Off Topic: Saving Money


So my partner and I have found ourselves in the situation where we're going to be moving house. Which is fantastic! But it's also brought up a fun reality: the act of saving money.

One of the easiest and most obvious ways to save money is through cooking, especially if you work in the city. Take a staple of Mark's diet, or at least one of his favourites: grilled chicken breast, with some roast vegetable. It's one of the healthiest things you can have, depending on how much olive oil the veg was roasted in. That sets you back $14, and that doesn't come with a drink.

You could buy a kilo of chicken breast for around $10, if not less. Spend the same amount on pumpkin, capsicum, carrots, whatever else you feel like, and that's enough for at least two or three meals for two people. It's more work, but it's also more money in your pocket.

Another reminder, courtesy of Lifehacker, is that foods that are just after their best before date are perfectly healthy (although they may lose some taste) to eat. Supermarkets will often have huge discounts on things leftover at the end of the day, and it's a good way to stock up on staples. Doing more shopping at places like Aldi help, too.

It also helps to cull down on all those subscriptions you have but might have forgotten about. Do you really need Spotify Premium? Are you using 10GB of mobile data a month (I don't, it's just an example) or could you cut back to 5GB? How much are you really spending on Steam games every month? How much is your coffee bill?

Anyway, these are all questions that I've been grappling with in the last 24 hours. What are your favourite methods and tricks for saving money?


    The last few weeks my wife has been cooking up a whole heap of veggies and some chicken and putting it takeaway packs for work. She does 10 on the weekend that will do both of us for the week. I wasn't really into it until I tried the first one and it was delicious. Super cheap.
    Same goes with a big batch of curry, make a bit more, divvy up for lunches.

    As for actually saving money, we've been using Acorns which is an app that you link to your bank account and rounds up the spare change from your purchases and invests it (buy something for $10.45, 55c gets invested). We've also set up regular weekly investments and haven't missed the money and have a great little portfolio going. Pull it out whenever you want. Good for saving for a deposit, probably not so much if you already have a mortgage. We have both and are running fine currently.

      Thanks for the tip about Acorns, I've been looking for something like that so am downloading it now to check out.

        You can get a referral bonus too if you sign up friends. I don't know if it's allowed here so haven't added mine. I think there is a bonus going on at the moment too.

    What are your favourite methods and tricks for saving money?

    I cry inside. Bury all those needs and desires deep down.

    New Zelda? Nah, just cry.

    Wanna buy a BBQ pork bun to snack on? Nah, just cry.

    Wanna turn on the air conditioner? Nah, just cry.

      Yeah, I cry when I give in to temptation and buy an expensive anime/game figurine.

        I used to buy video game figurines but now I don't anymore. They end up taking up too much space and dear me, they do cost a bit, sometimes!

    My personal tips.

    1. Do not live outside your means.
    2. Bulk cook at the start of the week and mix it up from week to week.
    3. Count the little things. Ever dollar counts
    4. Find fun free activities you can do.
    5. Find out what matters in life and prioritise around that.
    6. Don't smoke. :|

    You know older people have been saying for years that if Millenials just don't take a holiday and stop drinking Latte's we would be able to afford a house.

    If you are somehow able to give up those two things you should have tens of thousands to spare!

      Don't get sucked in, hating on the previous and current gens is a manufactured distraction.

      The housing problem is a result of government and financial institution manipulation that lets them continue to print money.
      Yet they have us all at each other's throats.
      Just last week they were blaming the housing bubble on refugees.

        I was thinking over in my head before I posted if I should just say "News outlets would have us believe" but then after thinking about it I realised that a large group of the older people I know actually believe this.

        I know they are being manipulated but it still hurts when they say it to you.

    Having kids is a death sentence to saving money.

    School fees, sport fees, dance fees, music fees, birthday parties, clothes, presents, food, books, girl guides, shoes, insurance, medicine, doctors... and they're just the ones I can list off the top of my head.

    Still love my kids though :-)

    Literally just went to a Thai place on Hunter St in Sydney that did boxed lunches during peak hour lunch for $4 a piece. HEAVEN (carry on, btw)

    This post will be a bit lengthy, so I do apologize in advanced. I hope it helps, though!

    I try to put away a certain amount of money into my savings account every fortnight, when I get paid. I also try and pay off whatever bills/debt I have straight away, or at the very least, pay off some of said bills/debt. Whatever money left over is money for me to use for everyday life, but the more I save, the better.

    I do a lot of cooking at home, "meal prepping" my lunches throughout the week. I'm on a specifically prescribed diet and weight lifting training program at the gym, so the best way to get the best results is to prepare my own food. Luckily for me, cooking my own food is significantly cheaper than eating out everyday.

    I work in the city. The cheapest meal I've found is $10. Depending on where you go, you could be spending anywhere from $10 to even $40 (again, depends on where you go). That's a lot when you add up to everyday, minimum $50, maximum $200, per working week.

