You know it by now, The Broke Generation’s motto is #NiftyNotThrifty. Don’t give up things you love, give up things you don’t, and free up cash for a more abundant life.
No, I know, despite how much you’ve schmoozed the fella on the end of the phone at the water company, he still insists that water doesn’t come free with the house. Still shook tbh.
So while I wish I could proclaim that budgeting is easy if you just stop paying for boring adult bills, I can’t. That’s not the kind of spending I’m talking about cutting out.
I’m talking about identifying things you spend on mindlessly, and cutting them out to leave more money left over for things you really, really want. These 4 tiny lifestyle changes have saved me a fortune:
1 | Planning ahead for journeys
Ditching convenience foods (where possible) has been one of the biggest money savers for me. The amount of times I hop in the car for a 2-3 hour drive, or head into the city for a big day, knowing I’m going to be hungry but do absolutely nothing about it. I just think ‘oh I’ll grab something’, and so I do. Something hideously overpriced and fairly unexciting. Usually it’s an attempt to be healthy, woven with a bit of sadness that it’s not a bowl of chips. Sounds like a big fat waste of money to me.
So now I always try and eat something before I leave, or pack something with me. The convenience foods never brought me ANY joy whatsoever, which means they have no place in my budget. That means more money for meaningful meals out and gossip-fuelled cocktails with friends.
2 | Bulk cooking and freezing
I’m a bit of freezer-phobe by nature – a bit of a germaphobe/safety freak when it comes to defrosting and reheating foods, especially when they involve meat/dairy/rice/eggs. But recently I’ve been getting into over-cooking and freezing – largely helped by my dramatic reduction in meat consumption. But my rice consumption has gone through the roof, so aside from a few hours lost googling every combination of the words ‘rice+reheating+freezing+food+poisoning+vomit, I’m doing pretty well.
Ordering takeaway or grabbing something poorly planned and subsequently expensive from the supermarket when I’ve not prepared dinner is another of my regular money slip ups. Not only do I plan badly, I leave with about 72 other things I didn’t want or need – usually things like a magazine that’ll just take up residence on my bedroom floor and eventually slip me up, or an utterly useless jar of chutney.
So I make sure there’s always something in the freezer for lazy nights, and save takeaway budgets for cosy nights in with a movie or when there’s a particularly dramatic finale of trashy reality TV to be enjoyed.
3 | Not obsessing over health
Like many women, I’ve been through the phase of obsessing over how ‘clean’ my foods are. Aside from being damaging to my mental state, it’s also damaging to my wallet. Because I firmly believe that most people do not require a $19 jar of kefir, no matter how many gut healing properties it may have.
By simplifying the foods I eat and ditching the idea that expensive health fads will have any major effect on my life, I’ve saved a fortune.
4 | Not buying items with a specific outfit in mind
This was my major downfall while I was at uni and in my early twenties. I’d see a photo in a magazine or someone walking down the street wearing a specific pair of trousers and a specific top with a specific jacket and a very niche hair pin. What would I do? Go out and buy each of those individual items in an attempt to copy that oh-so-fabulous lewk.
The result? A wardrobe full of things that didn’t suit me, and that had absolutely no versatility. Oh, and a bank account more tragic than the plotline of Neighbours.