"Secrets to Saving Money" Free Newsletter - August 2016
This issue includes:-
- Sad Sally, Happy Hanna: Everything She Wants
- August: Desert Island Dreams
- Super Dooper Bumper Best Of The Vault
- Best of the Forum: We're Not Going Without, We're Getting Ahead!
- Best Members' Blog: The Techno Age
- Best of SS Facebook: How to Stop Buying Things You Don't Need
- Savings Story: Tears Turn to Triumph for Happy Declutterer
The start of a new season is the perfect time to ditch old habits and replace them with shiny new ones instead. Over the years we have talked about 'wants versus needs' many times. While most people know what they are and can tell the difference, we don't always consider the effect they have on our lives and how they can trip us up. That's what this month's newsletter is all about! It's full to bursting with tons of brilliant and thought provoking tips to help you get closer to achieving your dreams. We hope you enjoy reading it as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.
Wishing you a wonderful month,
1. Sad Sally, Happy Hanna: Everything She Wants
"Brr, I'm sick of this cold weather!" Sally grumbled. "Lucky Hanna and John, sunning themselves in Bali!" "Yes, I know where I'd rather be right now!" chuckled Pete. "I wish we could afford a holiday," sighed Sally. "Fat chance of that though! Honestly Pete - first they're off on holiday, next they're moving to a beautiful new house. What next, a new Ferrari in the garage?"
"Ooh, do I detect a hint of sour grapes?" teased Pete. "Come on love, they work hard, they deserve a break as much as anyone else. Good on them I say!" "But we work hard too! You're right, maybe I am jealous but I don't understand it. Why is it Hanna always gets everything she wants?" Sally pouted. "I'm sure she doesn't get EVERYTHING she wants," Pete kissed the top of Sally's head. "I think she just wants different things than you do."
"What do you mean? I'd love a holiday and a new house!" Sally replied indignantly. "Yes - but Hanna earned those things by going without many things for many years. And when you don't waste money on the little things, you can afford big things like holidays. That's the difference, love," Pete explained gently. Sally glared at him with a look that could have curdled milk. "Well thank you very much, Peter. I said I wanted a holiday, not a lecture!"
2. August: Desert Island Dreams
Contrary to what Sally believes, Hanna doesn't get everything she wants. She has avoided wants and bought only what she needed for a long, long time. She didn't buy lots of clothes, lived with old furniture, went without a new car and fixed, patched, borrowed and mended wherever she could. Her patience and hard work has paid off and now she wants to finally enjoy her dream holiday; would you begrudge her that?
Like many people, Sally also longs for a tropical island holiday. She could get there, she's so close she's almost standing on the edge of it - but every cup of takeaway coffee, every pair of shoes, every new mobile phone she buys pushes her further and further away from ever setting foot on it, because she doesn't see them as a barrier. Until Sally recognises the distance that she herself is putting between her and her island, her holiday dreams and hopes for security will continue to elude her.
Is there a pile of junk between you and your dreams, like Sally's? Think about the things you frequently spend money on. Takeaway? Mobile top-ups? Cigarettes? Credit card purchases? How many of them need to be there? How many have you put there? These are your barriers. As long as you keep putting those barriers between you and your goals, you're never going to get there.
We all know the difference between a want and a need. This month focuses on identifying and eliminating all the things which are cluttering your path and getting in the way of what you REALLY want.
3. Super Dooper Bumper Best Of The Vault
When it comes to spotting the difference between a want and a need, our members are experts! We have so many terrific hints in the Vault on this subject that it was impossible to choose just a few. So this month we bring you a Super Dooper Bumper Best of the Vault, featuring no less than 25 of our favourite examples. Read on and see how easy it is to make a big difference to your finances by giving unnecessary wants the old heave-ho!
$66 saved in one caffeine-free month
I saved $66 in one month, just by giving up caffeine! I vowed I would not buy or consume coffee, chocolate or soft drink for a whole month and this was the result! Not only do I feel better for it I have an extra $66 to show for my efforts. I am convinced I can do even better next month and am planning a 'no sugar' month - no lollies, donuts or biscuits which I would normally buy. By doubling the challenge to include no caffeine AND no sugar, I believe I can double my savings to $120 per month! I have tried all sorts of ways to try and slash my grocery bill before this, but this has been the best I have come up with yet!
