"Secrets to Saving Money" Free Newsletter - February 2016
This issue includes:-
- Sad Sally, Happy Hanna: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
- January: The 100 Million Dollar Challenge
- New Year, New Hints!
- Best of the Vault: Little Bits DO Add Up!
- Best of the Forum: Every Saving Counts
- Best Members' Blog: The Little Bits Are Adding Up!
- Best of Facebook: We Saved $18,000 in Six Months!
- Mixing It Up a Bit: Mimi and Rob
- Saving Story: A Series Of (Un)fortunate Events
- Goodbye For Now
How are you going? I hope you have had a great January. Things have been very busy around here and I have been having a ball recording my savings every day on the 100 Million Dollar Challenge. Our group total so far is $168,700. How cool is that?!
If you haven't popped in and checked out the 100 Million Dollar Challenge yet, please do so. The URL is:
We would love you to join in the fun!
P.S. Joining the 100 Million Dollar Challenge is free now. It will cost money to sign up later.
P.S.S. A few people have written in saying they are having trouble working out where to submit hints. I'm sorry, that is my fault. If you have a great tip, the best way to send it to us is from this hint submission page.
1. Sally and Hanna: Rome Wasn't Built in a Day
Sally sat down heavily at her desk. Her head flopped on the table. "This is IT!" she declared. "I have had enough. NO MORE SAVING FOR ME. I have been on this saving kick for years now and where has it got me? Tell me that, Hanna! Where has it got me?"
Hanna cast her mind back to the beginning. She remembered how Sally worked back every night. She remembered the food Sally used to eat. She remembered how sad Sally was. She remembered Sally's credit cards, her massive home loan, all the shopping bags, and thought about how much Sally had improved. She had come such a long way! But Hanna didn't know what to say or how to make her friend see the huge difference all her years of effort had made.
Sally had forgotten all her improvements. She had lost track of her savings. She had even lost track of her goals. Then, quite by chance, Hanna opened an email from Simple Savings reminding her about the 100 Million Dollar Challenge. The timing was uncanny! And, Hanna smiled to herself; she knew just the thing to get Sally back on the savings bandwagon...
2. January: The 100 Million Dollar Challenge
Sally has a short memory, bless her. Anyone who has kept up with her antics over the past decade knows she has achieved some wonderful things and made some fantastic changes. Sure, it hasn't all been plain sailing (nobody's perfect!) but overall she has come a long, long way. Over the years Sally's efforts have saved her a fortune. So how come she seems to have forgotten?
It is because she hasn't been recording her savings or keeping track of her progress. Imagine if Sally could see all the money her decisions had saved her; all the money she didn't have to earn to stay afloat; all the extra hours she didn't have to work.
If that was the case Sally wouldn't be hitting her head on the desk in frustration. She would be sitting tall and proud. That is what we want you to do this year; to stand tall and proud with us. To add up your savings and see how well you are doing. It is time to celebrate each cent and every action.
Our motto for this year is 'little bits add up' and our goal is to prove how quickly making tiny savings can add up to huge amounts of money with our 100 Million Dollar Challenge. What is that? It's a celebration of each and every saving you make, no matter how small. Consider this your personal invitation to take part and see just how much of a difference your efforts DO make to your finances this year.
For those of you who have previously used our Save-O-Meter, the principles are the same. Every time you make a saving, don't keep it to yourself! It takes just a few seconds to type it in and add it to our challenge tally. The great thing about doing this is, not only do you get to affirm and feel good about each saving you make (not to mention have a well-earned brag about it with the rest of us), you also get to inspire others and be inspired at the same time by sharing ideas to help us strive even further. You also get to see just how much all the little bits you save here and there really do add up. The big difference between the Save-O-Meter and the 100 Million Dollar Challenge is the goal figure at the end. We've already managed to save over 45 million dollars with the Save-O-Meter without even trying. This year we've raised the bar even further and set a total. Let's see what we can all achieve when we all REALLY put our minds to it!
