Saving money is a common New Year’s resolution but taking action is not always easy.
Many of us are guilty of setting a fresh goal on January 1, only to find ourselves giving up a few days into the year.
As the saying goes, a good beginning is half the battle, so it could be a good idea to start with reducing your smaller, unnecessary expenses, rather than trying to put away 50 per cent of your pay from the get-go.
And if all else fails, consider setting this mini goal to kick off the new decade: find at least one thing to cut back on in your regular expenses, and commit to it.
Not sure where to start?
Here are four expenses you could potentially bring back or shave off completely.
Cut a digital subscription or membership you don’t need
One of the best costs to look at cutting are recurring ones. Living in the digital age, it’s easy to lose track of online subscriptions and the automatic payments that we get charged for these.
Look at your bank or PayPal statements and make a list of your regular online subscriptions and see if there is one that you can live without. Common ones are Netflix, Spotify, Audible, Adobe Photoshop and VPN programs. Other things to look for are meal box subscriptions like Marley Spoon and gym memberships.
Be honest with yourself: which are the ones you actually use regularly, do you have multiple subscriptions that provide the same service and which ones have you not touched in a while? To give a bit of perspective on how much you could be pocketing back, axing the cheapest ‘basic’ Netflix membership would save you about $120 a year.
Avoid spoiling your pet
If you have a pet, you know how expensive your fur babies can be. Although many costs are necessary, such as vet and health expenses, many are not a must.
For starters, you can bring down the expenses by trimming your pet’s hair and nails yourself. While it might take some practice at first, you could be saving about $640 worth of grooming sessions per year. And if you’re forking out even more cash for extras such as luxury pet boarding, you could instead try to ask a favour from a friend or neighbour.
If you don’t have a pet, but you are thinking about getting one, consider buying or adopting a pet from a shelter or the RSPCA. Not only are there a bunch of costs you’d be saving, as the pet would already be de-sexed, wormed and vaccinated, you’d also be saving the life of an animal by giving them a home.
Make takeaway a treat, not a regular thing
With Australia’s flourishing foodie scene, it’s hard not to pull out your wallet in the face of temptation.
But if you’re spending about $15 on work lunches per weekday, $4 on your morning coffees plus dining out on weekends, that’s an estimated $195 per week you’re blowing just on food and drinks (excluding booze and the occasional food delivery order).
Put this money back in your pocket by cooking and packing lunches from home. Not only will you save money, but you’ll potentially be much healthier long-term. While it would be unreasonable to force yourself to eat at home every single day, it’s a good idea to limit dining out or food delivery to the weekends as a treat.
Move to a ‘bridesmaid’ suburb
This one might seem like a huge commitment (no, we’re not talking about getting hitched): relocating to a more affordable area.
Perhaps you’re reluctant to move because you’re fond of your neighbourhood and the lifestyle that comes with it. You could consider moving to a ‘bridesmaid’ suburb, which could save you thousands in the long run. This is usually the suburb next door that shares the same vibe and has similar amenities, but with a much cheaper price tag. It’s generally less expensive because it might be considered as the poor cousin of the nearby ‘bride’ suburb, and simply doesn’t have the same brand attached to it.
For example, the weekly median rent for a one-bedroom unit in Sydney’s Marrickville is $450, but one train stop away in Dulwich Hill, it is $400, according to Realestate.com.au. You could be saving $2600 a year just by moving to a ‘bridesmaid’ suburb.