The bible actually has more to say about how we manage our finances than it does things like giving and generosity. Verses like 1 Peter 5:8 “Be self-controlled and alert…” give us a clear hint that simply being aware of ourselves and our environment can be a big help. Along these lines, our family have picked up some good habits that I reckon can easily save you $50k in 5 years. Here are a few practical tips when it comes to the world of money:
- Monitor your money. I can’t speak highly enough of apps like Pocketbook which track your spending on a daily basis and allow you to pull back and be aware of your spending. My saving guess – $2k to $5k.
- Cut up your credit cards: Spiritual and secular advisors these days are unanimous in the advice to destroy your cards if you have anything even approaching a habit of using your cards recklessly. Another softer option is to get your bank to reduce your limit. Our family does use credit cards, but the golden rule which we follow is live by a budget and NEVER pay interest. We have arranged an automatic transfer from our savings to our cards which ensures this happens every time. My saving guess – $1k to $3k.
- Buy someone a coffee: What do I mean by that? Buy somebody ahead of you on the journey of life a coffee and ask them for their wisdom on finances (and life). You can save you a heap of trouble and dollars learning from somebody else’s mistakes and victories. A great $5 investment. My saving guess – $1k to $100000k!
- Watch out for ‘only one dollar a day’: I reckon that is an absolute piece of rubbish that line. Add that up and multiply it out and you can be spending thousands on frivolous spending. Small things add up. Things like, buying your lunch instead of packing it (easy $1000 a year), coffee at home rather than out (another $1000), dare I say it even charities can pull you in with this one (so yes you need to be wise in where and how you give).My saving guess – $1k to $3k.
- Ditch the shopping trolley and don’t shop hungry: I have to admit this isn’t my advice, by I read recently that where possible ditch the shopping trolley and don’t shop hungry and you will be less likely to impulse buy and only focus on your needs. My saving guess – $500
And here are another 5 general tips I have learnt I will chuck in for free!
- 30 cent call: I have always lived by this rule (and phone calls don’t even cost that much anymore). But there is a power in reviewing your expenses, picking up the phone (or more likely now browsing the net) and asking for a better deal on bills such as electricity, health and insurance. Not only will this reduce your bills by sometimes thousands, but you become ‘alert’ to your own spending habits. Its amazing how a 30c phone call can turn into a $300 saving. My saving guess – $500 to $2k.
- Ditch Health Insurance. I reckon health insurance is a rort (at least for most people). We live in Australia with a brilliant free system. The irony with health insurance is you pay thousands and still fork out money every time you need something.
About 10 years back, our family ditched health insurance and we now put away about a quarter of what we would spend on health insurance for incidentals like physio and glasses. Then we have taken out a trauma insurance to cover us if anything serious did actually happen. I estimate we have saved at least $25000-$30000 over 10 years doing this. (This bit of advice is definitely personal and you need to get your own advice and consider your own health situation for this one. For some people health insurance is a must). My saving guess – $2k to $3k.
- Get rid of the second car: Cars cost a ridiculous amount of money. It might seem counter intuitive but catching the bus or paying for a taxi or an uber, or even signing up to a car sharing service can save you many thousands a year. In the process you will find you get fitter and might even save on gym fees! My saving guess – $2k to $5k.
- Grow your own: We got chickens about two years back. I reckon we are still in the breakeven stage because of our set up costs, but in the long run we will save money. This principal can work with growing vegies and herbs. My saving guess – $100 to $500
- Find ways to make money: We often have underutilized assets just sitting around. Recently our family has begun hiring out our caravan and so far the money we have made has paid for our registration and insurance for it. You could hire out a room, your car or even your driveway for parking if you live in a good spot. Then there is always gum tree or the good old garage sale. My saving guess – $500 to $5k.
If you are a habitual over spender, the real problem you will have is not external but likely a heart problem. My guess is you have an idol in some form (security, people’s perceptions of you, pleasure etc) and God’s desire would be to lead you away from this by pursuing Him. Why not check out Catalyst church’s balanced series here.
- Credit to NorthPoint Church / Andy Stanley for Balanced Series.