You can get started entering all your savings (both regular and one-off) with the 100 Million Dollar Challenge. At the moment signing up to it is free but as we come up with more functions to make it an even better savings tool it will become a paid feature, so take advantage of it now and get logging in those savings! And, if you ever find yourself feeling like Sally, think about all the changes YOU have made, how much money you've saved. Remind yourself how far you've come and then, like in Finding Nemo, 'just keep swimming, just keep swimming'. Keep going in the right direction - and you will get there.
3. New Year, New Hints!
Now be honest, when was the last time you sent in a money saving tip to us? For many people, the New Year heralds new commitment and enthusiasm to saving money and squashing cash-draining habits. If this sounds like you, we want to hear from you! What is your favourite money saving tip you have learned or created for yourself so far this year? What was your favourite tip from last year that you never got around to sending in? What's your favourite tip EVER? Take a few moments to send them in to us and you could be a winner! Every hint which gets picked for Hint of the Week wins a free 12 month Vault membership, valued at $27. If you don't currently have one, this means you get instant access to all the whistles and bells Simple Savings land has to offer, from brilliant financial resources and all sorts of other cool stuff free members don't get to play with, to being part of the hub of the Simple Savings community, the Savings Forum. If you already have a paid membership, no problem - your winning tip will still earn you another whole year once your current membership expires, for free!
So don't delay, send us your tips today! It's super easy, all you need to do is fill out the hint submission form here and our friendly staff will await your tips with eager anticipation. The Vault is growing constantly with new and exciting ways to save money, why not add yours too?
4. Best of the Vault: Little Bits DO Add Up!
If you need any proof of just how much all those little savings here and there add up, look no further than the Vault. Be warned, however, once you dive in and start reading all those motivational tips, you may find yourself glued to your screen for hours! Here are just a few to give you an idea.
10% less on everything means more
Save money by using the 10% principle! Instead of trying to change your lifestyle, just try cutting down on everything (and I mean everything) by 10%. Reduce your travel by 10%, reduce electricity, water usage, even takeaway by 10%. In turn, stretch groceries by 10% and get that extra 10% wear out of things. By using the 10% principle on a $25,000 take home pay, you end up with an extra $2500 in your pocket!
Always room for improvement
I have been a Simple Savings member for years and by using the tips and hints from the Vault in our everyday life, we have knocked $80,000 off our $180,000 mortgage in just a few years!
My husband is a police officer and I'm a teacher so we earn an average combined wage. We bought a house within our means and have paid triple repayments since day one. We have also enjoyed overseas holidays every year for the past five years (including six months around Europe and a five-star trip to Egypt)! I always think, 'Yeah, we're doing okay!' but on a recent visit to see my wasteful parents(!) I noticed they were going to the supermarket every day for bits and pieces. I came home and looked over my bank statement and was disgusted to see that for the month of August, we went to the supermarket 23 times! And spent $1225.90! That's $306.48 per week, for two adults and an eight-month-old, which is beyond ridiculous!
Here I was being all smug and thinking we were nailing it! My advice for everyone is to be honest with yourself, review what you are doing periodically and use the tools available on this website. Menu planning, stock-taking and shopping once a week with a list are good places to start. Even though we employ lots and lots of SS principles, are way ahead on the mortgage and about to head to the USA for the next big holiday, there is always room for improvement!
Cheap is good, cheaper or free is better!
I have saved hundreds of dollars by using my 'Cheap, Cheaper and Free' spreadsheet! Basically I set up a simple spreadsheet with four columns. The columns are headed Regular, Cheap, Cheaper and Free. Every time I buy something in my budget, I try to come up with the cheapest possible option, for example, when watching a DVD:
- Regular would be buying a DVD.
- Cheap would be renting instead.
- Cheaper would be using a discount voucher to rent a DVD.
- Free would be borrowing a DVD from a friend or the library.
