That was exactly my experience. Spending a few dollars here and there, suddenly I was hundreds of dollars in debt – making it worse, all of this was on credit.
Even prior to being diagnosed, I was determined to have my debts paid off and start saving for a rainy day. Luckily, I had adopted that mindset well in advance. When I became ill and lost my position, I had to rely on the money I had saved the last few years. Losing my position was not as stressful because I no longer had a credit card debt and all my student loans had been paid back. If you’ve already been diagnosed or you don’t have an illness at all – it’s still important to get started. Health is never guaranteed and what we implement today, will help us tomorrow.
These are just 5 small changes I made to my habits that helped me save.
1. Keep your change
It’s amazing how quickly change adds up. The best thing about this tip, is that you don’t feel the hit every time you put in to the coin tin. Every week, I would empty out any change I had in my bag, leaving only $10 in a pocket just in case I forgot my purse. My husband would laugh at me when I badgered him to save all of his silver coins – instead he would hand them over to me and I would store them in my own coin jar. To this day I have been able to accumulate just under $3,000 in coins!
We put that straight into our investments and my husband’s stopped laughing ever since.
2. Do your research before you shop
It does count if you try and save a few cents at the register. Prepare your shopping list and view catalogues to see what is currently on sale. I saved nearly $800 in one year just by purchasing sale items. Anything you do save, should be transferred into your savings account. Stay tuned for my upcoming blog on saving funds at the checkout!
3. Try to go without the daily coffee
This doesn’t come easily. I know EXACTLY how hard it is to go without a daily beverage – trust me! I’m going to confess something terrible. My name is Laura and I’m a Starbucksaholic. I am a recovering coffee shop spender.
Starbucks’ chai lattes. I’m not joking when I say I would drink 3 a day myself and then purchase 2 for my husband. It was something I couldn’t control. I was tired in the morning and needed a drink. Every time my job would make me tense, I’d run out at lunch and buy one. After work on my way out, I’d buy another.
Let’s do the calculations here – $5.60/each venti x 5/day = $28/day + my husband’s daily cake of $4.80 x 2. That’s $9.60 on cake. Every. Day. My total daily spending at Starbucks would be $37.60.
This is legitimate, you can even ask my past work colleagues or the several baristas that knew my name and order like the back of their hands! For two years I worked above a Starbucks and after that, another 2 years only a street down from 3 Starbucks stores. If you multiply that by 365 days in the year, our annual spending on Starbucks alone was $13,724. This does not include our multiple driving fines/parking fees just to make sure we had our daily dose of medicine.
I would gladly have been a Starbucks spokesperson back in the day. It was so difficult to cut myself off cold turkey – my husband was having even worse withdrawals! So we created our alternative. Since then we’ve had to adjust to different drinks at home and make our own in flasks for work. It really has changed our lives. Our weekly expenses were now $21 for 3 canisters of chai powder and $9 for 5 boxes of soy milk. Since my illness however, I’ve had to change to a mixture of decaf and tea with almond milk. Averaging about $30/week on making sure I have enough in stock. That’s a reduction from $263.20 we were spending weekly!
Even small items just like your daily coffee adds up without you realising it – that’s why it’s so imperative you monitor exactly what you’re spending your money on. Check out tip #5 to find out what I do with the money once I’ve beaten my daily coffee temptations.
4. Limit eating out by meal prepping
I know it sounds obvious but I cannot stress this point enough. When you’re exhausted and you come home from work, the last thing you want to do is cook dinner, (I’ll also have an upcoming blog on how to meal prep). With AI disease you really don’t know if today/tomorrow you’ll have enough energy to make a meal. Having this all prepared ahead of time is a lifesaver and a money saving strategy. Usually meal prepping two or three days in advance will prevent you from splurging last minute.
5. Make your goals easily accessible
What I try to keep in mind is our short and long term goals. Having health issues or debt doesn’t mean you forgo saving up for a holiday, car or something you would enjoy. I keep an A5 copy of them in my diary to motivate me on a daily basis. If I’m tempted to spend, I open my diary and take a look at these goals and usually that’s all it takes to get me back on track. Whatever I would have spent, I put straight into savings.
For example, if I was tempted to head down to a local supermarket and purchase a block of chocolate at $3, I’d take a moment to look at my goals, beat the temptation and at the next opportunity transfer that $3 into my savings account. (Note: If you have a credit card debt – you can also add any of these savings toward paying this off so that your debt is reduced).
Knowing that I didn’t waste money in the heat of the moment and seeing that I was able to put the amount toward a goal really encouraged me to save a lot more. At the end of the week, I’d count how much I saved and fill in my goal tracker. This really makes a difference if you were to add up the total money spent on eating out at lunch when you’re at work or if you’re just like me, enjoy a daily beverage…or two…or three.
Don’t think you can do all 5? That’s okay! Start off with one and go from there. You won’t believe what a difference implementing one of these tips will do to your savings.
Once I told my husband about my savings plan and he started seeing the results, he immediately jumped on board. He now refuses to hand me his silver coins, instead adding them to his own coin jar! As for coffees, well I often find myself being lectured about how he’d rather just make them at home. What can I say? I think I’ve created a savings monster!
What’s your favourite money saving tip? If you do get a chance to give any of these money saving strategies a go, don’t forget to comment below. I’d love to hear how it all goes!