October 5, 2008 at 11:41 am #245424
October Challenge: Save $100!
This month’s challenge is a simplified version of a budget challenge. We all want to save money, to follow a budget and to spend less but in these uncertain economic times, it pays even more so to learn to live on less. If you could save $100 extra this month (or even $50 or $25), maybe you could do it every month and put it away for a rainy day, use it to make bigger mortgage payments or save up for that really useful money saving item you might have your eye on (eg, a bread maker, preserving equipment, solar lighting, etc). And don’t forget, the best pay rise you can get is to save the wages you already receive!
A search on the word ‘budget’ on ALS will reveal many threads with lots of money saving advice. There are also some articles on simple/frugal living which you might find helpful. Take a look. If you really want to get your calculator out and get control of your budget, there are several ways to go about it.
* Forest describes an envelope system, where money is allocated each month to groceries, bills etc, and then taken from the envelopes to pay for these things. When the envelope is empty, no more spending. (Please don’t ask questions of Forest, she doesn’t visit here much these days, better to direct questions to this thread)
* I have an account which has money allocated for weekly spending on variable expenses, such as groceries, fuel, etc. Regular bills like rates, electricity etc are paid from another account. When the variable expenses account is empty, no more spending.
You might have a better system than these â€“ we’d all love to hear it.
You could use this challenge thread to post your money saving idea, with how much it will save you this month. Start small â€“ if your budget is really, really tight, just try to save an extra $10 a week. After all, every little bit adds up.
So my challenge for you this month is to find $25, $50 or $100 and save it â€“ and of course, to tell us exactly how you did it. If it is sustainable over the long term â€“ good for you, try to keep it up as we head towards Christmas â€“ the biggest spending frenzy of the year for the average Aussie! Let’s not be average!
Some helpful links:
The Simple Living Section of ALS Articles: https://www.aussieslivingsimply.com.au/articles.php?cat_id=6 this has some good advice on simple/frugal living as well as some budgeting tips.
The Australian Government website Understanding Money: http://www.understandingmoney.gov.au/ which some useful resources
The Money Magazine website: http://money.ninemsn.com.au/managing-money/ which has some tools and advice â€“ this is a bit commercialised but the budget tools are useful.
The Raising Children Network: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/managing_your_money.html/context/313 â€“ a summary of some good, old fashioned budget advice.
By the way, saving money that you had already allocated in your budget to save does not count for this challenge â€“ you need to find extra money that you didn’t already plan to save. Good Luck!October 5, 2008 at 1:07 pm #372483
:metal:October 6, 2008 at 2:40 am #372484
Great idea for a challenge. We currently don’t have any savings allocated in our budget, so I think it’s something I definately have to work on.October 6, 2008 at 4:08 am #372485
OMG This challenge is just what I need!
I believe that most of us live up to our means and beyond! By most I mean that there is a very small minority who live debt free; or are paying their debt off more quickly than the requirement; giving up luxuries out of choice not necessity.
(This is regardless of income earned; some big earners save and are in minimal debt whereas other big earners are in huge amounts of debt because they are living up to the lifestyle- and more) Similarly, for lower or mid income earners; I believe that the majority are in some sort of debt and living beyond their means.