    I have five meals a day and two of said meals are prepared at home. So everyday, I'll have two prepared meals, two lunches so to speak, while the rest are quick and easy. I spend about $60 - $70 a week on groceries, looking for the best deals I can at places like Coles or Woolworths.

    In turn, $60 - $70 gives me ten meals, each containing a large amount of food... 250g of skinless chicken breast, 67g of mixed vegetables (broccoli, carrot and mushroom) and 87g of rice.

    When you think about it, each of those big meals are $6 - $7 each. It does cost me a few hours of my Sunday, though. In my opinion, it's worth it.

    Now, "two lunches" a day is a bit excessive, but it's what I have been asked to eat due to my training program. For an average person who doesn't need to eat that, perhaps they'd have "one lunch" every day... which in this case, would be half the cost, so about $30 - $45 a week on lunches. That's still pretty cheap when compared to buying lunch everyday.

    You do not have to make small lunches that will starve yourself. You can make big, whole, nutritious meals for a cheap cost. Alternatively, you could just make yourself a nice, big sandwich the night before, or the the next morning. Up to you.

    Speaking of going out, you don't have to ban yourself from social events. Go out for lunch or/and dinner maybe once a week, just bare in mind that you don't have to go out every weekend and there's no shame in staying home, or at least doing activities that are less expensive, perhaps even free. Alcohol can be a very expensive pass time, especially if you're the type to go out drinking, clubbing etc. with your mates.

    Look into the things you buy as well. Sometimes my partner and I will do our groceries and we buy stuff that we think we will use or/and need... suddenly, months later, we'll find said item(s) in the house that haven't even been opened yet. If this happens to you, think about the things you're buying - do you really need it? Will you actually use it? Or is it more of a good idea at the time? If it's the latter, you don't need to buy it.

    When it comes to video games... I know a lot of people talk negatively about this, but trade old games. The way I see it... if I have a console game I haven't played in at least twelve months and it's not installed on my console? There's a very good chance that I'll never play it again. When buying other video games, trade in your old games. If you have an EB Games card, the higher your card, the more "value" you get... so as a level four card holder myself, I get 30% extra trade in value. It really helps, sometimes.

    Silver ;)

    I save some money, convert to physical silver and then store it
    Because I need to collect and convert it back, it makes my savings far less tempting to dip in to.

    (Plus I'm making money as value increases)

    Last edited 07/03/17 3:59 pm

    For me, what worked was setting aside a small amount each pay to spend on myself. Sounds counter-productive to savings, I know, but what I found was that by spending $50 a pay on me meant I ended up having nothing small to buy. After that, $50 started getting put aside for bigger things, and before I knew it, I was putting hundreds away each pay.

    I've also gotten into the habit of not reaching into the pocket to use spare change. End of the day/night, it all gets put into a container, and barring the occasional dip for change (eg: $4 more for pizza), it stays there. Adds up real quick, and when the container is full its generally around the $800-$1000 mark.

    The bulk of my savings though are tied into my mortgage repayments. I broadly pay $100/week more than I need to, and thanks to being so far ahead, it generates around $1000 a month in redraw-able money.

    For those without a mortgage, you can do similar with a second account your rent goes into. Get your rent paid out of that, and if you put a little extra in, you quickly get used to it and it becomes savings.

    I've found I spend whatever is in my account subconsciously so for me a different account was a must.
    Automatic transfers of a set amount straight into the savings account.
    Account at a different bank so even if I need to transfer back there is a day delay so can't do spur of the moment purchases
    Additional transfers when possible
    Track everything in a spreadsheet with graphs. Have a line for your goal amount (eg.$200 per pay) and another line for a stretch goal ($300 oer pay)
    Then track you actual on the same sheet.
    When you take money out for whatever reason try to replace to get back above the line.

    Read the Barefoot Investor. Absolutely saved my life!

    I use YNAB, mostly because I already had a lot of savings and share an account with my partner (she's way more thrifty than me though). It helped us see where our money was going and to set limits on spending, and to keep up with what we were both doing.

    Not for everyone but works for us. Before that I had a spreadsheet that did a similar sort of job. Knowing where money goes is the key to saving it.

      I'm a big YNAB fan. Have been using the method for years.

      Has been great for me, and I've seen first hand how fundamentally life changing it was for very good friends of mine.

      'Budgeting' is a dirty word (makes you think you are taking things away), but really, the YNAB method is about financial awareness (actively deciding the things you *do* want).

      Agree that perhaps their method isn't for everyone, but I think everyone should have a method (and for me, YNAB is the easiest).

      They don't teach us about managing money in school, and most of us end up living 'pay day to pay day'. My personal experience is that gaining true financial awareness was actually better than a pay rise in effect.

    Budget. Set a side an amount of money in a different account and don't touch it. It's taken me a bit of practice but it works wonders.

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