Money makes the world go round. And while there are so many elements of our best lives that don't require a cent, financial stability and even financial confidence can open up many doors and possibilities. In my mid-twenties, it is only recently that I've developed an interest and passion for my own finances. In the past, I found money to be quite stressful and in hindsight I realise I held a limiting-belief that I was just no good with money. However, by taking a long, hard look at myself and my financial patterns I have genuinely overcome this belief, changed my mindset and jumped into the metaphorical deep end of life, ready to chase my dreams!
So here are the top ten lessons I've learnt to make my money go further, work harder and bring financial abundance into my life.
Make a budget
Look at your past three to four months spending and figure out your essential expenses. What do you need for rent, bills, food, transport etc.? Figure out exactly (to the cent) how much you HAVE to spend each week/ fortnight/ month and write it down in detail. Include everything that is essential to your current life, your phone bill, the fuel you put in your car or the automatic subscriptions you have. I simply have a Google Keep Note with my monthly expenses listed along with what date they are due.
This can also be a good opportunity to look at what you've spent your money on in the past few months and maybe reflect on what you can cut back on in the future, if you are trying to save. I like to go back and look through my spending every month, so I can see where my money has gone, cancel any subscriptions I'm no longer using and also keep an eye out for any strange transactions I need to follow up on.
2. Get specific about your goals
Get really specific about an amount of money you want to save and exactly what you want it for. Whether you're saving for a house-deposit or planning your dream holiday, do some research so that you know exactly how much money you need to make this happen. Don't forget to consider the surprise extras that are almost always involved, and try to round up so you have some wiggle room if something unexpected does pop up.
Right now I am personally saving so I can move to Mexico (when international travel resumes). I have been researching, not only flights to Mexico, but living expenses, food, transport, insurance, visas etc. and now I have a very specific financial goal that is motivating me to save my money.
This is also a great time to think about how you will achieve this goal. How much of your income can you realistically put into your savings every week/ fortnight/ month? Read on for some further tips to boost your savings and add some extra cash to your goals.
3. Open a specific savings account
Open an account just for your savings, money you will not touch until you reach your goal. Even better open it with a totally different bank so you cannot just quickly transfer yourself some money between your accounts when you want it. It is incredibly easy to open a bank account online right now and by putting it out of reach you wont be tempted to dip into your savings (even if you plan on paying them back) until you have reached your goal and you're ready to make your big purchase, go explore the world or whatever your dream is.
4. Do your research and find the best bank for your savings goals
Before you open a new account, do a little research and look at interest rates, account keeping fees, cash withdrawal fees and anything else important to you. There are many banks that offer significantly higher bonus interest rates if your account has a certain amount deposited, aka your salary and a certain number of transactions each month. If you don’t have a consistent income, consider setting up direct transfers from your other accounts, shuffling your money around to make the most of these interest rates. Do the math and you'll see 0.05% of $5000 = $0.21, whereas 1.80% of $5000 = $7.50. That’s an extra $7.29 per month, just for doing a few minutes research and opening a new account. It might not sound that amazing but every cent is worth something and it certainly adds up over time.
5. Set-up automatic transfers
Set and forget. With online banking, it is super-simple to set-up automatic transfers for anything and everything. After you've worked out your budget and savings goal, set up an automatic transfer the day you get paid to immediately transfer the money from your salary into your saving account. Doing this for your bills, rent, all other set expenses is also a great way to avoid late fees and ensure you are making the most of your hard earned money. Basically if its not in your spending account you cant spend it!
As I mentioned above, I also have direct debits set up so that my money rotates through my various accounts to ensure that I reach the monthly criteria for bonus interest, aka free money.
6. Get creative about how to make some extra money
Now it's time to get creative and invite some extra cash into your life. Think Gumtree, Depop, Facebook Marketplace, whatever is set up in your community and think of what can you sell. Sell the clothes you're tired of wearing, that camera you never use anymore, the pieces of jewellery your aunty gave you for Christmas that you never wear. We are all guilty of having too much stuff and if you're serious about making some extra cash, I guarantee you can find several things you no longer need (that are still of good quality) that someone else would love! Even better do a little research to see what other similar products are selling for to ensure you get the best price.
And, on the other hand, if you desperately need to buy something, look in these places first. Which leads me to my next point…
7. Get fussy about how you spend
Avoid impulse buys. At all costs. Make a list of things you want to buy and research the best version of this product, then research the best price. Once you've found the best product for the best price, sleep on it ideally for a week or even better a month. I keep a list on my Google Keep of things I want to buy, I include a description, the best price and the date I decided I wanted this. If I'm still thinking about this thing a week later I will chat to my best friend about it and see what her thoughts are. If I still want this thing two weeks later, I try to do some more research and then, if it is still on my mind, I will buy it, satisfied that I've got a great deal for a thing that I really do want and will enjoy.
When shopping online, many online stores also offer discounts when you sign up to their mailing lists or even if you put items in your cart, but don’t go through with your purchase straight away (just make sure they have your email address). This can also be a great way to save a few extra dollars.
Unfortunately with fast fashion and consumerism it can be incredibly tempting to 'buy now' for fear of missing out, but I like to remind myself these are just marketing tactics and by exercising some patience (and doing a little research) I can almost always find a great price for the best product.
By choosing quality (even better pre-loved/second-hand) products, not only are we supporting more sustainable practices but we are often putting our money into local businesses, supporting our communities (and environment) and creating great karma!
8. Get organised
Plan your week, your meals, your shopping list and exactly what you need. By doing this I find I not only save money by buying less but I am more efficient with what I have, using up the ingredients I already have in my fridge. Obviously I find this works best with my grocery shopping and feeding myself during the week. By spending 5-10minutes planning the meals I want to cook for the week and writing a specific shopping list based on what I do/don't have in my fridge and pantry and sticking to it, I spend significantly less money on food. Also, I don’t need to pop back into the shops on my way home from work or stress about what I'm going to have for dinner each night.
I also plan to cook enough for dinner every night (or meal prep) so that I have leftovers for lunch the following day. Not only do I find buying lunch expensive but it never tastes as good as a home-made meal!
On this note, it can also be far more cost efficient to make your morning coffee at home or in your office. By buying a coffee machine and/or milk frother (on Gumtree/FB Marketplace!) you can teach yourself to make delicious coffee for a fraction of the price. And don't even get me started on single-use take-away cups!
9. Get your friends on board
Explain your goals to your family and friends and ask them to help you out! Challenge each-other to $50 weekends (literally withdraw $50 cash on a Friday night and make it last you all weekend) or no spend weeks/months. Start sharing and swapping clothes or books or kitchen things and mix up brunch dates for at home coffee dates or simply go for a walk together.
It can also be incredibly helpful to have someone on a similar saving journey to compare research, goals and frustrations with.
10. Ditch your limiting beliefs
Start telling yourself you are good with money, practice gratitude for the money you already have and know that money comes and goes in waves and cycles. Money is abundant in our world and there are infinite ways of earning more money every day. By opening your mind and believing in your ability to earn money, making educated financial decisions and trusting that money does in fact come to you, your relationship with money will change for the better.
So there you have it. My favourite financial tips for making the most of my money, helping me live my best life and be the best version of myself. Please note, these tips are solely based on my own personal experiences and research and I am by no means a financial expert.
Welcome to the world of financial abundance!