On my spreadsheet I highlight the option I'm currently doing and challenge myself to eventually have only highlighted options in the 'Cheaper' and 'Free' columns. It's fun and challenging to try to come up with cheaper and free ways to do everything. Sometimes there may not be a free way, but there is ALWAYS a cheaper way!
Fill a treasure chest with gold!
One year a friend gave me a money tin and on the side of it was printed, 'If you fill this tin with only gold coins, by the time it's full you will have at least $500'. It really didn't look big enough to hold that amount of money, but I love a challenge so I decided to find out if it could!
We started in March and any gold coins we had went into the tin. Our goal was to open the tin at Christmas and use it to pay off lay-bys plus have some spending money over the Christmas break.
November rolled around and the tin wasn't quite full. However, when we opened it up and counted our 'gold' we were very surprised and extremely happy to discover we had collected $700 in our little tin!
Because of that little treasure chest of gold we enjoyed a fantastic stress-free Christmas! I was able to pay for all the presents for our immediate and extended family as well as cater for a great Christmas day feast, AND we had spending money left over for the holidays.
Now it's a family tradition. My sceptical husband happily donates all his gold coins to the tin and my 12-year-old will go hunting for gold coins just to add them to the collection! I know that I don't have to worry about the financial strain of Christmas anymore as my tin has got it covered.
Happiness and honesty saves on splurges
The easiest way I have found for me to save is to be honest with myself. After becoming aware that I was saying 'this will be my ONE indulgence while I save' at least once a day (with savings going nowhere - strange that!), I had to face the facts. I am not happy with what I am doing work-wise at the moment, therefore I vent my frustration by spending money on trifles. This simply keeps me in limbo, just numbing the 'pain' enough to go on and on. I now have a choice - either I change my job, or my attitude. Either way, all these 'deserved indulgences' will no longer be necessary. Estimated savings - between $3.50 per day for my coffee, with shoes and designer hair shampoo thrown in, I come up with a way to instantly save an easy $300-400 a month!
Money tin savings work online too
I have discovered that regularly checking the balance of my everyday bank account and putting just a few cents away into savings each time adds up to some big savings. How it works is this - I check the balance of my everyday account online and then transfer every amount under a dollar showing on that balance, to my savings account. For example, if my everyday balance showed $300.45, I would transfer that $0.45c to my savings account.
If I transfer $0.05c every day, then I save $18.25 per year. But if I have as much as $0.99c to transfer each time, I save $361.35! The more often I log on, the more I save. It works on the same principle as the Money Tin Challenge - except that I had let this spare change slip down the back of the virtual couch for too many years - not anymore!
Sacrifice your vices and save $10,000
Our family are all set to save $10,000 this year! My husband, three children and I have decided to give up the foods that we like the most for the sake of our health and our bank balance. Hubby Steve is giving up iced coffee, which he was drinking as much as four litres of a day, at a cost of $15 a day! The children are giving up tuck shop snacks, which will save us a further $60 a week and I will give up cake, chocolate and lollies, saving yet another $50 a week. Making these changes should save about $850 per month. If we can keep this up all year we will save $10,200 and be healthier too - a small sacrifice for a terrific result!
$3 a fortnight makes mortgage $1800 cheaper!
I have discovered how just $3.00 a fortnight can make a big difference to your mortgage! Check out the www.moneysmart.gov.au mortgage calculator. Here you can see how increasing your mortgage payment by even $1.00 a fortnight will change the total interest paid over the life of the loan. From the Tools & Resources tab, select 'calculators & apps', then 'Mortgage calculators'. Use the 'How can I repay my loan sooner' option to select this calculator. Next, enter your current mortgage balance, interest rate, repayments and frequency. You'll see the capital in one colour, then the interest and fees in another. Click 'Compare alternative', then enter your repayment plus $1.00 more. Now you'll have two bar graphs to look at. By rolling your mouse over the fees and interest section you will see the total sum. Subtract the higher repayment sum from the original to calculate your saving in interest over the loan term.
