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My mission to cut costs in a serious way started with this homemade face scrub post and that’s when I realised I’m not alone, you guys are looking for ways to cut costs without impacting quality of life, too.
One of my missions this year is to grab this money bull by the horns and own it, once and for all. I thought it might be helpful to share this adventure of ours with you, even though it feels funny talking about money!
In this post I’m sharing some of the things that have worked for us so far and some general things I’m hoping will help in the future. Is it a good time for you to look at cutting costs?
I’d hate for you to think these ideas are solutions for everyone, as we all have such individual needs and circumstances. This is why I’d love to hear some of your cost cutting ideas in the comments below. It would help us novices out a lot!
You see, money management is not something I naturally lean towards – even though my mother is an accountant – but I know it’s a big part of a beautiful life that doesn’t cost the earth.
I need to grow my own antennae for knowing where the money goes to give us the freedom to live the lives we want. To do that, I have a big learning curve ahead. There’s a reason I have the mantra – numbers are my friend.
Where we start
I feel incredibly lucky to be in the situation we’re in. Our boys have minimal health issues now, we have family and friends, we have a roof over our head and we are both very, very fortunate to have fulfilling careers, but it hasn’t always been that way and may not be in the future.
This is the reason we started thinking about our personal pillars of life and I encourage you to think about your own, too, it’s a fantastic navel-gazing, ahem, planning exercise. There is one area that I feel really weak. What are your areas of strength and weakness? Where would you like to end up?
1. Family and friends
2. Health and exercise
3. Career, path or quest
4. Spirituality and creativity
Don’t let money own you
I always wince at number 5. Money is my weakest link and it just makes me feel uncomfortable. I don’t want it to own me like that anymore. I want to get to a space where I’m comfortable and don’t really have to worry about it. I think with a bit of luck and whole lot of hard work we can get there, so we can continue to build a beautiful life (and go on lots more adventures!)
I’ve heard rumours that it’s possible to develop a healthy relationship with money, so it’s a part of the machine of life and it’s easier to sleep at night when you know all the cogs are in place (and not copping late fees for the water bill).
The Paleo Money Diet
A considered life seems to fit with our evolution. I mean back in the bad old cave days I’m sure Neanderthal ladies and gentlemen partied on down when there was plenty, but saving and storing soon became a focus. It just seems to fit with our nature to feel most comfortable when our savings are in order.
If you’re already on this beautiful life that doesn’t cost the earth adventure with me, you’re probably already doing a lot and you might be pleasantly surprised to find out how much you’re already saving.
My role model for this is my frugal grandfather and all the amazing adventures he had, while managing to accrue investments. He wasn’t a perfect man, but he was Master Frugal and when he died he was able to fund schools for indigenous kids. I find his vision so inspiring. Do you have a role model or a grand plan?
Our big 7 cost cuts so far
- Buying less stuff
I no longer browse online or in shops, I always start with a list and have become very suspicious when advertising says, ‘You deserve this.’ Do I deserve going into debt for this? As an ex-shopping-lover, I know this sounds harsh, but it’s true – everything comes with a price. It also helps that I have a toddler and am physically unable to browse – feel free to borrow him next time you’re heading to the shops 😉 I think buying less will also save us money down the track, because we have less to maintain and store.
- Reducing my credit card limit to the minimum.
I was tempted to cut up my credit card, but first I want to see if I’m disciplined enough to leave our safety net savings alone (baby steps, baby!) In the meantime, I can now afford to pay off the credit card every month and accrue a lot less interest.
- Make cleaning products
There’s not much that vinegar and bicarb can’t clean (although you don’t want to pre-mix them – read this post for the reason why). I used to spend $4 a week on spray cleaner (and the rest), whereas vinegar costs $1 for a bottle twice the size. Making clothes washing powder and wool wash can save a lot, too. And don’t get me started on the chemicals you avoid…
- Rolling all my super into one account
This is part of the long term game plan, but I was losing a lot of money having all my super spread out in different accounts, so I rolled it into one.
This is something I’m really passionate about, because I’m horrified by the difference between the retirement funds that women end up with, compared to men. It’s not just because women take time off work for caring roles. Difference in pay rates and other factors come into play too. It’s something we really need to pay more attention to.
CareSuper, the lovely sponsors for this post, have some great information on good ways to make the most of your super. They also support the Carbon Disclosure Project and the environment (Terms and conditions apply to any product you consider).
- Making beauty products
This one body scrub costs next to nothing to make and probably saves me $60 a year.
- Menu plans, including lunches and left over day
Leftover day is essential in all menu plans, because life can get in the way of the best laid plans. This is where you eat what’s in the fridge or cupboard and minimise the risk of throwing food out. It’s a great opportunity to get creative. I love Sarah Wilson’s leftover frittata idea.
- Reduce heating and cooling costs
There are some clever ways to cut the heating and cooling cost of the home. It’s not rocket science but it can have a big impact.
The areas we need to look at:
- The thing I need to get back into is walking and bike riding everywhere, I can. This will keep me and the planet healthier and cut fuel and car costs, too. This has slipped lately. I’d love to get rid of our car completely, but we also love adventuring and getting out into the middle of nowhere and a car makes that possible.
- We also want to look at our mortgage to see if there is money to be saved there.
- Set up a budgeting and savings method that actually works for us!!!
I’m curious do you use a savings or budgeting method or app? What cost cuts have I missed?