'Fish and chip philosophy' curbs spending
Our family lives by my 'fish and chip philosophy' which helps us put our spending priorities into perspective.
Whenever anyone in our family wants to buy something, we check if it's on special and then think about whether or not we really need it. To help us decide, I point out how the money spent on this item could be put toward fish and chips at the beach. We only have fish and chips occasionally, but it puts a concrete thought in our minds about how the money could be spent - on something frivolous now, or saved up and spent on a special treat for the whole family to enjoy.
Also, if someone comes home with something that they could possibly do without, I ask - 'how many fish and chips would that have bought?' This reinforces the point about being careful with money, without having to give a lecture about it!
'Grandma's Day' saves $30 a week on groceries
My husband and I have begun saving up to $30 per week on our grocery bill since we invented 'Grandma's Day!' When we go to the supermarket we ask ourselves, 'would Grandma have been able to buy this item in her day 60+ years ago?' If the answer is no, then we decide we don't need to buy it either! This saves us money on a whole range of items such as fancy dips, designer coffees and biscuits. We used to pay over $3.00 for a pack of 10 biscuits, now I can make 12 biscuits for around $1.00. Using plain yoghurt as a base we are even making our own dips; there are so many websites with great dip ideas. Now we are saving valuable money and our waistlines too!
'Needs' and 'wants' jar system stops impulse buys
My 'wants' and 'needs' money boxes are saving me heaps of money in frivolous purchases. Every time I feel the urge to buy something I decide whether it is a 'want' or a 'need', write the item on a piece of a paper and put the paper into either my 'want' jar or my 'need' jar. At the end of the month I assess what's in each jar and decide if it really is a want or a need item. If it's a need I research the cheapest place to buy it, and it comes out of my weekly budget. More often than not I decide that I don't need the item, so the money stays in the bank!
'Use what you have' - words to live by!
By having the words 'Use what you have' written as a reminder in your home (perhaps on a blackboard), it can help stop you from buying something you don't really need! Here are some examples of how this has helped us:
- I had run out of soap, but as we had a stash of soaps from hotels where we had stayed, we used those up first. I also had samples of moisturiser which I used up before buying more, and will use up all my perfume before buying more.
- When I wanted to buy a new pair of jeans, I used the ones I had until they were almost worn out. Now it is easier to justify a new pair!
- I wanted to get a new doona for one of the boys. But after a rummage around in the cupboard, I 'used what I had' and found a couple of blankets. He now has a toasty warm bed.
The best part is you can usually create extra space at home while you use up what you have and save money!
A little imagination can save a lot
Before I let myself buy something it has to pass the 'use it test'. I imagine buying it, taking it home and taking it out of the packaging. I think about where I'm going to put it and what I'm going to do with it. Then I imagine if I'll still be using it in a few weeks, months or years. If you find this hard you probably don't need it as much as you think you do!
Are evil muffins controlling your cash?
We control our cash by turning our spending weaknesses into our worst enemies! Whenever we get tempted to waste our money, we protect ourselves from what we call the 'evil muffins'. It's a handy little saying started by my brother and we all use it now to help us save. He used to love buying café-style muffins - until he realised his addiction was costing him $400 a year and stopping him from going on holiday. From then on, those tempting muffins became his evil foe! Whenever he sees them now, he refuses to let them ruin his holiday dreams. Instead of giving in and buying them, he thinks 'Ugh - what an evil muffin!'
Of course it doesn't have to be just about muffins; it could be Coke or a chocolate bar - whatever your usual preference! We often don't think about those 'small, insignificant' purchases each day - like a simple muffin. But add up all the 'muffins' you buy every week. When you realise how much they are costing you, you may find yourself looking at those small indulgences in a whole new light too. Don't let the evil muffins ruin your dreams!
Avoid doing the Twenty Dollar Tango!
I am saving over $2000 a year by placing visual reminders around the house to help me stop making spontaneous purchases at the mall.
I was spending $20 here and there on things that I didn't really need, telling myself that the blouse, CD, book or thing I was buying was a bargain at just 20 or so dollars. This habit was costing around $40 a week!
To break it, I dug out a couple of these so-called 'bargains' and left them out on the table to remind me of the money I had wasted. Then I stuck a photo of Fiji on the fridge to represent the holiday I could have spent the money on instead.
