Magic money savers26 Aug 11 07:00AM EST |
You might not be able to pull money out of a hat, but with these unique money saving tips, you can magically boost the content of your piggy bank.
We’ve all heard about unplugging our appliances at the wall, shopping around to save and the importance of planning a budget, and if you’re doing these things, you’re off to a good start. However, we want to show you some slightly more unusual ways to squeeze the purse strings without having to compromise on lifestyle.
Spring into action
We’re about to head into spring, and in most regions ideal growing conditions will soon be upon us. Whether you have a balcony, backyard or window sill, you can save money by growing your own fruits, vegetables and fresh herbs. You have the added reward of delicious produce to add to your plate.
Eat less meat
Staples like rice, corn and beans are substantially cheaper than meat products. With some creative cooking, everything from stir fries to fajitas can be adjusted to a meat-free alternative that saves you money. There's evidence it can also help cut cholesterol and your risk of cancer, which can save you on health care costs too.
DIY cleaning supplies
There are plenty of areas where you can DIY, but none perhaps as easy as with cleaning supplies. This has an immediate positive effect on your weekly living costs, and more often than not you’ll find homemade cleaners are free from harsh chemicals.
Pet owners plundered
In 2009, Australians spent over $6 billion on their pets. For many households, it’s an area ripe with potential savings. Start by supplementing your pet’s diet with some home-made pet food, which is cheaper and often healthier than pre-packaged food. Just be sure to do your research as some common foods we eat are toxic to animals, such as uncooked potatoes. Kitty litter is another costly ongoing expense that can be avoided if you're game enough to train your cat to use the toilet.
Spend to save
Some of the best money savers involve spending cash up front. For example, you can save hundreds on gym memberships by buying simple workout equipment, and if a new PlayStation or Wii helps you stay in on a Saturday night, then it will soon pay for itself.
It’s one thing to have a good budget that you can follow, but there is a way to take it even further. A challenge budget requires you to change your behaviour occasionally, so that you have money left in your normal weekly budget, which can be put into savings. A challenge budget may involve a weekend without alcohol or chocolate, or it could mean swapping a trip to the movies for a day at a park. Look at where your money normally goes, and swap it for a cheaper or cost-free activity, even if it’s only once in a while.
With budgets in mind, you should have a separate savings account used to deposit savings. The weasel technique uses the same principle, but involves taking small amounts from elsewhere in your budget and weaselling it away somewhere secret. A hidden piggy bank around the house is an ideal place to start – every time you have some change or a stray $10 note, weasel it away. Before long you will have an emergency kitty to deal with unexpected expenses or in the event of an unavoidable splurge, which will help keep all your other goals on track.
Supplement your income
Savings tips will help you build up some something from nothing. However, one sure-fire way to kick your account balance into gear is to explore ways to supplement your income. It doesn’t have to mean a second job or working yourself to death. It could be as simple as organising a garage sale, or setting up a stall at a local market one Sunday. Put your mind to it, make a plan and you might be surprised at the results.
What are the best savings tips you have ever come across?