Money-saving may not be linked to mental health, but being in debt definitely can be.
That is why I have put together this list of ways to save money, so you can focus on the best things in life!
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The mental effects of money struggles
When we are broke and facing an endless cycle of bills and debt, our mental health and self-worth can take a huge blow. It can bring on a huge range of negative emotions including
- Anger and Fear
- Resentment of yourself and others
- Anxiety and Depression; and
We have all felt one (or more) of these emotions because of our financial situations at one point or another. That is why I am here to give you 21 tips on what you can start doing today to start fighting back and gain your financial freedom!
First and foremost
Before you even begin saving money, there are two things that should be done first (number one is an absolute must!)
1. Change your mindset
Changing your mindset is one of the best money-saving tips I can give you!
Mindset is not only the end-game, but it’s also the pre-game, and the game itself!
Once upon a time, there lived a generation that had homes, cars and a seeming set-up lifestyle by the time they were 25.
These days we are struggling to pay bills and the thought of owning our own homes is an impossible dream for most.
I’m sure you’ve heard it from countless older generations “when I was your age…”.
Now, stick with me here, the times have certainly changed but there are some habits that we have in our modern-day that are greatly impacting the way we spend our money.
This is where your mindset needs to change if you want to save money.
When we go to the shops, we see things in Kmart or Target for “only $5”. Those small purchases add up. If you buy one thing that is “only $5” once a week, then you have spent $260 in a year.
Coffee is another big one, where I live it’s $9 for a mocha frappe (my addiction!), and I used to get one once a week. That’s $468 a year. I nearly died when I saw that number!
Combine these two and we have $728 a year on things that we don’t need, but feel compelled to indulge in.
I’ve recently started changing my mindset, I stopped buying “pretty things that only cost $5” and now make my own frappes at home and as a result, we have already paid off over $600 on our debt. Not because I simply stopped buying things, but because I changed my mindset!
2. Declutter your home
You might be wondering what on earth this has to do with saving money, but it has more to do with it than you think!
Decluttering your home is an excellent place to start when saving money, because:
- You will be helping shift your mindset to focus on what you need in life, not what you think you need.
- All of the things you think you want, you probably already own in some form – instant money saving.
- Finding things no longer needed can be sold, this can go towards your debts and/or saving!
- You will be absolutely amazed at how much you can repurpose, rather than buying new.
So while decluttering isn’t a must, I really really recommend you do it. You never know what you’ll find!
3. Budget, Budget, Budget! The 50/30/20 Rule
This one seems really obvious, but it’s not as easy as it appears on the outside.
Budgeting takes practise, not everyone gets it right the first time – and that’s okay!
Sit down and work out a budget, the 50/30/20 rule is a great place to start when you don’t know where to start.
The 50/30/20 Rule is simple – You allocate your budget to 50% on your needs (bills, food etc), 30% on your wants (entertainment) and 20% into your savings (and/or debt).
I loveee planning, and planning my finances is no exception.
Set aside a book, planner or journal specifically for your finances.
We have a great printable financial planner in our store that will help you get on top of your finances much easier! (You can find it here)
5. Track your spending
Tracking your spending is an amazing way to see where all of your money is going. You may think that the coffee you buy at work is minuscule, but as we’ve already seen – it adds up!
I have a challenge for you!
After you’ve finished reading this post, I want you to track every.single.thing you spend money on over the next 2 weeks.
It doesn’t matter if it costs 30cents or $30 – track it! Both expected and unexpected expenses.
After 2 weeks, look over it and tally it up. Work out what you can cut down on. You will be so amazed at where all of your money is going!
6. DIY – a lot!
DIY-ing your products is a great cost-cutting tool. While it may seem inefficient at first, once you crunch the numbers you will see that you can save some big bucks when you DIY regularly!
For some cleaning and beauty DIY recipes, you can find them here!
7. Live below your means
Nobody wants to live below their means, I know. But living below your means doesn’t mean that you need to be living less than your best life.
Once you have your budget sorted you can work out ways to excel that suit your lifestyle.
Debt is a killer of credit scores and self-esteem. What seems like a good investment at the time can quickly turn into a nightmare of never-ending debt. So let’s look at ways to tackle the debt!
8. Pay off debts in order
What order is that you may be asking. The order of interest rates.
Write down all of your debts, and their interest rates. Then pay off the highest interest rates first.
It may be tempting to pay off the smallest debt you have, but this could actually cost you more money in the long run.
9. Set up a separate bank account for your debt
And then set up a direct debit for your debt. So that every repayment is automated and you aren’t tempted to spend above your means (and extend your debt).
Bonus tip: Once you have paid off your debt, keep the direct debit into that account. Your payments will go from debt repayments to saving deposits, and your spending habits don’t have to change at all!
10. Ditch AfterPay
AfterPay and other similar money-lending schemes like it are amazing, but also a risky game to play.
Those small fortnightly repayments easily add up, and you will get stuck in an endless cycle of micro-debt.
Trust me, I know! At one point I got so sucked into AfterPay that I was constantly paying off $200-$300 every fortnight! (Thankfully I’ve learned my lesson!)