In this way I have worked out that for our mortgage, just $1.00 extra paid every fortnight equates to approximately $600 in interest saved over 24 years. In addition, as ours is a variable rate loan, every extra $ paid now reduces the future impact of rising interest rates. The less capital we owe when rates go up, the smaller the increase in repayments. This may seem a small, slow saving but it is money you can use on something else, such as enjoying your retirement!
5. Best of the Forum: Every Saving Counts
New year, new beginnings and new goals. Our Forum members are busy as ever setting their targets for the year and sharing how they're going to reach them!
If you are the kind of person who gets motivated to stay on track even further by having a visual reminder of your goal, Clutterhen has some strategies for you. Choose a way which suits you best and watch all those little bits add up.
When you have no money to spare, every little saving counts! GoGo Goanna (with a little help from nuclear physicist Ernest Rutherford) shows how a lot of valuable little savings can be made when you put your thinking cap on!
Newlywed Martha has some big goals - and she's super focussed on getting there! Follow her journey as she goes about reaching her first target of saving $40,000 by October and be inspired along the way.
6. Best Members' Blog: The Little Things Are Adding Up!
One of the many benefits of being a Vault member is that you can win $100 cash each month for your Simple Savings blog! Starting your own blog on the site is easy. All you have to do is log into the Vault, click on 'My Desk' at the top left, then 'Your Blog'. Then get writing! We love reading all your money saving trials and tribulations and really appreciate the effort that goes into each one.
This month's Blog winner is MoneyMine for her blog about how all the countless small savings we make really can make a difference. Check out the result!
The Little Things Are Adding Up!
"Only days into my new financial mission and I feel as though I'm doing really well!
YNAB is beyond belief brilliant, I'm on a free trial for now, but will definitely be subscribing. I've cancelled my Cozi app subscription, which will cover half the yearly cost. I've tried other budgeting systems and apps, but YNAB is the first system that has REALLY made sense as far as handling my money is concerned.
To save money so far this week I have:
- done a food stocktake
- menu planned based primarily on what I had at home
- shopped with a list
- said no to takeaway, and made alternatives at home for a fraction of the price
- taken our own drinks and snacks with us whenever we went out
- tracked every cent I've spent in YNAB
- made egg sandwiches for us all to have for lunch today, in order to use up a dozen eggs that were nearing expiry
- made some snacks for the kids using ingredients I already had in the house
- avoided all impulse buys...and stopped browsing the shops for entertainment!
The result? For the first time, in a very, very long time, I'm going to finish the week with some money still in the bank. Not much mind you, as I'm on a very low income, but enough to cover my mobile bill and health insurance (extras only) that's due out on the 1st. I won't have to touch a line of credit to make ends meet. That in itself is huge!
I do have some big bills coming up over the next two weeks with the kids returning to school and ballet lessons, but I now feel confident I'll be able to get those taken care of, and start building my emergency fund."
Great stuff MoneyMine, keep up the good work! You can read more of our members' blogs here.
7. Best of Facebook: We Saved $18,000 in Six Months!
What's the only thing better than joining the Simple Savings website? Joining the Simple Savings website AND our community Facebook group! Double the motivation, double the inspiration and double the enjoyment! We love to hear of your savings triumphs and it made our day to read this post from Kymelise:
"About six months ago I rang up my banks and found out I was $52,000 in debt! I'm 22 years old and felt horrible about it so decided to make a change! Yesterday I rang them again to see how I'm going and I'm now $34,000 in debt! Surprising what I can do when I only buy what I need rather than what I want! This page has helped me a lot. Thanks!"
Before you ask, Kymelise doesn't own a single credit card! Like many people she and hubby just got sucked into the high interest trap on their work vehicles. Changing a few simple habits has already made a massive difference and the young couple aim to be debt-free in two years. Awesome effort!
Joining our busy Facebook community is super easy. Either search up 'Simple Savers' on Facebook or click this link and request to join. Once you're in, let the fun begin!
