The year is coming to an end (not a minute sooner apparently), and you’re thinking about how you barely kept up with 2016’s resolutions, much less accomplished them.
That extra weight you wanted to lose, that new skill you wanted to pick up, the cutting of “friends” from your Facebook list; all faded away as you realised you couldn’t meet your expectations.
You couldn’t keep up with your yoga routine, you didn’t have the talent for photography as much as you thought you did, you have less Facebook friends but are following more random Instagram accounts. You’re not alone. I know how it feels to end 2016 no better than we did the previous year.
Don’t fret though. The trick with resolutions, is to not create year long ones. Keep it simple. Make it tangible. If you can’t measure it, it’s not a very good resolution.
One thing you can measure, is money. And if you’re anything like me, that’s one important resolution for every year to come.
Here are 11 hacks to save money in 2017:
5 dollar jar
This is a twist on the good old change jar. You have all those coins you get as change and you dump them in a jar, a box, a butter cookie tin can; while some houses have random bowls next to the TV, like pots of gold and copper to the sounds of $1 and 5 cent coins.
We’ve all done this. I’m not too sure how beneficial this is, unless you have a taxi driver as a family member, then you’re the lucky ones who get to see those coins converted to notes pretty often.
So, this coming year, how about we up the stakes and make them $5 instead?
Spend cash instead of credit
There is a tendency to spend via credit cards because they offer conveniences and many benefits that aren’t provided to cash use. Reasons can range from the need to purchase big ticket items online, to sexy rebates offered by competing credit card companies. I know I sometimes use them simply because I’m too lazy to bring cash with me.
However, credit cards have this demonic ability to make you think you have more disposable income that you actually do. You end up buying things you barely need with false confidence.
If you find that you:
- Have credit card debt
- Make small purchases from independent businesses
- Don’t pay bills on time
- Are a shopaholic
…it’s best to use cash.
I can hear you saying “but” from across the screen.
If you face the above conditions but you don’t like dealing with cash and coins OR you need to purchase something online, go DEBIT. No excuses.
If you have to use credit cards, use them wisely!
Ok, fine, you’re about to make a purchase via credit card because it doesn’t make sense to buy airline tickets or pay at a restaurant with cash.
Make sure that you own the correct credit card for your usual consumption.
Avid traveller? Get a credit card that gives you the best for your miles.
Need to entertain clients? Get a credit card that caters to your rebates when you’re out dining.
Drive a lot? Get the best credit card catering to points for your mileage.
And the one credit card every parent needs would be the one with rebates for grocery shopping.
All you gotta do is study your options and pick the best.
Click the next page to check out more of the 11 hacks to save money in 2017…
Shop online by using discount and promo codes
I’m not going to stop you from spending online. Rather, let’s turn that expenditure into a positive thing. For 2017, if you HAVE to shop, make it a habit to shop at places that offer discounts and rebates. Squeeze your every dollar!
Here are my favourite coupon/ deal/ rebate sites:
- The Entertainer: Has 1 for 1 offers for restaurants, beauty salons, health & fitness, leisure activities and many more, all year long!
- Shopback: Get discounts from over 300 stores, plus Cashback. This means when you spend online through Shopback, they give you a portion of your purchase as Cash.
- Cuponation: They collate deals from other sites and offer discount codes for different websites. You just gotta keep an eye on the right deals
Make breakfast and coffee at home
Source: Starbucks.com/ Under The Angsana Tree
It doesn’t seem like a lot but oh boy, does it make a difference.
I personally like my coffee local, so that’s $1.60 for kopi peng every morning (I know, I shouldn’t even be drinking cold things in the morning but hey, one step at a time!)
There are approximately 22 working days in a month = $35.20 if I have ONE cup a day.
Let’s face it, that ain’t happening! So 2 cups a day = $70 (plus minus) JUST on coffee.
