When I decided to tackle our finances head-on earlier this year, there were a few simple things I tried to get us on track.
These are not necessarily going to bring in the big bucks, but making a few small changes made me feel more in control of the situation and more mindful of our money flow.
Simplify and sell
Gumtree and eBay have become my best friends. There were some tricky moments along the way, but I’ve been able to make (or recoup) almost $2,000 by selling things we no longer need.
This started out by selling furniture we wouldn’t need to bring with us to Queensland, like the extra IKEA storage that was essential in our tiny inner-west Sydney house. I also tried to give away as much as possible so we would have less to move.
Despite the extra space in our Gold Coast house, when we arrived I realised I really enjoyed reducing the amount of stuff we had. I started to notice a lot of other things I could sell or give away. It takes a bit of time and effort to put the ads together and then to package and post the items (if required), but at the end of the day – there’s more cash in the bank and less stuff in the house.
Little by little, I feel like I’m decluttering and simplifying our life, reducing our material possessions and improving our cash flow. I’ve also been looking into how decluttering can improve your state of mind and even increase prosperity or abundance.
Reduce monthly expenses
I honestly didn’t realise how much I could shave off our expenses just by making a few phone calls and really assessing what we use.
I investigated our car and contents insurance and found out we could be more than $50 per month better off by changing providers. So, I did.
Despite my husband’s protests, we cancelled Foxtel – saving another $50 per month.
I had already switched health insurance to get a lower rate a couple of years ago and this was still a good policy, so I made sure I’d claimed everything we were entitled to and found another $25 here.
I realised I was paying monthly account fees on one of my bank accounts, so I went into the bank and they refunded several months worth of fees for me, which felt like a great win.
There’s a lot more you can do – especially with phone and internet providers. I am planning on giving this a go when my phone contract is due for renewal.
Try online grocery shopping
At first, I tried switching to ALDI, which was great and cut the bill significantly, but having a newborn (and a ‘threenager’) means doing the grocery shop in person is far more challenging than it used to be. So, I decided to give the online way a try. It took me a few weeks to really get the hang of navigating the site and finding the specials, but now I like it.
Doing the shopping online means I’m more disciplined about what I buy, I can easily see which items are really racking up my spend each week and work around these or remove them, and I can set an amount and stick to it.
I shop with Coles because I think their FlyBuys reward system works well for us. There is a delivery fee, which is not ideal – but I think the reduction in time and effort is well worth it.
A word of warning, though: it’s really important to have a clear list when you grocery shop online, otherwise you end up heading into the shop for the items you miss. This still happens to me if I haven’t planned the week’s meals thoroughly. See this post by Stacey Clare for some tips on meal planning.
Reuse and recycle
Kids constantly need clothes to fit their rapidly growing size. Luckily, we’ve been given a lot of clothes for our kids, either new or pre-loved from family and friends. I recently received a giant parcel post pack in the mail from a friend who sent some beautiful baby girl clothes that had been her daughter’s. It absolutely made my day and saved me from spending more money on outfits for the baby!
We have also started a bit of a toy recycling circle in our extended family where the age-appropriate toys are passed on to whoever has a child of the right age. It works so well and means we are all saving money and keeping the kids entertained.