So ditch AfterPay, ZipPay and everything in-between. It may seem like a good idea at the time, but debt is debt – no matter how small!
If you decide to continue using AfterPay (I totally get it!) then make sure you track it closely!
Do you want our Printable Finance Planner For FREE?
Our Members-Only section gives you access to this Premium printable for free!
Who doesn’t love shopping! If you’re reading this, then it’s probably because you are like me and love shopping a little too much.
That’s alright, we are going to tackle some ways you can save money while shopping!
11. Don’t take your cards with you
When you are going to the shops with no need to buy anything big, or do groceries, then don’t take any of your bank cards with you. Only take cash!
That $20 purchase seems like a great idea when you have your credit card on hand, but you will definitely rethink your purchase when all you have in your purse is a $20 note.
12. Shop around
Shopping centres hold a huge variety, and it pays to spend the extra time shopping around. (Plus, you’ll get some exercise too!).
Don’t settle for one shop, look and see what else is on offer and for how much.
Same goes for online. I always do a quick google search and see what other prices are available, and make my choice from there. It takes next to no time and can save a lot of money.
13. Reward Cards and Vouchers
If you shop in certain stores often, it can pay to grab one of their rewards cards. It may seem like you will never save enough points for a voucher, but if you use it regularly enough, you get the points and then you have a sweet free $20 to spend.
As for vouchers, the days of cutting out coupons are nearly over. However, there are plenty of apps for shopping coupons available, as well as built-in extensions for your desktop browser.
I use Honey for my online shopping. Honey is a free coupon-finder which you use as part of your browser. It automatically searches through thousands of coupons and finds you the best deal for that website you are on.
They also have their own rewards system, that gives you a $10 voucher on selected stores once you hit 1,000 points.
If you want to check out Honey, you can find it here. (It’s totally free!)
14. Meal Planning & Buying in Bulk
Meal planning is a really under-utilised way to save money.
When you plan all of your meals, it allows you to plan ahead and then buy in bulk, and we all know that buying in bulk can be cost-effective!
If you’d like more help with meal planning, make sure you check out our guide on How to plan a month of meals
15. Don’t buy new
Buy second hand whenever you can. Buying second hand has so many amazing benefits, to not only your wallet but also the environment.
Plus, it is really fun to spend a day thrift shopping with your bestie!
16. Can you buy it twice?
I can’t remember where I read this, but I absolutely love it!
When you are about to make a purchase, ask yourself “Can I afford to buy this twice?”
If the answer is no then you can’t really afford to buy it once, so move along!
This tip has been the best one for me, personally. I now ask myself this question every time I go to buy something. The answer is usually a big fat “NO!” and then I usually forget it within a few days anyway.
17. Invest in the long-term
Instead of buying disposable items, invest in quality items that can be used for the long term.
Things like reusable coffee cups are a great start, a lot of coffee shops now offer discounts when you bring your own cup. So it’ll pay itself off in no time (if you aren’t ready to ditch the coffee shop yet, anyway!)
Reusable coffee cups aren’t daggy-dad accessories anymore, they come in some really gorgeous and stylish designs!
I’ve got my eye on one of these beautiful Simple Modern cups, myself!
So we have covered your starting point, budgets, debts and shopping – let’s end this post with how you can actively save money even before you’ve paid off your debts.
18. Start small
When you have your mindset ready to go, make sure that you start small when hitting the world of saving.
A great way to start getting into the habit of your new mindset is to buy putting all of your coins in a jar and forgetting they exist.
One or two times a year, count all those marvellous coins and deposit them into your bank account. Easy money!
19. Save every low-value note
Coins aren’t the only thing you can save without making a dent in your purse.
Saving every low-value note such as a $5 note can make a huge impact on your savings (Or a $1/$2 note if you have them!)
20. Get a cheap hobby
This one might seem a bit counter-productive, but it isn’t.
Invest in a cheap hobby and this will help not only your finances but also your mental health.
“But Jess, how can it help my finances if I’m spending money!?”.
When you have a nice little hobby, you are keeping yourself occupied. This means that you aren’t shopping out of boredom or spending enough time online to impulse buy.
But remember to keep it cheap – something like joining a book club (signing up to kindle unlimited is an excellent way of not adding to the clutter!) or yoga class. Nothing that will add financial strain or add clutter to your home, then it would be counter-productive.
21. Automate your savings
And finally, automate your savings.
This simply means that you set up a direct debit, and every time you get paid a set amount of your income gets put into a savings account.
Setting and forgetting, it’s a great way to save for an emergency fund.
Start small, and up the amount whenever you can!
Bonus Money-Saving Idea
Yep, I have one more tip for you!
30 Day No Spend Challenge!
An excellent way to jumpstart the right mindset for your new financial future is to take part in a no-spend challenge.
The challenge is simple – don’t spend any money for 30 days and see just how much money you save in a little over 4 weeks!
Check out our No Spend Challenge Printables for some extra help!
I did my own no-spend challenge and put aside all of the money that I would have spent over the course of 30 days. An amazing $264.85!
If I can do it, you definitely can do it!
So, what are you waiting for? Get saving!
Do you have any awesome money-saving tips?
We would love to hear them! Share your best kept money-saving secrets in the comments section.