Due to the woeful state of our world's economy, more and more articles are appearing everyday about budgeting and how to live life more cheaply. I may as well write some of the ideas up (and add a few of my own) seeing as it's always good to have a snapshot review of whether you can make a difference to your life. Even if you follow just one or two of these points, you will notice a positive difference over time.
Rather than living day to day, you want to beable to have the freedom to do what you want, whenever and wherever you want to. Here's the budget checklist (the first 11 points are from the Sun Herald investor liftout section 6th Sept 2009), the rest are my ideas:
* Take your lunch to work (saving an average $8x5x52 = $2,080 pa)
* Buy in bulk
* Make your own coffee (saving an average $3x5x52= $780 pa)
* Grow your own fruit, vegetables( and herbs)
* Watch DVDs instead of going to the cinemas
* Pay yourself first
* Mend clothes rather than buy new
* Shop with a list (reducing impulse buys)
* Cook meals rather than get take away
* Pay off your credit card in full each month
* Go on self catering holidays
* Negotiate cheaper and better deals for car/house/health insurance, phone, mobiles, internet and basically anything requiring subscription (if your contract has expired) at least annually
* Use public transport if this is an option for you. This saves on the car's wear/tear on the engine/tires/kms and repairs and maintenance. A car can actually cost up to $300/week to run - I'll write a blog about this sometime because it's really a hidden cost that we don't often realise.
* Use Skype for phone calls - totally free
* Eat fruit and vegetables that are in season (a LOT cheaper than buying stuff that aren't in season)
* Watch out for the specials and stock up (maximum one year!! it's not a warzone so there's no need to stock up as if there'll be embargoes) if it's non perishables (eg toilet paper ^_^ , toothpaste, canned goods, cleaning products)
* Cut out or cut back the baddies - cigarettes, alcohol, junk food, lollies, soft drinks, processed foods, takeaway, deep fried cholesterol laden food, vending machines snacks
* Swap gym memberships for some free or cheaper exercises - jogging, taking walks in the parks and around the neighbourhood, rollerblading, biking, hiking, playing sports where you can split the cost of court hire
* Swap buying fresh flowers for a potted plant - a potted plant in bloom from the nursery will be super cheap (eg $8 or $15) and it will last for weeks, whereas buying blooms from the florist will last at most a few days to a week before wilting. If you've got green fingers, it's better to grow your own, bulbs last forever and seeds are at the most, $2-$4/packet, soil is $4-$15 for a 10kg bag and this will give you months of varied blooms.
* Swap dinner nights out for dinner at friend's places where you each bring a dish. Instead of $20-$50 per person (depending on the amount of liquor you drink too), you have a great time and the cost of each dish that you cook is about $10-$20 instead.
* Eat less meat and eat more vegetables and fruit instead. Not only does this save more animal lives, this will save you money, improve your health and wellbeing and help keep your weight stable (and if your metabolism is fast like mine...you will also lose weight).
* Cook from scratch... nutritious meals can be as cheap as $2.50 per servings
* Research the prices of what you want to buy if it's a major expenditure- don't buy impulsively. Negotiate and don't negotiate when there are other people around or they won't be inclined to negotiate with you "Can you tell me what your best price is? Ask your manager if you have to." and once you get some discount (95% of the time you will) then ask again "If I pay cash for this, what price can you sell it to me for?" (60% of the time you get a further discount :) )
* Don't buy it if it's just going to create landfill, sit on a surface uselessly and gather dust or is cheap and will breakdown shortly after acquisition - this will save yourself and save the world simultaneously
* Borrow books from public libraries for free instead of buying so many books from Borders, Angus & Robertson or Amazon etc... unless you enjoy re-reading books, alternatively swap books with friends
* ...more to come...have a few things to do before writing more