A question I get asked all the time..”How can you afford to go on so many holidays?”
Well I guess it’s apart of me. It’s instilled in me to save every penny I have…or don’t have. You want something, you have to get it yourself, it’s not just going to be handed to you. Well not for the average joe anyways. We all have wants which are completely different to needs. I want to go on a holiday, I want that brand new phone, I want, I want, I want…of course there are different levels of wants. Wanting a brand new phone is not going to cost as much as a holiday or a house. It is possible if you want it enough. We all indulge in buying things, it releases endorphins which are the same endorphins as eating chocolate releases. It lasts a while and then it goes away, then we buy something else to feed this vicious cycle. How long this feeling lasts for differs. This is the same as catching that travel bug everyone seems to talk about. Travelling actually releases the same endorphins and the feeling lasts longer. Memories are created therefore allowing the satisfying feeling to last a lot longer than buying an item.
Now how can I afford it? I save everywhere I can. It becomes apart of you, sort of like a 6th sense. No one likes to feel as though they’ve been ripped off. It is also about saving long-term rather than short-term. It’s only an extra 20c across 100 items, ‘x’ amount of times per year quickly adds up.
I buy what I need and basically that is it. If I purchase items I normally wouldn’t, it is most likely on sale! This also comes with knowing prices. Not to say I never buy anything but if I wanted that pair of shoes that are on sale I can afford to do so. I don’t indulge myself. I make do with what I have as long as I can. We visit the hairdresser once every 3-4 months for a cut. No colour, no blow dry, no extras, just a simple cut. Which female doesn’t like to have their nails done? I do my own. A few dollars on a good nail file and a bottle of Sally Hanson nail polish on sale for $2.50 from chemist warehouse does just fine. Not skimping on the quality of the nail file or nail polish for under $10 lasts months. That’s a lot cheaper than just one visit to the nail salon. Not to mention all the compliments I receive. It’s great to feel pretty but to be quite honest I am very content in my own skin and what lies beneath. You should also! Beauty comes from within and what is in our hearts, not what is on the outside nor what people perceive us to be. It is what you see. If you love yourself and comfortable in your own skin it will definitely shine through.
Eating out is an occassional luxury, especially once I have made a decision on saving for that holiday. Once I have made that decision and booked that flight, it is basically essentials. Meal times are generally quite cheap as it is just my son and I (even though his a big eater). If we are out for the entire day, I try to pack snacks and lunch.
As a single mum I need to be weary of where my money is spent. I have always been good at saving but since having my son and being conscious about healthy eating, I try not to purchase junk. As he gets older and is more aware of all the junk and unhealthy food there is on offer, the only thing I can do is limit the accessibility. Probably better for me too and it’s all those extra dollars I save not buying junk I don’t need.
Who doesn’t love Aldi? No one I know! Aldi is fantastic and they have weekly specials two times a week. Of course, every time I go I spend a bundle. I stock up on my canned goods and anything that will last a while, frozen items and snacks. It has become a little bit of a trial and error but I find every time I go, I like to try one new item. Some things we love and other items we prefer to purchase elsewhere. Remember that not everything is cheaper at Aldi. I mean, sure the regular price may be cheaper but when things go on sale you can score a bargain. This is the time to stock up. Stocking up doesn’t mean going overboard as this will also be wasted money. Buy what you think you will use and of course if you have the storage space and cashflow for non perishable items..STOCK UP!
I have been doing this for a long time so I know my prices. I stock up on non perishable items such as toilet paper, dish washing liquid, laundry detergent and shampoo when it is at its cheapest so it will last me until the next sale. Long term saving.
Birthday’s, birthday’s, birthday’s… same goes as non perishable items. When things are on sale, I purchase gifts and hoard them. Of course I have the present in mind for someone. I like to purchase gifts which are educational for kids. Books are always a good choice. Too many books are never enough.
When we think about saving we have to think about the bigger picture. Sure it’s nice to have the luxury items but do we really need it? Is it much of a muchness if I purchase the Mozzarella from Aldi which is $1 cheaper than Coles or Woolworth’s? In saying that I will always purchase quality over quantity. I will say it again. We LOVE Aldi!
Joining rewards programs such as flybuys and Woolworth’s rewards earns points and converts to cash. Yes it takes a while but every dollar counts. Flybuys and woolworths have many affiliates and where is the harm in swiping a card at check out? It isn’t costing you a cent. I have recently downloaded Unlock rewards which opens ads on your device to gain extra flybuys points. I have found this a much faster way to accumulate points as flybuys only reward 1 point for every $1 spent. You can earn up to 1000 extra flybuys points per month depending on how many ads you open. In order to maximise the ads I open I selected all categories as my interests. 1000 extra points would convert to $1000 spent. This way it isn’t costing me anything. If you have a fitbit, flybuys rewards 10 points every time you reach 10,000 steps in one day. In order to receive the points you will need to link your fitbit and sync it at least once per 30 days. Check your receipts for bonus points also. You can also link your flybuys account to all affiliates to maximise points received.
Using the 4c discount for petrol from Coles or Woolworth’s can save you around $2.50 per tank. Putting petrol when it is at the cheapest for that cycle. It has become a bit of a habit when I drive past a petrol station, I have a look at the prices. Even if I have what may seem like a full tank and it is still cheap, I will top up my tank. If my tank is on empty and petrol is still sky-rocket I won’t put a full tank. Instead I will put enough to get me through a few days so prices can go down. Yes, a lot of effort actually goes into putting petrol to save some money.