8. Mixing It Up a Bit: Mimi and Rob
You may have noticed the format of our newsletter has changed this year. We have made it shorter and we are planning to vary its size and contents every month. Unfortunately, this means we have lost our regular bloggers, Mimi and Rob.
If you would like to find Mimi, she has a fantastic blog where she is running frugal gift making workshops and will soon be publishing her own superbly stunning and always classy book. If you would like more of Mimi go to:
If you would like more of Rob, his YouTube channel is going great guns and his Facebook Group "Share the Seed" is a great place to hang out. Here are links to both:
Both Mimi and Rob will be making appearances in this newsletter from time to time, but not every month.
9. Savings Story: A Series of (Un)fortunate Events
"I had been living beyond my means for some time and knew I needed to trim my spending. For the last couple of years I had been pretty careful with purchases, but was not succeeding in 'cutting my coat according to my cloth'. About eight or nine months ago I decided I would only spend cold hard cash. I withdrew what I could afford to once a week from the bank and forced myself to make do with that until the following week. What a shock! The first couple of weeks I was penniless within 24 hours and had long lists of unpurchased 'necessities'. My grocery shopping barely covered the bottom of the trolley. (What a joy when it came to unpacking it!) I discovered I could do without many things and started making all food (including bread) from scratch. Most things tasted better and I enjoyed cooking. I started buying vegetable seedlings and growing them, but have had to trim that back to seeds to supply us with enough. The junk food and alcohol are long gone - the money never makes it that far. I lost weight! But I still wasn't making ends meet, so I had to cut back on contents insurance. The result has been that I am more careful with what I do have and am becoming less concerned about material possessions as I am not acquiring expensive new ones anyway. I had more free time on the weekends as I didn't 'have' to scour the newspaper for the best buys and then rush around putting them on the credit card. However, I still needed to trim my expenses, so I had to forgo my medical insurance. I find I am now so much more careful with my lifestyle, diet and exercise and I suspect it is because my subconscious knows that there is no comfortable private hospital or top specialist waiting for me if anything goes wrong.
Petrol is still a thorn in my side and I am very conscious of the percentage of my hard-earned money that is going on harming the environment just to get me to work. Tomorrow I have an interview for a less 'glamorous', but otherwise similar job within walking distance of my home. This would also increase my exercise. So far, the follow-on effects of spending only cash I have in my hand have not ended. But each time I have had to make a tough decision about which 'necessity' to forgo to live within my means, I have discovered that going without is not as bad as I feared and that, oddly enough, I am now healthier, happier, less rushed, more in control of my life and proud of my resourcefulness than I ever was when I had everything I thought I needed.
10. Goodbye For Now
Well, that's the first Simple Savings Newsletter for 2016 done and dusted! We hope you have enjoyed it. Don't forget to check the Forum and Facebook for challenges and tips to inspire you to keep making all those little savings every day. Be sure to record them in the 100 Million Dollar Challenge too! Let's see how much we can all save together.
Our members are hugely important to us and we love hearing from you all! So next time you're on the website, why don't you get in touch and say, 'G'day'! Let us know what you would like to see more of in our newsletter or any suggestions you have for something new to try. We love receiving your clever ideas!
Keep spreading the love around to your family and friends too by forwarding them our newsletter or letting them know about our website. Help make their lives easier and save them money too! Or tell them about us on Facebook by clicking the 'like' button on our Simple Savings Facebook page.
Until next time...
All the best,
PS: Want to make 2016 your best money saving year ever? Get a Vault membership! All the money saving tips you could possibly ever need available with the click of a mouse and each one is carefully categorised to make it easy to find what you want, when you want it. A Simple Savings Vault membership also makes the perfect thoughtful gift. With a 365 day 'no questions asked' money back guarantee, you have nothing to lose, only big savings to gain. To find out more about joining the Vault and to purchase a 12 month membership, click here.