When we get a pay rise how easily do we slip into having a bit more surplus cash and live up to and beyond again? Money just lubricates life and makes the big bills and unexpected costs easier. We can easily incorporate each increase in income into our lives- no problem! :p 😆
It is so much harder to go the other way when income drops! It is the niceties and luxury items that get dropped first; then some of the necessities too….. :jawdrop:
Part of the reason we are living a simpler life is out of necessity and changed life circumstances but most recently there is choice to live this way. Much of how we feel now was within us before; when we ample incomes and lifestyle. I was very much a part of the consumerism that seems to take people over; bigger and bigger houses and newer and better cars, new clothes all the time; toys, clothes, books for the kids; always going shopping; having coffee, lunches and dinners out but it always felt so empty and plastic. :rip:
I love how we live now; sometimes I still sulk because I canâ€™t get my hair done as often as I used to or complain that the kids need new shoes or that Iâ€™d like to buy more books, magazines and luxuries but mostly I know that we are doing this for our long term benefit. (wealth, health and general well being) The funny thing is that it has given us a sense of who we are without all the hype. We actually sit and laugh at the ads if we watch TV! I know that we are living healthier and happier than ever before. Our enjoyment levels and appreciation at the simple things in life are phenomenal! 😉
Sorry for the long post-! Iâ€™ll write another with some money saving ideas!October 6, 2008 at 4:43 am #372486
Great post Sandi – can’t wait to hear your saving ideas!October 6, 2008 at 5:19 am #372487
if you live like you do not have access to money for unnecessary items it becomes easy to save
like Suz said allocate money for things then when it is gone do not spend
but if you think you have a limited amount to live on it becomes easyOctober 6, 2008 at 6:01 am #372488
This challenge is just what I need. We also have our accounts set up so a set amount goes into a ‘consumables’ account each week for fuel and groceries and spending. Thing is though that even though in theory it should be plenty, we always seem to spend it on the weekend and I might only have $50 left to do the groceries and I have on the odd occasion been known to fill up the car on the old plastic fantastic. So I guess I need to knuckle down. Especially coming up to Chrissy. I’m going to aim for $30 a week.October 6, 2008 at 7:48 am #372489
It is easier to save and live frugally if we make it a conscious choice and flow with it; not fight it; if you think itâ€™s going to be hard; or impossible; then it probably will be. Think positively.
I read somewhere in a â€˜wealth knowledgeâ€™ type book that we should pay ourselves first. It really does make so much sense! (Not for luxuries….. but yes for savings and necessities.)
I do it to the extent that I allocate a minimum grocery amount out of our pay account first and then pay bills and other costs. My reasoning for this is that we need to eat. Sometimes we can spend more than the initial allocated amount but at least weâ€™re assured of eating!!
* If you can allocate anything for savings do it before you pay the bills not after. Even $5 a week soon adds up.
* Donâ€™t make savings an option but choose a mimimum amount to put away that you commit to saving each pay – no matter what! Therefore, make it a do-able amount. If you have a pay that has leave loading or extra commissions, or you just have less bills due, then put away more and feel even better for that!
* Consider your savings as spent money. Itâ€™s gone! You cannot access it except for the original purpose. Our minds are amazing! and we can convince ourselves very easily that we really need that gorgeous pair of shoes, lawnmower, book…. and that we have $X put away and …..you could save again for that extra mortgage payment; farm quad, bread maker, solar hot water service, permaculture course, etc.
* Budget, budget, budget………….. Thereâ€™s nothing like knowing when your bills are coming in and approx. how much theyâ€™re going to be. If you have a car registration due start putting a little bit away for it earlier. Put it into a separate account or piggy bank. Allocate your groceries, your savings amount, your mortgage payment, credit card payment, and any other regular payments I find internet banking brilliant for this as I can move money around without having to go into town. I pay about 99% of our bills with BPay.
* Watch it grow! Graph it- roughly on the whiteboard in the kitchen, or on the â€˜puta. Print it out occasionally and put it up where you can see it. Add a picture of the purchase youâ€™re saving for…..
* It helps to put some aside for each utility or bill each pay. Add up your previous yearâ€™s electricity or gas account for example and average a monthly or weekly amount. Pay this amount each pay cycle into your separate account or just pay some off your account via BPay or Post BPay. A lot of retirees work in a similar system where they pay a small amount off each utility/bill each week or alternate between several different ones so; phone, gas and insurance this week; electricity, mobile phone, credit card payment next week. When the account comes, you have cleared most of the accrued usage already and if youâ€™ve been frugal with your usage of say electricity for example you may even come out with a small credit (Doesnâ€™t that feel good?) I have no mobile reception at our new place and was still on a $100/month plan! I changed to a $19.00 per month plan. Shop around for good deals and deals that suit your circumstances. I now pay off $20 per month and in 19 months time I will have a â€˜freeâ€™ bill! I know it is only a small amount but the feeling of a credit bill is wonderful!
