I am yet to find someone who is always happy spending exorbitant amounts of money on life’s basic needs. I know people who can spend a whole weekend going from one store to another chasing bargains or those families in the USA who take the art of “couponing” to the extreme. I chose to think I am not that extreme but admit I am always trying to find ways in which I can get what I need/want for a reduced price. Outlined below are 5 of the ways I use to try and save a penny and I look forward to hearing some of your tips.
1. Ask- As my favourite saying goes, “If you don’t ask, the answer is NO!” Since incorporating this thinking, I can say I haven’t paid full price for electronics and furniture in recent memory. Salespeople are occasionally allowed to reduce prices and you wouldn’t know unless you ask. I must admit there are stores where I obviously don’t ask for discounts like when doing my groceries but otherwise if there is a sales person and I am shopping, especially if it is for electronics or furniture, I will always ask if there are discounts available. I have been on a power-plan for the last 3yrs where I get 40% off my electricity bill because the power company is affiliated with my insurance company. I didn’t know about such a plan until I asked the sales person if there were any further discounts available. As your mortgage, power/phone bills, insurances etc approach the policy renewal time, get into the habit of asking for discounts to get instant savings especially if you are able to provide a comparative policy for a much cheaper price point.
2. Off-peak use- I know the peak times for power, internet and try and get some tasks done at those times to reduce the overall cost. For example, I will set the dishwasher to start a cycle at 11am when we are all at work/school or at midnight as those are off-peak times. If I am downloading large amount of content or doing system updates, I will also use the same principle. This together with trying to buy energy efficient equipment makes me think that in addition to saving money, I am having a smaller carbon footprint which is great for the environment overall.
3. Use free resources- As an avid reader, I know that this habit can become expensive after a little while and this is where my local library steps in. I have signed up for free audiobook library with the local library which I use to access audiobooks for my daily commute. The aim to read 1000 books by 3 years of a child’s age can also add up after a while but the children’s library and toy library make this task affordable and somewhat exciting as I wouldn’t possibly be able to furnish little man with all the choice he gets from the library. Another thing is that, with more information available at our fingertips with the world wide web, things like recipes/instructions are not only found in the pages of a book as an example but are available in sites such as youtube or with a quick Google search.
4. Declutter- Sorting through the stuff you already have can save you a lot of money as you most often find things that are still of good use thus eliminating the need to buy more. It is with this process I have managed to “shop my wardrobe” and find some long-lost treasures in clothes and shoes that may have needed a small repair prior to getting back to full use again thus saving money overall. You can take this to the next step and host a garage sale to get rid of things that you have outgrown and recycling that money to buy you new clothes. You can also drop these items to charity which often results in priceless feel-good hormones.
5. Buy staples on sale- this goes without saying that staples like toilet paper, petrol or nappies shouldn’t be bought at full price. Getting into the habit of seeing when they are starting to run low and then buying in bulk when on sale can save money. Buying things that one may not use because they are on sale however, is a very expensive exercise and one that I don’t encourage.
+1. Another way to save money is to prioritise your health- eating well, exercising, spending time with family and close friends and nourishing those relationships is a great way to save money. The costs of being sick can spiral out of control even with health insurance and thus it is always important to try and be healthy to minimise the outgoing costs of getting you back to health and your previous earning potential.
These are my 5+1 ways I have used to try and make the coins we make stretch a little further. Obviously, it is always great to splurge a little where you can to reward yourself for all the hard work we do in our 9-5s as well as side hustles etc. I just don’t think the splurge should ever encompass basic things like power bills etc.
What are the ways you have used and what would you suggest I use too? Please comment below and let me know.