finance

"Eat out for breakfast, not dinner" and 7 other freakishly effective ways to save $$$.

You know what makes me happy? Among my friends, being thrifty has become synonymous with being a ‘Fierce Girl’.

Bought that top half price? Fierce Girl.

Only bought drinks in happy hour? Fierce Girl.

Bought your Christmas earrings for $2 in the New Year sales last year? Yep, me – being a Fierce Girl.

It’s fair to say I can be a massive tight-arse. I buy marked-down veggies that only have a few days left in them. I shop at Aldi and buy cleanskin wine from Dan Murphy. I buy my underwear from Best & Less – and only when the Bonds range is on sale.

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Make it happen, ladies.

(Although I am happy to spend on things that I believe are worthwhile – things I have considered, weighed up and decided I want to allocate my funds to).

This is all part of mindful spending (which you should totes check out here if you missed it). Because the fact is, every dollar you don’t spend, is a dollar you don’t have to earn.

Amazing right? That concept blew my mind when I heard it. Instead of busting your arse for a pay-rise, you could just stop donating hundreds of dollars to the baristas and bartenders of the city.

Anyway, it has become apparent to me that not everyone is good at being a tight-arse. So, with a little help from my friend Gigi (who is an accountant and tight-arse from way back), I give you a random selection of ways to be a Fierce Girl spender.

1. Consider the total cost, not just the purchase price.

Here’s an example: you see flights for a hundred bucks and decide it’s a bargain way to have a mini-break in another city. But have you added the cost of cabs to and from the airport? All the breakfasts and lunches and dinners? The accommodation? I’m not saying don’t go ahead, but don’t forget to factor in the whole cost when you make a plan.

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2. Make your sober self be frugal, so that drunk you can party.

As Gigi says, ‘there is the primary cost of alcohol, and the secondary cost of all the shit you buy when you’re drunk’. So, start well. Catch public transport on the way to a night out, eat dinner at home, make yourself a starter cocktail at home (my fave is a martini because it only needs three ingredients, including the garnish!). My point is, you don’t need to have a total budget blow-out when you party – you can halve the damage with some planning.

3. Plan your meals and only buy what you need.

I know, this sounds dull and housewifey. But I promise, it will improve your life. You literally need half an hour to sit down and list your meals for the week, and the ingredients you need. Not only does this make you feel like a bad-arse grown-up in control of your life, it also means you try new things as you go through recipe books for ideas. Plus it makes you eat better, duh. Rich AND skinny, bitches!

The ultimate divider - smashed avo and the housing crisis. Post continues... 

4. Go out for breakfast, not dinner.

Dinners are a nice treat once in a while, but they charge you for wine, sides, breathing – pretty much everything. Go out for brunch instead. Not only will you avoid $50 bottles of wine, you can get the most expensive thing on the menu and struggle to spend more than twenty bucks. If you really do love dinner out, create a mental list of BYO venues, because there is no shame in taking your own cleanskin!

5. Think ahead with gifts.

Buy stuff when you see it on sale and think ‘mum would like that’. Even if it’s months ahead – have a present box where you put things aside. Just don’t buy it and forget you bought it and then your niece grows out of it and you have to save it for her little sister. (Not that I have done that).

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It's time to start shopping with purpose. (Source: iStock)
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6. Avoid boredom/emotion/reward shopping.

I know, I might as well tell you to not eat carbs after midday. But you at least need to try this. Gigi and I were discussing this post on WhatsApp, and I just found a line from me: “boredom shopping is the last resort of the unhappily married”. I should know. But any emotional state can lead to buying shit you don’t need. And if you do buy it, keep the receipt and see if you still want it three days later. I guarantee you do not.

7. It’s not a bargain if you don’t need it.

God, I wish I could take back all the ridiculous coloured high-heels, all the crop tops for the nightclubbing I never do, all the homewares I have no room for… anyway, sales are a particular trap for the tight-arses among us. But time has taught me that if I didn’t already have it on a mental list, I don’t need it.

8. Read catalogues.

Seriously. Related to the point above, if there is stuff you know you need, hunt around for it on sale. There are websites like Lasoo which have every sale catalogue online. And if you aren’t in a hurry for it, make a note of it and buy it when you come across it somewhere. And as with the example above, anyone who pays full price for Bonds is a sucker.

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I could go on for a while but I feel like I have already come across like some weird spinster aunt who buys day-old bread (I had those aunts in real life. They died quite wealthy).

All I want to say here is you can do this. You can stop pissing money away and do better things with it. You can be a Fierce Girl.

Got any hot money-saving tips? Leave them in the comments.

This article was originally published on The Fierce Girl's Guide to Finance and was republished here with full permission. To read the original article, go here. You can also follow The Fierce Girl's Guide to Finance on Facebook here.

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