Cheaper local coffee too mind you. Admit it, there are many of you who can’t take local coffee and would go for a Starbucks or a flat white, so that’s a gazillion dollars in savings.
For 2017, let’s invest on a coffee maker and a thermos to make our own coffee everyday. Or better yet, cut down on it altogether. Saves you the heart palpitations and eye-twitching come 5 pm.
Carousell it! Buy and sell second-hand instead of new
Source: Carousell app
Gone are the days whereby getting things brand new is a must and anything lesser, is well, lesser.
There is nothing wrong with buying preloved goods. In fact, there are certain things that you most certainly could benefit from financially, if you purchase them 2nd hand. A few examples are refurbished gadgets from Apple; designer items (shoes, bags etc) from legitimate sites like Reebonz. You can also find baby items, video games, books from apps like Carousell.
Make the conscientious effort to get 2nd hand goods and/ or sell your own mint items on Carousell to earn extra bucks. I for one, always buy 2nd hand video games for my kid as the prices are slashed by half. They are in perfect condition as previous owners would not need it anymore after finishing the games.
You’re thinking, what is this ‘No-Spend Days’? How is it even possible?
It is meant to be a planned itinerary and not something ad hoc.
For eg: Make sure you picked up full groceries before the weekend, and have a no-spend day where you bring your own food. You shouldn’t be tempted to buy anything as you pass by stores. If you force yourself to do this only one day per week, you’ll look back the next week and realise it’s not so brutal. Just like any training, you can work your way up the amount of days of no spending declared.
Continue on to the next page to see the rest of the 11 hacks to save money in 2017…
Earn money by inviting friends to join apps
Source: Airbnb/ Grab/ Uber websites
Sharing is caring. Touché. But truly, in this case, sharing also gets you some sweet moolah, thanks to referral systems in companies like Uber, Grab, Airbnb etc.
All you have to do is ‘Invite’ your friends via your Invite link and they will receive a discount off their first experience and you will receive a code when your friend completes said experience. Uber and Grab also have frequent promotional periods where fares are dramatically reduced. Subscribe to them to get updates!
Think cookie jar. You can’t put your hands on the cookies unless you’re told to do so (usually as a reward).
This is something like that. Except, the cookies are money, and the jar is an envelope.
If you have budgeted $600 a month for groceries, you put in $600 cash in an envelope labelled ‘Groceries’. You don’t use that money for anything else and you don’t use other money for groceries. Got it?
You can have multiple envelopes for kids expenses, food, travel, you name it. You just have to stick to it.
My advice: It takes practice. You may fail quite miserably at the beginning. It is okay.
Cook in bulk and plan your meals
Sure, cooking can be a hassle and sometimes, we just don’t have the time to make multiple dishes for different age group of kids.
Since we can’t eliminate cooking, why not alter it to make our lives easier. Introducing batch cooking
You’ll be saving money in no time.
Cut out one monthly recurring cost
This is my favourite because I hate bills. Take a look at this list and see which recurring cost you can cut out:
Internet/ Mobile Phone Subscriptions: I have multiple of these to cater to an entire household an unhealthy amount of gadgets. If you face the same predicament, let’s review all of them for 2017 and terminate those no longer needed. Think of the satisfaction when you get to say, “I don’t need you anymore”.
Groceries: If you find that you top up your groceries mid week, check your receipts and minus off items you don’t need til the next month. You’ll find that you don’t require so many trips.
Gym: This is an ambitious commitment but most of us may find that we don’t have the time to truly maximise gym memberships. Why not get fit with HIIT videos, skipping, running or vertical challenges instead. They are free and you’d save commute time!
Takeout: I get it, we are tired from tending to the kids and sometimes, we simply have no energy to cook. However, eating out can add up no matter how much we think we’re saving electricity for cooking and water for cleaning. So, save the take outs for occasions and cook smarter with easier recipes and prepare them in bulk.
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Sources: Business Insider, Simply Her, Dave Ramsey, BBCgoodfood