* I donâ€™t mess with any repayments to do with banks; i.e. mortgage payments, other loan repayments, or credit card payments; these are the ones that will hurt you if you miss a payment or pay less than minimum repayments (because they will charge you late fees and extra interest on you overdue amount.) Utilities on the other hand will happily give you an extension if you are strapped that week/month. They tend to be understanding and will generally offer a payment plan or you just tell them how long you need. If you let them know that for example – â€˜your commission didnâ€™t come inâ€™ or you had a â€˜huge unexpected accountâ€™ they are happy to help you out. Itâ€™s the people that donâ€™t pay or have no intention of paying that they are concerned about.
* Another wealth book I read suggests never paying the minimum on any account (except for a one off or tradesman type account.) Always round up even if it is just 5c! This is for more of an emotive reason… It feels good to pay more than you have to; it means you must have the means to do so; setting up a positive feeling. There is nothing worse than feeling broke!!!!! 🙁
* Also, donâ€™t stress about money. Itâ€™s just money! Yes, it makes the world go round and lubricates life beautifully but itâ€™s just money! What is the absolute worst that can ever happen? I guess that would be bankruptcy? Ok if life got that low what would you do? Youâ€™d pick yourself up; dust yourself off and have another go!
* A lot of the worldâ€™s richest people didnâ€™t arrive at their current position without a few failings and more than some of them have been broke and some even bankrupt!
Be kind to yourself. Everyone needs a treat sometimes but if you’re saving make the treats smaller- just a coffee out with friends instead of lunch! Or lunch monthly instead of weekly! Learn to say no!
HAPPY SAVINGS! I’m in for this month’s $100 challenge!October 6, 2008 at 7:52 am #372490
I’m trying to work out our budget by picking a yearly income that is less than we already earn. We then transfer a set amount to the credit card to pay the bills and take a set amount out the bank each week. Then whatever is left in the bank at the end of the month gets transferred into an offset account against our home loan – which is where our home loan payments come out of – and it is usually more than we need to pay each month which means that as the offset account balance grows our interest payments are reduced and we end up paying more off the principle!! I have only been trying this for a couple of months and it is hard going but we have just put our cards away after the weekly cash withdrawl and things are going better.
Hopefully by the end of the year we should be well on our way to being debt free and then we will be in a good position to look at rainwater tanks etc etc. Mind you we did just get solar put on and added to our home loan but we all agreed to that one with the rebates being as they were.
Apart from that I am still trying to sqeeze savings out of our budget by revving up the veg garden, no ‘poo and other idea’s from this site, doing quite well considering!!
Look forward to hearing your savings idea’s.
Vicky:clap:October 6, 2008 at 9:22 am #372491
Hi everyone, thought I would add to this great challenge just what I needed as I have wondered from my track. I have plastic bank bags labelled with all the utilities, rates, car rego, school fees etc and I divided the years estimated tallies by 52 weeks so each week I put said amount into each bag and when bills etc arrive I usually have enough to pay. i even have bags for each of our birthday money and a gift allowance bag. Seems to work well however we have been a bit stretched buy vet bill due to one of our dogs fracturing her leg after hours and then required a pin to be inserted and weeks of rehab, but all ended well except balance but we have nearly recovered.
I am a single parent with a mortgage who works full-time and does not receive maintenance etc so I know how important getting the money thing right is. So with both of my girls i am trying to start them young, even when they get their pocket money they split it into 3. 1/3 goes to spending, 1/3 to saving for special things and the other 1/3 goes into to their money tree not to be touched. They apply this to all extra money they get. My eldest girl recently got a part time job only a few hours per week as she has been unwell for over 3 years and splits her money the same way and was surprised to see how quickly seemingly small amounts add up. She was particularly proud when she realised that she had saved more than her friend who had been working much longer and more hours per week. Her friend asked her to share her secret and is also trying it now.
I think we might aim for $20 per week.:DOctober 6, 2008 at 9:41 am #372492
What is the call out cost for a plumber? I saved that much today by repairing our leaky toilet instead of calling in help. I feel like Super Woman!