Since then, every time I am in a shop and find myself tempted to buy something I don't really need, I close my eyes and visualise the unnecessary items on the table, then visualise myself sitting by the pool in a Fijian resort. It's a simple trick, but the temptation vanishes with the blink of an eye!
I estimate that this saves me around $2080 a year. Last year this was enough for my husband and I to have that holiday in Fiji, and this year we went to New York.
Saving in this way makes me feel so good that I have cut spending in other areas too. It's wonderful that without feeling deprived we've been able to enrich our lives with travel experiences we never thought we could afford.
Beat the winter blues
Since the cold season began I have spent a lot of money on unnecessary items such as hiring DVDs, instant foods, takeaway and junk food. Life tends to take a turn for the worse from warm, sunny, happy days to dark, cold and rainy days which makes you feel depressed and not want to do anything.
I have decided to try and overcome my depressing state and make better use of my time and money. Here are a few of my tips:
- I have made and frozen different flavoured soups so when I feel cold, down or in a hurry I can quickly make a warm, delicious snack.
- I have decided to bake once a week with a friend (while I cook my dinner in the oven). Not only will this help heat my house but it will save money on buying junk food and biscuits too. Also having someone else here with me helps with not feeling down and depressed.
- I am doing one thing each day to make myself feel special and uplift my mood. This helps curb my need for spending money too. I do simple things like painting my nails, giving myself time-out from the kids and making jewellery - which is both relaxing and rewarding. I recently made a necklace and earring set which I gave to a friend. She loves it which in turn makes me feel happy!
Don't let the winter blues get you down, do something special with your time for yourself and for others, you'll feel a lot better about yourself and whatever situation you're in.
Change of attitude
For many years I shopped with the attitude of - 'It's my right to buy whatever I want, when I want it'. Recently though, I have changed my attitude to shopping and now go out with purse in hand and the thought - 'It's my right to buy whatever I need, when I need it'.
It does take a bit of self-control but the savings are worth it, as I now only buy those items I really need. This change has brought about many other benefits too. It is now a lot easier to see what is in my pantry as I don't have five bags of pasta sitting there, or five different types of coffee. Even my once disorganised wardrobe is thanking me because I now think hard about whether I really need new clothes rather than buying on impulse.
I am thankful for the tips I have picked up on Simple Savings and my bank balance is thankful too!
Confessions of a shopaholic
Transforming myself from a shopaholic to a smarter consumer has enriched my whole life. Not only am I saving money, my life has become deeper and more meaningful since I decided to live by the following rules:
- Keep away from the shops
- Buy only what you need
- Buy second hand if you can
- Be stylish, not fashionable
- Don't buy what you can borrow
- Stop reading glossy magazines that encourage shopping
- Borrow books and magazines from the library
- Read about simple living
- Do it slowly
- Spend more time with your family and friends.
These rules may sound simple, but they have changed my life. For as long as I can remember, I have loved shopping. I could easily do it all day, every day and never tired of it. I enjoyed the quest to find bargains or something I had 'always' wanted or didn't yet have.
When I felt angry, sad, lonely, fat, old, poor, disappointed, rejected, embarrassed or simply 'not good enough' - I went shopping. It made me feel better.
When I felt happy, confident, rich, delighted, loved, appreciated and 'on top of the world' - I celebrated by going shopping.
Although I work full time, I had never paid off my credit card and financially I was always struggling. Then I heard about climate change and the impact my shopping was making on the environment. That's when I decided I would stop shopping all the time.
At first, this decision left an enormous vacuum in my life. I used to be very busy - 'Never enough time in the day' was my mantra. Then suddenly I had lots of free time! I didn't have many really close friends, except my mother and sister. We often used to meet for a coffee and a chat while we were out shopping. But with all the free time I now had, I realised I had been too busy to make other meaningful friendships because of my constant shopping.
I don't meet my mum or sister at the shops any more. We now get together in each other's homes and, although I have always enjoyed their company, I rediscovered a deeper connection with them. We talk, laugh and cry for hours and hours. I am learning so much more about them. I have started to deepen the friendships I have with people who were just 'acquaintances' before. Instead of shopping, I invite them over for a cup of tea or lunch or for a walk along the beach. I'm even starting a book club.
