money management

10 simple changes I’ve made to go from saving 5% to 25% of my net income in just 6 months

Today I bring you the TFC 6 month round up. Check out the 10 changes I’ve made below to learn how to save money like a pro:

 

1. Utilising parent/family skills

As it came into winter this year, we quickly realised that our dog required a new coat. The coat she had was two years old and she got it when she was still a growing puppy. So, it was a bit tight and chewed apart.

 

My beloved went to shops to look for one for her, only to find that they were $30-$60.

 

We thought this was a bit ridiculous for a dog coat. So, I thought I’d see if my mother’s sewing skills extended to dog coats. As it turns out, she used to make coats for my Dad’s greyhounds back in the 1980’s… So, boom, problem sorted.

 

A couple of weeks later, two good quality dog coats made from blankets Mum had bought for a couple of bucks from Vinnie’s showed up at my house.

 

This saved us about $80 and will keep our furry family member nice and snug throughout the next few winter seasons.

 

2. Making large batch, freezable dinners

As I outlined in my post about saving $2100 a year on takeaway by making bulk freezable dinners, we’ve now cut out the vast majority of our takeaway costs.

 

Before becoming TFC, we used to buy takeaway pizza or Thai each Friday night. This would cost us up to $60 each meal. After I started to pursue my TFC lifestyle, I immediately cut out takeaway once each fortnight so that we were only having it once a fortnight, cutting these costs in half immediately.

 

As we got more $ savvy throughout the year, we cut out our regular fortnight takeaway meals. We were able to do this by stocking up on $2 cheese pizzas ready for toppings from ALDI and by cooking some bulk meals on a Sunday for the following week.

 

All up, this change has saved us about $1000 so far, with expected savings of $2100 a year.

 

3. Making two meals per person each night

Back in the day, we use to buy our lunches each day. This would cost $5-10 each per day; adding up to anywhere between $100-200 a fortnight.

 

These days I make two meals per person each night Sunday to Thursday. We then have the leftovers for lunch at work the next day.

 

Given that I’m prepping and cooking food for dinner anyway, doubling my veg prep and cooking quantities really doesn’t require much more effort.

 

Overall, we’re saving anywhere between $70 and $170 a fortnight on work lunches now. This adds up to between $1680 and $4080 a year! 

 

4. Developing hobbies that save $, rather than use $

Back in the ye olde medieval days of flawed consumerism, I would spend about $100 a month on magazine subscriptions and online gambling on the English Premier League. These days, my interests in the EPL are limited to watching my team Tottenham play for free (legally).

 

Additionally, I no longer gamble at all as it’s called gambling for a reason… And, I’d rather gamble on an Exchange Traded Fund rather than guessing who was going to win a game of soccer!

 

Instead of these hobbies, I’ve started focusing my spare time on doing things that will save us money.

 

Firstly, I’ve started gardening a lot more and am slowly establishing a bigger and better vegetable garden that reduces the amount I need to spend on vegies and herbs each fortnight.

 

I’ve been growing vegetables from seed from our food scraps and am therefore generating these vegies at no extra cost. As we have a rain water tank and plenty of dirt, these vegies and herbs really haven’t cost anything to produce thus far.

 

Additionally, we’ve started brewing our own beer. So far, we’ve made some batches of pacific ale and pale ale. These taste pretty good and cost us about $0.75 a beer; rather than about $2 if we were to buy a carton of beer, or $7 if we were to have beers at a pub.

 

Making my own home brew did come with some considerable startup costs (about $100). But, it’s already paying off as I’ve saved almost $50 on beer over the last 6 weeks. Therefore, the startup costs will be paid off in no time.

 

5. Never paying full price for anything online

These days I always use promo/coupon codes to buy things online. If a code isn’t available, I just don’t buy the item I’m after until a code or sale comes up.

 

As outlined in my posts about promo codes and scoring a pair of Timberland boots for half price, I’ve saved hundreds over the last 6 months by using promo codes for online purchases.

 

6. Selling unwanted items

The second-hand economy is a growing industry in Australia.

 

As outlined in my post about funding an epic Europe trip by selling unwanted items, we have made about $4500 so far from selling our unused, dust collecting items.

 

7. Buying non-brand name groceries

I now only shop at ALDI for our groceries and my local farmers markets for fruit and veg.

 

Before starting our financial freedom journey, we would spend $250 a fortnight on groceries at other supermarkets. We’re now spending $150-$200 a fortnight, but this includes extra food for lunches and lazy food nights.

 

I now only go to other supermarkets to get recycled toilet paper and paper towel in bulk when they’re on special.

 

8. Buying in bulk when on special

Having spares on hand to avoid paying full price when items run out and there are no specials is key! 

 

I used to buy what we needed when we needed it, despite the price. I now stock up on grocery and other items I know we’ll definitely need when they come on special. 

 

As a result, we are now saving about $1200 a year on groceries, etc.

 

9. Never buying books

One of the first things I did to try and save money was to join my local library.

 

In times gone by, I’d just go and spend $40 on a book if we were thinking about traveling, gardening or just wanted to read a good novel.

 

These days I hire books and magazines from my local library and keep those $$$ in my wallet instead!

 

10. Re-purposing rather than buying new

 

When things used to get a bit scrappy, we used to buy new things and then throw out or give away our old items.

 

This was not only expensive, but wasted resources and contributed unnecessarily to land fill.

 

These days I try to make do with what we’ve got by re-purposing existing items where I can.

 

Over the last 6 months, I’ve sanded back and repainted concrete pots, built our own tool display wall out of an unused shelf and nails and reused an old wooden desk top as the counter top for the laundry sink.

 

Reusing the wooden desk saved us $500 on a wood counter top during recent renovations of our laundry.

 

Conclusion

When I first started The Flawed Consumer just over 6 months ago, I was only saving about 5% of my net income each fortnight.

 

By adjusting our attitude towards spending and consuming, my beloved and I are now both saving 25% of our net income each fortnight!

 

We’ve achieved this simply through implementing the changes outlined above. 

 

Over the next 12 months, I aim to use our new found savings potential to get rid of our car loan and credit card debt… Fingers crossed!

 

Cheers, TFC.

Posted in My Financial Journey and tagged , , , , , .

The Flawed Consumer is a Gen Y consumer that is on a mission to achieve wealth simply by changing spending and lifestyle habits.

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