The toilet had been leaking for a long time, but worsened overnight and water was POURING into the bowl. It needed to be fixed today and after a bit of research I decided to have a go.
Knowing nothing about cisterns it took me a long time to figure it all out, but I managed to replace two separate rubber thingamies which did the trick…and all for less than $2.
I’ve saved money, water, my sanity (the noise was driving my bonkers) and gained some useful knowledge along the way. Go me!
:metal:October 6, 2008 at 11:03 am #372493
they split it into 3. 1/3 goes to spending, 1/3 to saving for special things and the other 1/3 goes into to their money tree not to be touched.
Well done wigwam! what a wonderful savings plan you have instilled in your girls! You must be so proud of them both! :clap: :clap: and well done for having your act together too! Being a single mum isn’t easy! :clap: :hug: :clap:
and Noodle… what can I say?
I decided to have a go…….I’ve saved money, water, my sanity (the noise was driving my bonkers) and gained some useful knowledge along the way. Go me!
GO GIRL!!! :clap: :clap: It gives you such a sense of satisfaction to do a job like that by yourself.
When I was on my own (with 3 young kids) after my first marriage broke up I was so proud of myself and my new found indepence when I fixed thngs on my own! All sorts of things; even just making decisions. It took me a long time to start relying on my new DH but now I have no trouble at all asking for his help! 😉 😆October 6, 2008 at 12:11 pm #372494
Some great information here – well done to Noodle! I think at plumber call out rates, you have nailed this challenge on the first day!:clap: It is generally cheaper to fix things yourself if you can, and you can learna new skill at the same time.
Sandi, thanks for your wonderful posts!
I have made it through today without spending any money – around several people at work who said “Oh there is nothing in the fridge, I have to shop”. I felt pretty happy with my stockpile today, and happy not to go anywhere but home after work.October 6, 2008 at 12:39 pm #372495
Rene and JohnMember
I have been a budget queen for about 19 years, which was when DD number 1 was born. I wouldnt know how to live without my budget now but the challenge to save another $100 is one I’ll take up, Im sure I can find another way to tweak things just that bit more.
My first budget was an envelope style. Things were very tight & I needed to be able to make the money go a long way & so had to account for every dollar.
I worked out what each utility cost on average added a few more dollars & then divided it so that I was taking out a small ammount each fortnightly pay. I did this for everything, clothes, doctors visits, b’days, xmas, insurance, car rego & drivers lic & the list goes on. I took a calculator shopping for about a month & then worked out how much I needed to set aside for that too. I also allowed a bit for what I called “spending”, which was money to use for entertainment or to blow however we wanted, although it usually always went on the children for treats & excursions etc. Once the money was put into its allocated spot I deemed it “already spent” & only dug into it for the required bill payment. Doing it this way meant that I always had the money to pay my bills when they arrived without leaving me short any one week or fortnight. Any left over money out of each pay went into “savings” for a rainy day or a holiday. I kept a note book with each week/fortnights budget written down & a running tally of how much should be in each envelope, adjusting the tally when bills were paid or money was taken out to buy a b’day pressie. So i always knew where every dollar went:o now that Ive explained it, it sounds kinda obsessive really, but as I said money was very tight for a while.
Over the years Ive changed it a bit Im still pretty strict but now I leave the money in the bank. I still write down what the budget is, but it rarely changes from week to week so I have the one “budget” written at the front of the notebook & still keep a running tally of money that Ive got aside for each bill, but Im not as fanatical about it these days. I move money around between the allocated lots depending on how our bills are tallying up & we dont spend more than what we’re “allowed to”.
I pay my bills with a smile & always take silent note about how grateful I am for the convieniences they supply me with. The money goes out, but it always comes in too & Im alot more relaxed about it now that Im not quite so fanatical.
Never the less, like I said before, I wouldnt know how to not live with a budget.October 6, 2008 at 9:22 pm #372496
im in, i try to put something away every week sometimes its $5 sometimes its more but i will start fresh for October & as last weeks pay was in october ill start with the $30 i had put away
thanks for the challenge:hug:
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