Due to the money I was able to save from not shopping so much and because I wanted to entertain more, I rented out my small unit and moved to a lovely old house. However, I soon realised I needed more furniture, so I bought it all very cheaply, second hand from eBay. Everyone who visits my home says how wonderful and stylish it is. I love making cheap, affordable meals for my friends. I had my first party on New Year's Eve and 35 people came, each bringing their own meat, drinks or salads. To any shopaholics out there like me, it IS possible to change - I'm living proof!
Do you really need it? Ask before you buy
I am spending less simply by asking myself 'I didn't need this yesterday, so do I really need it today?' For example, there are lots of tempting winter clothes in the shops at the moment but I got through last winter properly clothed with the ones I already have, so do I really need new ones? When I see that lovely ornament, picture, dinner set, quilt cover and so on, I ask 'will it really change my life for the better?'. I only have to look around the house and add up in my head what all my impulse buys have cost me to realise they were not necessary!
DVD rental money put to better use
Changing one of my husband's bad habits has enabled us to pay our car loan off faster! My husband is a DVD maniac - I wouldn't be surprised if he has seen every movie in our local store. I calculated he was spending approximately $50 per week on movies! So we made a deal on January 1st this year that in order for him to hire a movie, he must walk the 500 metre journey to the store instead of taking the car. He is also no longer allowed to pay full price for a rental; he can only hire a movie if he buys it using a savings coupon. In just 16 weeks, this small change of habit has enabled me to pay an extra three payments on our car loan!
Enjoy a friend's company without spending
To take your mind off going shopping and spending, organise for a friend to come around for coffee instead. It's a great way to catch up with each other and enjoy someone else's company - no spending necessary! You could also alternate between them coming over, or you going to their place, then you are still going on an outing!
Farewell Foxtel, I'm better off without you!
I've just saved $1380 a year by cutting Foxtel and my house has never been cleaner! Why? Because the time I was spending watching shows that I previously just HAD to watch, is now spent making my house sparkle instead. My husband has just been made redundant and all unnecessary expenses had to go. Foxtel was first on the list and now we're finally getting to those niggly chores that we kept putting off. Watching 'Extreme Couponing' has now become real life 'Extreme Cleaning'!
Follow the $1 per wear rule
I manage my clothes purchases by asking myself just one question. 'Can I get this item to $1.00 per wear?' What I mean by this is if I buy a $30 top, I need to be sure that I will wear it 30 times before a) I get sick of it, b) it gets worn out, or c) it goes out of fashion. A $30 top worn only three times equates to $10 per wear. I wear around five items every day, so I aim to pay no more than $5.00 per day for my outfits. Spending any more than that sounds ridiculously expensive and it really helps me put a purchase into perspective.
Friendship and community a cure for shopping
I have put an end to my shopaholic ways for good by volunteering at my children's school. When my eldest two were young I spent an awful lot of time 'shopping for company' and got myself into terrible debt. My eldest two are now at school and my younger two started day care six months ago as I wanted them to socialise with other children and give myself some time alone. When they first started I found myself going back to my old ways and, although I never spent any money (thanks to sheer willpower), I would wander the shops aimlessly. I became frustrated with myself and realised that I did not actually want all this time alone and would rather be busy doing things.
Then I got a note in my daughter's school bag asking for volunteers for the canteen, and I haven't looked back since. I now volunteer every Thursday, my children are proud to have me around and I have made some great friends and really feel part of a team. Not only that, but I don't spend a cent! I have enjoyed it so much that this year I decided to take on the role of coordinator for the school's soccer teams. It just goes to show that saving your money and spending your time buys you something priceless, not just material.
Girl power pact curbs spending and encourages recycling
My girlfriend and I have made a pact that is helping to keep our spending down and protect the world's resources. We have agreed never to buy unnecessary items and we both support and encourage each other to stick to it. Our new motto is 'nothing is cheap if you don't need it'. We now avoid sales, where once we would have been the first there, we stay away from shopping centres and we buy things second hand from garage sales and op shops wherever possible. I have found I rarely need to purchase things from a store any more, as long as I am patient and look at used items with a 'renovator's eye'. We now see this as a new way of living and have a monthly competition where we track our spending to see which one of us has been the most frugal and inventive. This has done wonders for our budgets!
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 - $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!
Is your vice worth the price?
