By trying to have ‘one less’ of something, you effectively reduce your spending, bit by bit, resulting in large long term savings.
Saving money can seem like a daunting and overwhelming task. Trimming the fat from your budget, taking an axe to your expenses and finding ways to slow spending while increasing your savings can be good in theory, but in reality it can be tricky and demotivating for your long term goals.
While I believe anyone can save money, regardless of their income or experience, how you approach your money saving methodology is the key to success. You want a savings plan that is sustainable, secure and effective in achieving your goals.
Financial planners and advisors can often create elaborate schemes to save money, but what very few of them tell you is that you don’t have to make huge changes to recast significant savings back into your bank account.
Making small changes that save money across most sectors of your life will yield the most effective results to your long term savings goals than any other thing.
A great way to start is with the ‘one less savings policy’ that sees you have ‘one less’ of particular things in a given time period, allowing you to save the money instead.
Here are some suggestions for where you could start having one less.
Have one less haircut a year
Hairdressers and media have had us convinced that six-weekly haircuts are a necessity. They are paramount to the health of our hair. An article in the Sydney Morning Herald recently suggested this was not in fact true, and that our hair could well do with fewer cuts.
Why not try and stretch your haircuts out to 8 weeks, effectively equalling one less haircut a year.
Savings for women; Up to $300 a year. Savings for men; up to $60 a year.
Have one less takeaway/meal out per week
You might only head out with your mates for dinner once a week, or spend some quality time with your partner at your favourite local eatery on a Sunday night, but chances are you eat out more often than you realise, without even thinking about it.
Alternatively, keep the romantic date, but lose the lunch time at the local sushi place.
You will potentially save $60 a week, which amounts to $3,120 a year
One less shopping outing per month
Across the genders, we all spend a lot of money on non-essential items. We might spend our money on different things, but we all tend to do a little retail therapy. Work out when you tend to hit the shops – I have a Wednesday predilection for a bit of spending, because I get paid on Wednesdays and it’s the only time of the week that the reality of a savings plan isn’t reflected in my bank account. Maybe you’re a Thursday night shopper, or like a stroll through on a Saturday morning.
To begin with, just consciously stay once a month. Miss out on a Saturday morning at the shops, go to the park instead. It’s about bringing thoughtfulness back into our automatic spending habits. Remove the temptation and save money.
It could save you a few hundred dollars a year (or more!).
Each grocery shop, remove one item from your trolley
Each week when you do your grocery shopping, find one thing in your trolley prior to checkout and put it back. Some may argue that nothing but ‘essentials’ arrive in their trolley, but I can assure you; no matter how good you are at grocery shopping, finding one less item to buy a week is easy.
Whether it’s a wheel of brie cheese you don’t really need or a bottle of sparkling mineral water that is not really vital (given we have tap water) – the savings will add up.
One less visit to the supermarket per week
I live just down the road from a supermarket, so doing a weekly shop is not something I consider (even though it is key to saving money). And I spend a lot of extra money because of it. You might not be in the mental zone yet to get to the shops only once a week, but consciously cut down on your trips. Don’t head in on the weekends, make sure you have everything you need by Friday afternoon. It’s just about changing our habits, which eventually is reflected in our hip pockets.
One less credit card swipe a week
Lots of people don’t use credit cards, or don’t use them frequently. Should you be someone who uses them a lot, think about switching to cash once a day, or paying for Friday night movie tickets with a debit, not a credit card. We spend less if it’s not delayed financial pain, and it’s a habit that will prevent you starting to rely on the ol’ zip zip.
Given the annual amount of interest Australian’s are charged, I wouldn’t be surprised if this could save you well over $100 a year or more.
One less taxi per year
Next time you are about to catch a cab, opt to use public transport instead. Often we look to taxis after a few drinks or when we are tired; set yourself a goal to take one less taxi a year and save the money instead.
One less minute in the shower
Many people shower for extended periods of time; it’s a real first world perk and it is costing you money. Why not try and make a point of showering for one minute less every day and estimate how much it saves you over the course of a year.
One less soft drink a week
Soft drink isn’t good for you no matter how you spin it. It’s expensive and terrible for your health. Try to have one less soft drink a week and save the money elsewhere or use it to repay a debt.
At $3.50 a week, that is nearly $200 a year in savings.
One less shampoo a week
Wash your hair every second day, not daily. It will double the life of your expensive shampoos and conditioners. This has the potential to save hundreds a year for a big family and tests have often proved that daily hair washing isn’t good for you.
What are some of your ideas for the ‘one less’ savings policy?
Tell us in the comments below your suggestions on the one less savings policy. Any big ideas that could help us save money?