These might seem like obvious things, but they all have one thing in common: discipline and planning. I’ve saved hundreds of dollars each week in recent times by following three simple rules.
- Review your coffee consumption and change it.
For some people it’s tea and for others it’s Cola. For me, it’s coffee. I can drink three or more cups per day. This really adds up if you keep buying it from a coffee shop. So what I’ve implemented is a rule where I can have one coffee in the morning from a coffee shop, and if I ‘need’ another coffee-bought coffee, it can only be purchased during happy hour. It sounds like common sense, but it’s not so common. I’ve been guilty of it too. Another tactic I’ve recently used is purchasing coffee sachets and drinking those at work. Most of the time it means that my coffees cost $3 to $5 a day at most, as opposed to $15-25.
- Plan your meals, at least loosely.
This doesn’t just help your pocket, it could even help your waistline if you’re careful about this. If you plan most of your meals, you’ll be less likely to use meal delivery services. I know they’re easy and addictive, but if you budget for your food and go to the supermarket (or whichever other market or local shop you like), you will most likely save a lot. Especially if you look out for specials. I fed two people dinner for under $4 for the whole meal tonight because of fantastic specials. Going out to eat has become special again, and cooking is bonding time. You can also save more money because you’ll likely have left-overs which you can take with you to work, as I’ve been doing.
- Sweep your money away into a different bank’s savings account as soon as possible.
I’ve done this for as long as I can remember but have had periods where I’ve slipped up, which gets quite scary. I’ve found that by planning for all mandatory expenses (rent, food, bills) and then sweeping the rest of the money into savings, it really stops me from spending anything I am not meant to spend it on. Further, these savings are in a different bank to where I am paid. The transfer delay helps to fight temptation. The best thing about this technique is that there is no limit on the amount of free accounts with banks that you can have. This means that if you open an account that penalises you for withdrawing funds but gives you a higher interest rate, that can be your “don’t touch” account. You can have a small “fun fund” if you need so that you are not penalised.
If you’re a frugal person who already knows how to save, these tips will most likely already be something that you’re doing. I hope you use your frugality to plan for your future.