Almost everyone has a vice of some kind. It could be cigarettes, coffee, chocolate or energy drinks, the list goes on! Everyone deserves a treat now and again, but have you ever added up how much your vice is REALLY costing you, not to mention depriving you? Now you can find out in just a few seconds, thanks to an amazing Vice Calculator at mozo.com.au/vice-calculator
Just hop online and answer a few basic questions, and if your vice is not listed on the page, no problem, you can enter in your own to get a personalised result. The important thing is that you enter in your estimate for how much your vice currently costs you each week and the calculator will tell you in an instant how much it will cost you over a lifetime if you keep up your current rate. You will be amazed. You will be horrified! But you might just end up thousands of dollars better off. It is a fantastic and thought provoking tool for all ages, so get the whole family involved!
Look but don't buy
I am a very impulsive, visual person and I love beautiful things. Consequently, any time I'm near a shop, there's a danger of overspending on gorgeous stationery, home wares, ribbons, books and so on. I also enjoy the string handled bags many of these items are packed in and love to inspect my purchases when I get home from shopping.
Since I enjoy the experience of looking for lovely things, it would be counterproductive for me to try and avoid shopping. What does work for me, however, is to take a beautiful notebook in a string handled bag and write down everything I would have bought on these expeditions, along with the stores and the prices. That way, I can still look and imagine but without the price tags! And the total at the bottom of the notebook page is my saving for the day. Last month that amounted to $260, enough for health insurance for our family, which we always claimed we couldn't afford.
This little change has saved our family over $3000 this past year. It's amazing how powerful you feel just having a list of what you wanted, even when you didn't buy those things. After a few days, most of what is on the list is forgotten and those very few items that still stand out in your mind can be the odd treat to yourself, or ideas to give to family and friends as birthday or Christmas gift requests.
Try it! You won't believe it works until you do.
Our profitable pact
My husband and I made a pact to reduce our spending and cut up our credit cards this year. We now have to pre-arrange all purchases with each other, either before we leave for work in the morning or by phone during the day. This works for many reasons:
- I rarely take my mobile phone with me so, more often than not, my husband can't reach me to ask if he can buy something. In the time it takes for me to listen to his message and get back to him, he has usually changed his mind about the purchase anyway!
- If I have to call my husband before buying something frivolous, I choose not to, simply because I don't want to justify buying a trashy magazine, a custard tart or an eBay bargain. I just do without and I don't give it a second thought once I leave the shops or go offline.
- We can give each other a second opinion on whether or not we really need to buy that item. One of us might know of a cheaper alternative, of someone who can lend us the item or even remember that we already have the item at home.
Our strict pact certainly works for us - we have paid $1500 off our credit cards in the last three weeks!
Save by not buying 'stuff'
I found this very interesting video that can really help the way you think about buying less. It takes 20 minutes to view and you will learn, as well as laugh, as Annie Leonard looks at the way our production and consumption patterns affect our environmental and social issues.
Savvy saving or dumb debt?
Upon visiting one of those daily deal websites I saw that they had Frozen themed single duvet covers for $24.95. Before I knew it, I had four of them in my cart, one for each child, and was about to make a whopping saving of $167.52! My credit card was already in my hand when my brain woke up and reminded me that we don't actually need new duvet covers and that, while the kids would like them, it wasn't going to make anyone's life any better. That $167.52 saving was actually just going to be a new dumb debt of $112.44 running up interest on my credit card.
This is big for me - I think I may have turned a corner!
Stay loyal to your budget, not stores
I have realised that one of the best ways for me to save money is to leave all my store loyalty cards at home. While cleaning out my bulging purse recently, I realised that it was bulging for the wrong reason. Instead of being full of cash, it was full of loyalty cards! Over the years the marketers had worked their magic on me and as a reforming Sad Sally I was upset with myself. For example, if you are a VIP with Sussan, for every $500 you spend there they give you a $50 voucher - which expires in three months. I realised I had been shopping there for women's fashion to the exclusion of most other stores and over two years had spent a whopping $2500 to get $250 in vouchers! That's $105 per month and while good quality, I have since realised similar items in other shops cost less at normal price.
Even more annoying was the number of times I had gone there and bought garments at full price because I knew I'd get VIP points, only to find the same items a couple of weeks later on their reduced racks, making the justification of their points useless.
So I decided that from now on all my loyalty cards will be kept in a wallet safely at HOME. If I want something I will shop around for it. Most stores have hold times so I can always go back if it's in one of the 'loyalty' stores. So far I have saved two months of cruising the racks of Sussan and other stores. That's $210 I've managed to hold on to so far and still counting!
