in labelling frozen food – priceless
Five ways we’ll be spending less this year:
Library only for magazines, books and DVD’s
Our regional library carries a great range of titles and they’re free. It also has an online catalogue which means I can log on at any time and request the book or DVD I require and they let me know when it’s ready to pick up. This saves time and money.
Home cooked food
Food in general will continue to get more expensive but when you pay someone else to prepare it you’ll be paying even more. This year I’ll be vigilant about preparing all food, from scratch, at home.
Stay out of the shops
When I initially chose to change my approach to money and embrace a simple life, this was the first step I took – I deliberately stayed away from the shops. I no longer went for a stroll through the central shopping area during my lunch break and I was amazed at the effect on my bank balance. In order to, once again, reinforce this mind-set, I’m being more disciplined about my trips to the supermarket.
Stay out of the car
This is a no-brainer. The less you drive, the less you spend on petrol. And petrol is getting more and more expensive every week.
Turn off the television
The television is a dangerous object to have in your home. It not only sucks vast quantities of time from your life but it also exposes you to a universe of ‘wants’. The introduction of the television heralded a substantial shift in our society. People we would never normally associate with were suddenly in our home deliberately influencing the choices we made in our daily lives and those of our children – for their benefit, not ours.
Also, the time we lose while watching TV undermines our ability to do what we need to do. Have you ever totalled up your viewing time? What else could you have been doing during that time? While I don’t watch much television per se, I do watch DVD’s. The end result is pretty much the same, though – less influence perhaps but lots of lost time.
These are the top five ways I’ll be spending less this year. There are many other lesser approaches to being frugal that I’ll be employing in my quest to spend less money and ultimately reduce my mortgage and I’ll be sharing them with you, too.
What are your top five ways to spend less money?