finance

14 women share their money saving hacks that are actually really easy.

Hi, I'm Emma and thanks to a few unexpected charges in recent weeks, I've come to a very cruel realisation. 

Life can be a little really expensive. And coming up against some sizeable bills when you're not prepared for them is about as fun as missing your bus by a few seconds and knowing the next one won't be coming for 45 minutes. 

(That is to say, it's not.) But back to my story. 

Watch: Four money hacks that don't cut out your daily cup of coffee. Post continues after video.


Video via Mamamia.

Last week, I'd booked two tickets to Bali, ordered an express passport (which is way more expensive than you'd think, by the way) and treated myself to all new luggage when I was met with a few painful expenses including:

  • An overdue electricity bill for $50.
  • An urgent laptop repair totalling $720. Yes, really.
  • A parking fine for $270. (Living in Sydney is the biggest scam).
  • A $200 deposit to see a specialist I've been waiting months to see.

It hurt. It hurt a lot. 

But by some miracle, I managed to front all the charges without as much as a little credit intervention. And to me, a 21-year-old in an entry-level job fresh out of uni, I'd say that's something to be proud of. 

Am I running a secret drug mule agency? No, I'm not. 

I'm on something better... money hacks. 

If you've read anything from me before, you might have noticed that I'm all about finding the quickest and easiest way to success.

And you can bet the same goes for my finances. 

So in the spirit of sharing, I thought I would run through a few of my top money saving hacks that made those unexpected charges just a little less stressful. 

I also asked our Mamamia community to hear what they do, because we could really use all the help we can get, right?

Here's what they had to say. 

Side note: Check out Mamamia's money podcast, What the Finance. Post continues below.


Emma.

I'm all about setting myself money "sprints" aka short-term (often week or month long) financial goals that challenge myself to save some cash.

This month, my money goals include buying no new clothes (second hand is allowed), and avoiding reckless spending nights when I'm out. 

To prevent my inevitable overspending on a night out with friends, I will allow myself a predetermined amount of money (e.g. $50) and will take it out in cash.

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Often by the end of the month, I realise that these small goals are not as out of reach as I originally anticipated, and I continue the habits beyond the set time period.

Mikayla.

"I have lots of little rules I use to save money where I can, and I don't know if they actually work, but I am sure they help to some extent. They include:

1. I won't order an Uber over $20. If there is another way of getting home, I get it.

2. Lunch has to be brought to work unless I have absolutely nothing in my fridge.

3. No Uber Eats. Takeout is allowed, I just have to pick it up.

4. My coffee shop does this super fancy oat cold brew, but it's $7. I'm only allowed to get it two days a week and one day on the weekend."

Leah

"I follow a few money saving tricks. They include:

1. Using old make-up rather than doing a Mecca shop.

2. No takeout is allowed. We do toasties on CBF nights.

3. We try to do a 'eat what's in the pantry' once a quarter to stop food going off.

4. I have started searching op shops more than buying new.

5. I recycle all our bottles and the money goes in a jar that we will count up and put in our savings at the end of the year.

6. On random months, we use cash only for everything. It's probably the easiest way to stop unnecessary purchases.

7. I sleep on any purchases over $100. If I don't stop thinking about it, I'll go back and get it, but most of the time I can't be bothered or I forget about it."

Maddie.

"I automate all my money into different accounts! On the day my pay comes in, it will automatically transfer predetermined amounts into my expenses account, savings account, spending account and investment account. It stays the same every month. 

"I use two different cards (one for spending and one for necessary expenses) so I can monitor how much money is going towards 'fun spending' without worrying that I'm going to incur expenses I can't pay for (because it's on a different card). 

"I also have an emergency fund account for unexpected disasters e.g. parking tickets and vet bills."

Katie.

"I just downloaded pocketbook (which is a free money organisation app) that lets you categorise your spending.

"Let me tell you, it has been EYE OPENING. I spent a mammoth amounts on 'gifts' for other people between January and April, and I hadn't even realised. Now I have a gift budget that I'm strict with!"

Jenn.

"I have extra tax withheld from my pay each week, which comes back as a nice payment at the end of each financial year. 

"I also have an automatic deduction from my pay before it lands in my regular account. I send it to a separate account held in a separate bank which I don’t keep an EFTPOS card for. This is my holidays each year sorted."

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Bec.

"Every time I need to get cash out, I get some extra and put it into a money box that cannot be opened without destroying it. Good way to save for something."

Allee.

"I’m not buying clothes this year. I have enough. And I’m unsure what I’ll even wear given I work part time at home, one day in the office. 

"I’m giving myself a year to wear out my clothes and plan on starting from scratch in 2023 when I (hopefully) have more of an idea of what my day to day will look like."

Abbie.

"I pack lunch for work EVERY DAY. I have wasted so much money buying lunch at work! 

"Packing lunch everyday means I have to be organised to meal plan and prep things, but it is super easy once you get into a routine. 

"I get nice things like hot smoked salmon, wraps and salad. It's much cheaper than buying lunch, and much healthier too."

Shelley.

"I have a whole list of money saving hacks that include:

  • Making coffee at home.
  • Grocery shopping only when the fridge/pantry is empty (except the staples).
  • Cooking dinner at home (no takeout).
  • I hate clothes/shoes shopping so I only buy what I need when I need it.
  • Shop around regularly for the best electricity and gas prices.
  • Checking my insurance policies every year to make sure I’m getting the best price.
  • Selling anything not being used.
  • Completing paid online surveys.
  • I only have one streaming service.
  • I dye my own hair.
  • Once a year I write down ALL my expenses and see where I can cut or reduce expenses.

"There is so much more that I do as I love to travel, I want to pay off my mortgage, and I want to retire well. I do all of the above while still living my best life."

Melody.

"I have a feature on my card where whenever you buy anything, it rounds it up to nearest dollar and automatically puts the extra cents into your savings accounts. 

"It's only a few cents here are there, but it all adds up and best of all, it's automatic so you don't even need to think about it."

Katie.

"I think one of the biggest money saving things my family has done is meal planning. 

"We started doing it about six years ago, and it’s a significant money saver. I now can’t imagine life without doing it! 

"We actually started doing it as it took the daily stress of deciding what to have for dinner, but it ended up saving us around $100 each week too.

"My partner and I sit down each week and do a meal plan (mainly for dinner, but some lunches too) and base our shopping list off that. There is very little wastage and then we only have to think about what to eat for dinner once a week."

Claire.

"I use Facebook marketplace for all of my big-ticket items like household and baby stuff and it has saved me thousands. I also do my budget every six months and look at the card statements rather than making guesstimates."

Elise.

"My husband and I have shared a car for years. It allows us to save a lot more money each month because we're not paying for double the insurance/petrol/tolls, etc. It definitely wouldn't work for everyone (especially if you had kids, or both had to drive for work), but it has always worked well for us.

"Also, an Amazon Prime subscription is a life saver around Christmas time. It's $6.99 and you get free shipping plus access to Amazon Prime Video of course."

Feature Image: Mamamia.

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