I am a good saver, and always have been. I’ve also been eating avocados since I was 12 and drinking coffee since I was 21… and except for a few more embarrassing stories, some extra wrinkles, having a ‘real’ job, and well, moving overseas, not much has changed.
Yet I tirelessly read all of the news headlines telling us we have to give up the little things that, let’s be honest, are sometimes the only things that bring us joy in our confused state of being 20-something and not knowing what we want to do with our lives, or if we are truly fulfilling our purpose for being on earth.
I agree let’s cut back on some of the excessive things we don’t really need, like a new outfit for every Saturday night at the local pub. But when they say we have to completely cut some of our simplest pleasures like our every day cup of coffee, our one and only ritual that gets us up in the morning, or that weekend treat of avocados on toast at the cute cafe down the road to celebrate another week of work, it’s gone too far.
I believe you don’t have to give up avocados and coffee in order to save money.
Of course, as everything, there are a few variables to consider here. The most important would be: what are people saving for? Does everyone want to own a house, or do they enjoy spending their money on things that might seem trivial to others? Do they want to do both? Do they want to travel?
The list goes on.
From my experience, as long as you set your goal and are realistic with yourself you can achieve anything… and keep some, or most, of the small pleasures in life. After all, what’s the point in working so hard to earn our cash if we can’t enjoy life?!
Some of the ways I’ve saved money are…
- Coupons: Don’t be too proud to be seen using a coupon or a loyalty card. Some shops give 5% off on some days with the loyalty card, and others you get the fifth coffee free (you could even do what I do here and buy the cheaper coffee for the four paid coffees, and then order the more expensive for my free coffee).
- Set a goal: Plan ahead and know how much you want to save for the month. If you are deciding if you should buy that new outfit, or go out for dinner, and it means you will go under your monthly total… don’t do it! Do everything you can to stick to that budget. Perhaps you’ll have to eat rice with egg and sweet chilli sauce for lunch every day of the last week of the month, but take it from me, it’s not that bad.
- Cheap Thrills: No matter what city you’re based in there will be cheap, or even free activities on if you look hard enough. Find out what are the top ‘what’s on’ sites or publications and follow them religiously.
- Second Hand: Second hand stuff isn’t just for hipsters. If you’re hesitant to wear second hand clothes, try getting your books second hand or perhaps furniture. Sometimes they’re in pristine condition!
- Set some self-imposed restrictions: Have less cash in your wallet, purposely leave your credit card at home, and when withdrawing money choose the lower amount. If you think you have cash you’ll spend it, even if it’s meant to last you the whole week. And if you’re going out for dinner, make it a game and see if you can get a delicious meal for under $15… you’ll surprise yourself, and perhaps find your new regular.