However you slice it, saving is never really an easy task. Some people are naturally good at it, sure, but it always tends to boil down to one thing: sacrifice.
This article has been sponsored by numobile.
To save money, you need to sacrifice something you'd normally spend it on, which is never fun, but always necessary.
While saving always requires some level of work, there are some methods that are a little easier than others. Here are ten that you could try.
#1 Bring your lunch to work
I'm sure you've all heard this little pearl of wisdom before. Is it boring? Absolutely. Will it save you a fair bit of cash? Without a doubt.
These days you'd be hard pressed to find a decent meal for under $10 and realistically, you're probably looking more towards $12 to $13 at a lot of places. Multiply this by 5 and you've got yourself upwards of $60 per week, which is around $240 per month.
You'll still need to buy stuff to take in for lunch, yes, but it'll average out a lot cheaper, especially if you're utilising leftover dinners and things like that along the way.
#2 Look for a better deal
No matter what it is you're paying for, there's always the possibility of a better deal out there, so it's definitely worth having a look around.
If you see a better deal, jump on it. Doing this across all of the things you're paying for could save you hundreds, maybe even thousands.
#3 Sell some stuff
Again, pretty straightforward, but a good way to make some quick cash if you're in need. Take stock of all your stuff and consider selling anything you don't need or use anymore on sites like eBay or Gumtree. My rule is to sell anything I haven't used for more than a year, but that's just me.
It's worth noting that Gumtree is a free service, so you won't be charged a fee, but you can choose to pay for a premium ad spot or to add extra pictures if that's something you wanna do. eBay, on the other hand, will slug you a fee of 10.9% of the sale price capped at $440 per item.
One of the easiest and painless ways to save money is through an app called Raiz. Previously known as Acorns, Raiz hooks up to your credit or debit cards and saves spare change from purchases automatically.
Essentially, it rounds every purchase you make up to the nearest dollar and transfers that change into your Raiz account once the total of those roundups hits around $20. You can also nominate weekly or monthly automatic debits to come out as part of your planned savings.
On top of forced savings, Raiz will also invest that money in the stock market according to a portfolio of your choosing, so you'll get a nice little boost to your stash as well. You can transfer money back to your bank account at any time, but it takes between 3 and 5 business days to appear, which is actually a good deterrent, meaning you'll save more over a longer period.
It's an awesome little savings tool you can just set and forget about. I use mine to take care of my car rego and insurance every year, which takes so much of the pain of those bills out of my life.
#5 Watch your electricity/water usage
These bills are pricey, particularly electricity, so be mindful of how much you use.
It could be simple things like making sure you switch off the lights when no one's in the room, or making sure you're only doing full loads of washing to minimise both water and electricity.
It can be tricky to get into the mindset at first, but once you start taking note of your household actions, you'll get into the swing of healthy habits, like air drying clothes instead of using the dryer when you can, or keeping showers under 5 minutes.
#6 Review your subscriptions
It's so easy to simply pick up a $10 streaming subscription until you suddenly have a whole heap of them ravaging your bank account. You should take stock of all the subscriptions you have and bin any you don't use all that often.
This includes mobile app subscriptions, which you should be able to check on your phone. On the iPhone, for example, you can go to Settings, iTunes & App Store, tap on your Apple ID at the top and select "View Apple ID," then tap Subscriptions. Here you can manage all of your active subscriptions, so cancel anything you no longer use.
You should also share the load across your household if everyone uses the service(s). Even if you have to upgrade to family accounts, split across a few people, the costs will be minimal.
#7 Buy pre-owned
There are plenty of things you can buy second-hand or refurbished that'll serve you just as well as a brand new one. Smartphones, laptops, tablets, and even cameras are great examples of this.
Apple, for example, sells refurbished products via its own website. You can get a refurbished 128GB Wi-Fi iPad (6th generation) from the company for $509, whereas a brand new one will set you back $599. That's a very decent 15 per cent discount for a product which comes with the same 1-year warranty as a new one, all the same accessories, a new battery and outer shell, and a new white box.
#8 Coupons are your friend
Whether you get them in the mail or scrounge around online, take advantage of coupons where you can.
#9 Buy in bulk
If there's something you always need, like, say, toilet paper, you can save a bit of cash by buying it in bulk. Now that Costco is here in Australia, it's probably the best place for all of your bulk needs.
You'll have to pay a membership fee, so that's something to take into account, but if you make even 3 or 4 trips a year, it's definitely worth the cash. Grab the staples you use often in bulk to save not only money, but also your time, which is just as valuable.
#10 Share streaming accounts within your household
Delving a little deeper on the idea of sharing streaming services, make sure no one living under your roof is paying for their own subscriptions, because splitting the costs can save you heaps, and you'll still have all of your own accounts.
Let's say you pay for basic Netflix ($10), Stan ($10), and Spotify ($12) accounts, that's $32 you're paying on your own. Now let's add another person into your household and split the costs. If you upgrade your Netflix and Stan accounts to standard ($14 each), which will give you 2 and 3 logins respectively, and add a Spotify family account ($18 for 5 logins), that takes the total to $46, which is $23 each.
You don't have to be a gun at all of the points above but doing a little bit here and there could save you a good amount of cash. The hardest part, of course, is sticking to your guns. Stay strong, folks, you got this.