This is Part 2, the exciting conclusion to How to Transform from a Super Spender into a Super Saver where I fixed 15 budgeting mistakes and saved $12,000+.
I hope you found the 8 tips in Part 1 easy and doable.
Did you try at least one of the tips to get going?
I bet once you get started, you’ll be unstoppable!
In this post, I have 7 more tips that I’ve used to save even more money. Number 10 was one of the biggest drain on our family finances, but for years, I couldn’t see it for what it was.
Do you happen to know what yours is? If you don’t, it’s still not too late.
Start by being honest with yourself.
Some of these may not exactly be the ones you’ve been wasting money on, but don’t worry because they may trigger other similar money-draining activities that you have been doing without realizing it.
Are you ready?
9. Stop buying brand names for stuff like toys.
Lego—the magical word that means the world to most children, at least to my son.
Strategy: Wait. Be patient – be on the lookout for half price deals or specials. I hardly ever paid full price. I managed to save 30-50% on Lego toys over the years.
Our savings: $150 a year
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Another strategy: As my child grew older, he was able to research safe substitute brands that are compatible with Lego bricks.
He bought himself a huge toy ship at a sale with some of his savings because the value it offered was irresistible.
Frankly, I wish I had discovered these brands much earlier.
They offer great value in terms of price, safety and quality.They’re almost as good as Lego and most children will probably never notice the difference anyway.
10. Don’t get carried away by your children’s extra-curricular activities. Moderation is the answer.
Over 5 years, my family spent many thousands on my son’s music. These included music lessons by the main teacher, a chamber music teacher, a theory teacher, pianists’ accompaniment costs, violins, bowsticks, violin cases, accessories, holiday music masterclasses, music festival participation in other parts of the country, concerts, exams, books and so on.
It’s not just about violins and accessories like bowsticks, cases, strings and many other accessories that needed to be changed as our child grew older.
Everything had to be among the best, including the brand of strings used by famous violinsts like Joshua Bell. At any one time, there had to be at least 2 violins and several bowsticks which alone amounted to thousands.
One of his peers, a 12-year-old girl had a German violin which cost $50,000, while others had theirs specially custom-made.
I know, I know – I was totally obsessed. I spent almost all my part-time income on music-related costs alone.
So how did I stop this nonsense?
It wasn’t the financial cost ironically.
It was the psychological stress that resulted from the relentless competition among parents during our children’s concert performances and masterclasses.
The subterfuge by these parents to outwit other competitors, and parents’ skillful maneuvers to win the favors of the highly-sought after music teacher, would have put most secret agents to shame.
Savings: $9000+ ( I had a shock when I saw the final figure.)
Strategy: Go for hobbies that don’t cost the earth. Don’t get carried away like me.
There’s a gifted young man who has an online pop violin course for only $35, if you use his discount coupon (limited to the first 10 places). He was accepted into a music conservatory on a scholarship at 10. He incorporates important techniques into his lessons for those wanting to play ‘Star Wars’. That’s so much more affordable than the music teachers.
11. Reduce the number of times you spend grocery shopping during the week.
I used to go nearly every other day, but now it’s down to once or twice a week. This helps me to save money, gas and travelling time.
Our savings: $80 a year
12. Keep looking around for the best value supermarket.
We thought we’d found the one supermarket in town that’s the cheapest. Sadly, it underwent a major renovation recently and there are now hardly any specials – just once in a long while.
My grocery bills have been decreasing, though it’s still quite hard for our family to save in this area. We have no Ebates, no Ibotta or anything that remotely resembles supermarket chains like Aldi.
Recently, my spouse discovered a much smaller supermarket that’s along our way home from work. Prices for meat and poultry are the cheapest we have found ?
We’ve also discovered that an organic farmer has recently started selling his produce at our nearest farmer’s market, near where we live. He was not there a year ago. The good news is, by buying vegetables that are in season and timing our visits near closing time, we get our organic vegetables at a steep discount. What’s more, his vegetables like marrows usually last us two weeks ?
Our savings: About $190 a year
Think about how much you could save but getting even better deals on food!
13. We decided to stop buying takeaways, fast food and fish and chips.
They’re not as cheap as most people think they are, and they’re not very healthy too.
We used to think that takeaways didn’t cost that very much, but we were wrong. In our town, they cost more than $13 for each dish.
Getting generous discount coupons from KFC lured us into buying those almost every weekend several years back. But no longer.
As for the other types of takeaways, we simply refuse to ‘pay’ in terms of future health costs, since they’re high in salt, sugar and saturated fat.
Savings: $370 a year
14. Resist peer influence
I used to be easily influenced by my friends in my younger days.
I would go for social etiquette and speed reading courses without considering whether they were useful. Doesn’t this remind you of keeping up with the Joneses?
When I got married, it was the ballroom dancing course. My spouse simply rebelled after the very first lesson. And I couldn’t ask for a refund as I had to pay for the entire course in advance.
Wasting money in this manner stems from my insecurity of not being as good as others. I have thankfully stopped this insane habit.
Our savings: $120 a year
15. Stop buying foods that no other family members would eat.
We should know what our family members like and dislike, especially the types of food they’d consume.
Yes, I made this mistake of thinking I’d change their minds once they tried this or that!
I bought a beautifully presented jar of beetroot chutney, which I thought no one in my family could resist.
It came across as wonderfully healthy and the jar looked equally attractive.
The only problem was nobody likes beetroot.
I do eat it occasionally myself, but it was quite a big jar, and sadly it didn’t taste as well as it looked.
Our savings: $50 a year
What can you stop doing to save?
In all, our savings came up to be more than $12,000 a year (when I combined the amount that I saved in Part 1). All figures are in US dollars.
I hope these ideas will spur you towards taking concrete actions to become a Super Saver.
At the end of most days, when you’re ready for bed, lie down and think about what you’d done well for that day – did you save money, or did you overspend?
If you can, note down your successes no matter how small.
You don’t need to have a success every day. Even once a month is a great start.
At the end of the day, you get to call the shots when it comes to your own money. Dave Ramsey did give us this important piece of advice which will help everyone improve their finances.
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