True wealth comes in many forms
I am richer than I've ever been thanks to my Simple Savings outlook. When I first joined SS I made a number of small but significant changes to my life and the savings and benefits immediately began to add up. Here are a few of them:
I almost halved my grocery bill in a month - it went from $815 in February to just $430 in March when I started shopping at Aldi and carefully tracked every cent. I discovered my 'inner baker' and instead of buying cakes and biscuits, I baked them from scratch at home. When my washing machine broke down, instead of having to pay out $700 for a new one my wonderful boss gave me an old spare machine they had and no longer used. I made two calls to my insurers, one for my car and one for my house, and found I could save $150 and $400 respectively on my yearly payments. I checked my mobile plan. Because I hardly use it, it was not working in my favour. I changed to a prepaid plan and now what I spend is what I use.
And, finally, I stopped looking for another job to earn extra money. Every dollar I save means time I don't have to work. I am now building my 'wealth' every day in more ways than one.
Many of my friends I used to envy have new cars, impressive houses, expensive clothes - and huge credit card bills. They holiday in Bali or Queensland but work 40 hour weeks in order to do so. They pick up tired and stressed children from after school programs and feed them take away foods because they're too short on time and energy to cook from scratch.
I have a 13-year-old car, a 1980's house, cheap clothes - and NO credit card debt. We holiday three times a year for a week at a time in our trusty 80's caravan and I work 20 hours a week, during school hours, for four days a week. I have one day just for me (or housework). My children walk to and from school and come home to baked goods, home-cooked meals and a happy relaxed household. I'm there to oversee and help with homework and I watch all their sports games.
Ask me again if I want another job to have the 'stuff' I once thought I wanted/needed and my answer will be a clear, precise, 'No way'. Thank you Simple Savings for helping me to step back and see what's really important in life.
4. Best of the Forum: We're Not Going Without, We're Getting Ahead!
One of the best things about the Savings Forum is the motivation and encouragement you can find there. It's the perfect place to share all your savings triumphs and tribulations and stay accountable to each other. Here are just some of the excellent 'wants versus needs' discussions and challenges our busy members have been undertaking.
When finances are short it is often necessary to get creative in order to achieve what we need to without spending. After reading this quote from Nobel Prize winner Ernest Rutherford, GoGo Goanna wants to know how other members 'think' their way out of spending money.
No books, no takeaway, no new clothes - Happy Aspie has been inspired by Judith Levine's book 'Not Buying It' and has decided to apply its principles to her own life, one month at a time. Follow her progress (and feel free to join her!) in this series of threads.
As her name suggests, 'Not your typical Gen Y' is just that and is not impressed with the media stereotype of her generation! She isn't scared to make sacrifices to reach her goals and wants to know what other members have also changed or given up in order to ensure a secure future.
As Oscar Wilde famously wrote, 'nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing'. But decades later, are we even further away from an understanding of the real cost of what we consume? This fascinating thread started by Donna is well worth a read.
Farmer Susy made a great saving last year on her work clothes by purchasing them from local op shops. This year she is going one further by vowing to buy ALL her clothes this way and wants to know who would like to join her? Save the planet and save a bundle by jumping on to this thread.
Knighty was horrified recently when she calculated how much she and her hubby were spending on average each day. Since then, she has kept careful tabs on their daily spending and made non-essentials a thing of the past. Read how much of a difference it has made here!
'Think positive' and her family have the potential to save $400 a week - but it's going to take some staunch application! So from now on, they have agreed to run their home like a business and everyone is responsible for making it work - kids included! A great idea and a very interesting and enjoyable thread.
5. Best Members' Blog: The Techno Age
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 right, then '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 Bexta with her very well written and thought provoking post 'The Techno Age'.
The Techno Age
Sometimes I feel that my generation (I'm 27) have a hard task ahead of them when it comes to saving money. We live in an age where we are constantly viewing other people's life choices, without necessarily 'really' seeing what is happening. We have smart phones, we have tablets and laptops and PC's, these devices are almost like opening a portal between our lives and anyone else we come into contact with over social media. And often, what we see is only a snapshot. A small portion of time. One choice.