I have become a member of cash rewards and purchase Woolworth’s egift cards which offer 5% off. Yes, 5% is barely anything but something is better than nothing. For $100 value I pay $95. Long term I have saved quite a bit. Cash rewards also have loads of affiliates.
Between putting petrol at Woolworths petrol and receiving the 4c discount and using my egift card which gives me 5% off, it saves me a few dollars with every tank.
An app I use is lasoo. It has quite a few catalogues so I can have a look at specials and what is on sale. I have a look once a week to see if there is anything from particular stores offering a great discount.
Scouring through discount sites, scoopon, groupon, cudo, ozsales, catch of the day. There is always something on sale at a great price. The trick is timing and what you are looking for at that particular time. Before purchasing items or going out to eat, have a google for deals alongside what you are looking for or where you want to eat. You might just find a great deal for exactly what you are looking for. Even dominos has online codes for discounts!
Taking my son out to fun activities. We all know kids cost a bomb, whether it be clothes, toys or taking them out. I’m lucky to say I have a sister with 3 boys. I’m fortunate to not have to buy clothing. Toys are much the same. We make do with gifts and hand-me-downs. Of course I still buy all these things but they will either be on sale or I think my son will benefit from it. Educational toys, books, books, books..lots of books. Joining a few facebook groups where you can buy and sell items is also a great way to save some money on second-hand items and also make some money for your second-hand goods. This is also a great way to find free, cheap activities and discount codes. A great park alongside a picnic is always a great day out with toddlers. We are fortunate enough to have close friends and family with kids we visit quite often. Playgroup is a cheap/free activity we attend once a fortnight. If you are in the Inner West Sydney near Marrickville, the magic yellow bus runs at a different park each day, filled with different activities for kids. I find all different kinds of free events held via facebook and through friends. Taking advantage of the free events such as the fire station day held once a year, vivid and free trials for kids is a great unique day out. Some shopping centres have a free play area. The most recent one we visited was at Rhodes. It is by far the most exciting free shopping centre play area we have been to. I look out for discounts or buy in bulk, for example going to the pools. I will purchase a 20 visit pass which will save me some money. During summer we spend our days at the pools or the beach. Which kid doesnt like spending the day at the pools or beach? Of course, you will need to make sure you use all the visits before the expiry date (generally 12 months). We are lucky to have many beaches within a short driving distance. Purchasing annual passes to attractions like the zoo and aquarium (if you are going to use it) is a great saving. We have an annual merlin pass which allows entry into 11 attractions which I purchased for under $40. Having the merlin pass allows you to invite friends to come along for a day out which will give them a 25% discount for entry. So you can see now how our days are full of fun and free/cheap activities. Not a penny spent (or very little).
Knowing which merchants offer a price match or a price beat is great knowledge. I recently purchased micro sd cards for less than half the retail price due to knowing that jb-hifi offer a price match. Google is your friend. Google items you are after and compare prices. This is where the price match can come in handy. Smaller businesses can offer a better price compared to the reliable big chains. As long as the item is in stock jb-hifi will price match. If the online store says it is out of stock, call the store and if it is in stock you are eligible for that price match.
Bring lunch to work! A little bit of effort can go a long way. Preparing lunch can save loads. Every dollar counts. $10 for lunch, 5 days a week = $50. Include a $4 beverage adds $20 a week, coming to a total of $70 a week. $70 x 2 months = $560! I bet you never thought of it that way did you? There you have it… return flights to Hawaii in just 2 months. On sale you can find return flights to Hawaii for around $500.
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Your trash can be a gold mine (so long as it’s not actually trash). I sell anything from my sons outgrown clothes, toys to homeware and furniture. Anything is better than nothing. This is my means of making some extra money. I use gumtree, ebay and carousel to sell second-hand goods. Even if it is just for a few dollars, those extra few dollars are in my pocket rather than in the bin. Like you and me, we are all looking for a bargain. Why pay full price when we can get a second-hand one for half the price? Yes it’s used, yes it’s not shining in a brand new box but it does the same job for half the price.
I love when I open an email to find a bill for $400+ said no one ever. The anxiety and stress levels that arise when the bills pile up can really put us off. Where in the world am I going to get $400 from to pay this bill so we can keep the electricity running and hot water for my kids to have a shower? Bills can be damning, stressful and cause so much heartache and pressure. Being a single mum on a budget with no financial support, it can be hard to scrape up $400 for a bill which seems to be excessive every time. To beat this feeling, I make fortnightly payments of ‘x’ amount so when that email does come through it isn’t $400+. It is a manageable $100. Turning something stressful into something manageable.
Besides all these efforts to save there are also the daily things such as turning lights and electricity off when not in use, doing the laundry once it is off-peak and only full loads, hanging the clothes instead of using the dryer and one of my favourite things to use in the kitchen is the pressure cooker. It cuts my cooking time into a quarter which also saves me on my electricity bill. All these things are simple and out of habit yet saves me money.
There are discounts and savings everywhere, you just need to look. Saving is long-term and becomes apart of your life without even noticing. At first it will be hard to resist those temptations, pull through, be strong, you can do it. Be a penny pincher. At the end of the day you are the one that will reap the rewards, you are the one that will enjoy that holiday and you will be the one that can teach your kids the importance of saving and managing their money.
Come on…it’s your time to enjoy that long needed holiday you’ve been dreaming about for so long. It is at your fingertips along with my travel saving experiences. Take the plunge. Check out my blogs and follow us on our adventures and see that it is possible.
@diaryofasinglemum signing out