5 saving tips to save you stress in 2020
There’s no denying that 2020 has been one hell of a year. Each month has felt a decade long and families are dealing with a significantly altered reality. The stress of the coronavirus pandemic and the subsequent shutdowns have led to a lot of workers and their families facing an uncertain financial future with the possibility of unemployment or having to spend long periods of time homeschooling children or caring for relatives.
With a potentially rocky future ahead of us you want to make sure you’ve got plenty of savings banked up, so, no matter what happens, you’ll be able to take care of your family and your expenses.
Here are some simple tips to help you get your savings in order so you can weather any storm.
Keep a spending diary
The first step to getting your savings in tact is to examine your spending. Over a week or a fortnight you’ll want to keep a spending diary like the types featured on Whimn or Refinery29. In this diary you’ll want to list all your income for the period and all the expenses everyday, from your rent and utility bills to your afternoon coffee or cheeky end of day cocktail. Very few people have a clear idea of how much they actually spend in a normal week so you’re bound to be surprised by your results either way.
At the end of the recording period tally up all your expenses and break them down into categories: food and groceries, entertainment, transportation, health, utilities etc. When you have divided your expenses throughout these categories you’ll be able to see where you can cut back.
Sweat the small stuff
Once you’ve made your spending diary you’ll be able to see just how much the ‘small stuff’ tends to add up. Buying one takeaway coffee every day for a week will end up setting you back $25, ordering food delivery a few times a week rather than cooking yourself or picking up your own takeaway will set you back at least $10 in delivery fees, driving to work rather than catching the bus, paying for express delivery when online shopping… all the little luxuries that you don’t think about when things are going well, can be enough to sink you when times are tough.
Look for hidden fees
Another major catch: hidden fees. Your bank is a real culprit for this one, depending on whether or not you’ve got the best bank account, you could be paying fees when you don’t have to be. You might not know it but many banks will waive account fees if you meet certain conditions such as depositing a certain amount each month. Some good information about hidden account fees can be found in this article.
Once you’ve made your spending diary you’ll notice that ‘surprise purchases’ are making a pretty significant dent in your budget. What we’re talking about here is that takeaway you buy after a long day at work because you can’t be bothered to cook, or the lunch you’re buying at work because you forgot to bring some along or that sneaky croissant you’re picking up because you ran out the door without breakfast. Making a spending or meal plan for the week will help you stay on budget and save valuable dollars. Make a meal plan on Sunday laying out what you’re gonna eat every day of the week – leave a day or two blank for take out or treats but try and make a plan and stick to it! Once you’ve made a plan and assessed how much exactly you’re going to need to spend on these meals, rent, utilities, subscriptions etc. you’ll be able to get a clearer picture of how much you’ll have left at the end of the week to put towards savings or a treat.
Bulk it up!
This may seem counterintuitive but you actually want to be buying more. When you buy in bulk you’ll save money overall. We’re not talking about hoarding or anything crazy here just getting more value for your money. There are certain supermarkets specifically designed to buy in bulk but a simple way to do it might just be to take a closer look at the supermarket shelves. Most price tags will say the price of an item and then list the price per 100g, when you look at the price per 100g you might find it’s actually cheaper to buy the 3kg bag of flour or the value pack of cereal. Something that might be beneficial – especially in this unique time- is visiting wholesalers. Many wholesaler butchers and producer sellers who usually provide goods to restaurants have a surplus of high-quality products to be sold at a low price.
Now you’ve begun buying in bulk, it’s time to start cooking in bulk! No one wants to be eating the same meal every single day but there are a bunch of meals and snacks that can be prepared and then frozen so you’re still getting variety but the stress of preparing meals is limited. From sauces and soups to curries and stews there are plenty of great meals that can be prepped and frozen – making them perfect for stocking up on during this uncertain time. Check out this article for some recipes and inspiration to help you save money as well as time and energy.