We get to see the purchase of a new car, home or lounge. We get to see holidays and fashion parades. We get to see a life as the owner of the profile has created in their digital world. What we don't get to see is the repercussions of a single choice. We don't see bank balances or inside closets. Often, we don't see the real truths that are staring us right in the face. Based on the snapshots we see, we form opinions and make assumptions.
It's a scary age really; there are so many outside influences to contend with. Going home after a long day and leaving the hustle and bustle behind isn't really what it once was. Because, so many of us go home and use our social media accounts as a way to unwind, relax and chill out. But what we are doing at that moment in time is opening ourselves up to how our car is getting a bit old, the guy down the road got a great deal on finance, he seems to be doing OK, we could do that. All of a sudden we 'need' a new lounge, the kids 'need' an over the top birthday party and we all 'need' a ritzy holiday. Because, well, everyone's doing it.
I call us the Jones generation. Because everyone is keeping up with the Joneses. I should clarify that I am being very general in saying that everyone my age is like this. Not all of us are like this, a lot are though. And fighting against that can sometimes feel like you are unsuccessfully swimming upstream.
We try very hard not to buy into the Jones generation, to the point where I no longer view Facebook. People's personal lives and their digital lives sometimes don't correlate, leaving an impression that doesn't actually exist. It's hard though, it really is all around us, constantly telling us ideals of your life could be simpler, mundane tasks could be gone, more time to enjoy the finer things, your children could play quietly together, it goes on and on and on. The real kicker is this though, we get these ideas of what we 'need' from the outlets we utilise in our 'free time', we buy these things to give us more 'free time', often we then have extra time to spend being exposed to all those things that we 'need', we jump straight back onto the ferris wheel of the Jones cycle...
Ultimately we are all in control of our own life choices, where we spend our money, how we live, what we eat etc. We have choices to make and blaming these outlets is unfair, we have our own responsibility to take where wants are merged with needs. It's interesting though, how times have changed, how I worry about what my children and my children's children will have to contend with. Hopefully minimalism continues to be hip and we will all be better off!
Brilliant stuff Bexta, thank you so much for sharing!
You can read more of our members' blogs here.
6. Best of SS Facebook: How to Stop Buying Things You Don't Need
Love Facebook or hate it, the Simple Savers Facebook group is a great way to learn even more tips and enjoy reading other members' successes. One of our favourite posts this month comes from Kylie, who draws our attention to an excellent and very timely read.
With spring very nearly upon us, now is the perfect time to get cleaning and decluttering. But even more importantly than clearing space and getting rid of unwanted stuff is ensuring that we don't make the same costly mistakes again. This excellent article will help you to identify and assess your shopping habits, steel your resolve and see through all those sneaking marketing ploys that got you to buy that stuff in the first place. Thank you for sharing, Kylie!
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!
7. Saving Story: Tears Turn to Triumph for Happy Declutterer
My new love of decluttering has finally got me on the road to a house deposit! For years I have had a budget and was very money conscious but still couldn't control my spending habits. I felt as though I had tried a million different things to stop impulsive purchases but hated not getting what I wanted. This led me into frustration and a hate towards everything involving money.
I finally found the answer when my partner expressed his concern with our lack of wardrobe space in comparison to the rate of growth of my wardrobe items. He made a rule that if one thing was to come in, I also had to take out one thing to donate. I had a rocky start and there were many tears but once I decided on a couple of items I seemed more inclined to get rid of more and more and I continued on to declutter ALL my possessions. Going through each item in my house I got rid of a lot of things but before I tossed them out, I first laid them out on my bed and just thought about how much money I had thrown away. How many hours had I had to work to pay for all these things that I didn't even love?
It hit me hard that I had blown all this money on impulse purchases and trends that I got over very quickly. Hundreds of hours of hard work, for me to essentially throw my money in the bin. I printed all my banking transactions for the 12 months prior to my breakthrough and highlighted all my purchases that I probably could have gone without. It all added up to over $8000, over 300 hours of hard work, the cost of my first two cars!
Now when I see something I want to buy, I stop and think back to how much money I've wasted already. And I can feel content in my decision not to purchase. I love fashion, I love shoes and I love bags. But I LOVE my new found freedom and the control over my finances that decluttering has given me even more!
8. Goodbye for Now
That's another newsletter done and dusted! We hope you have enjoyed it and found it helpful, especially the Super Dooper Vault selection! Do let us know how you go with your 'Desert Island decluttering' too, we would love to hear how it works for you!
Until next time,