If, like me, you grew up in the Australia in the 60s and 70s, you’re certain to have seen the lovable but bumbling Secret Agent # 86, known as Maxwell Smart, as the star of the regular Get Smart TV series. And for the younger ones amongst us, I think most of our generation X and Y’s will have probably seen Agent 86 in the fantastic Hollywood movie of the same name. So if you’ve seen Max in action, I’m sure you’ll agree that he certainly wasn’t the smartest agent on the CONTROL team, but even someone as blundering as our favourite CONTROL agent could benefit from these Get Smart Savings Tips.
Get Smart Savings Tips
Avoid Impulse Buying
The most important risk to your budget is the tendency to buy without thinking. Therefore, instead of spending impulsively, try saving impulsively. It’s a great practice to get into and it works like this: Whenever you change your mind about buying something, add the money you would have impulsively spent to your savings account or mortgage.
Ask For Discounts
Always ask for a discount before you buy. You’d be amazed to discover most sales people and managers are happy to provide you with a 5 to 10% discount to secure your purchase. All you have to do is ask.
Travel For Less
To save up to 50% on your holiday, try travelling the month before or after peak season. The weather is still good and the prices are great. Call airlines and hotels six months in advance to find out when prices change, and check out the huge range of great deals online to find fantastic offers for saving money on holidays, flights, hotels, entertainment and more.
Reduce Your Food Bill
Groceries are one of the more flexible items in a family budget. You can easily cut your food bills by 10% to 30% just by putting into practice the following easy tips. Try these and experience the impact these savings have on your budget.
- Take a Grocery Shopping List and Stick to It
- Try to Grocery Shop Only Once a Week
- Cook at Home More Often
- Start Meal and Menu Planning
- Use Supermarket Coupons and Offers
- Take Advantage of Sales and Reduced Items
- Shop for Weekly Specials
- Bulk Buy Non Perishable Items
- Buy Supplier Direct, Online or Wholesale
Be Smart When Buying Items that Depreciate
Buying a new car is a perfect example of this as you’ll overpay at least 20% on a new car. Once a new car is perceived as second hand, its value decreases dramatically. However, there is nothing wrong with buying a car that is 12 to 18 months old. Research shows these cars are usually the best value for money, because you are not paying a premium price for a brand new car, but the likelihood is it will still run as well as a new car…it simply makes good sense.
Buy Second-Hand, Pre-Loved Goods
Don’t look down on second-hand goods—everything is second-hand once it leaves the shop. You can make huge savings by purchasing near new items of furniture, electrical goods, exercise equipment and more through Gumtree, eBay, second hand shops, garage sales and local markets.
Plan for Christmas and Other Special Occasions in Advance
Join a Christmas Club at your bank or set up a special account and put a fixed amount of money away each week. For those of you who overspend at Christmas time, ask yourself the question, would the people you’re shopping for really want you to buy these gifts if they knew the financial hardship it would cause you?
Always Try To Buy on Sale
Everything goes on sale eventually. Try to make your purchases based on when prices are lowest. For example, bathers are cheap in winter and jumpers are cheap in summer and there are always post-Christmas sales. Be an intelligent shopper and save.
Day care and baby-sitters can become expensive. Consider sharing the load with your friends and family and perhaps work out a schedule where you look after their children one day a week and they look after yours the next.
Car and Petrol
To minimise your car and petrol expenses, car pool with colleagues and friends or consider walking or riding your bike instead of taking the car for short trips. Also, if you can, park your car at the train or bus station and catch public transport. As well as protecting the environment, using public transport also means you will avoid expensive parking fees.
Most banks pay about the same interest on savings accounts. The important distinction among banks has to do with the fees you pay for services and the minimum balances required to avoid such fees. Bank fees can add up quickly, so shop around to make sure you’re getting the best deal.
Maximise Taxable Deductions and Minimise Non-Tax Deductible Items
With tax taking a big slice of your income, it is wise to make a point of legally minimising tax. It is up to you in conjunction with your accountant or financial advisor to arrange your affairs to maximise the items that can be deducted. As it pays to decrease any part of your spending that is not tax deductible. If you can do this it is equivalent to getting a pay rise. They say a cent saved is worth nearly 2 cents earned.
These tips to cut your spending can literally save you thousands of dollars each year. Remember it’s not usually the big expenses that matter the most, it’s the little expenses. Think about it… how many big expenses do you have? Not many. Yet you have a lot of little expenses which add up every day to big ongoing costs.
Go for gold with your savings Champions,