Years ago I had a friend who earned loads of money when the rest of us were still struggling to make ends meet. I’m talking six figures! But I quickly learned the way she kept hold of all that dosh was that she kept a heavy eye on spending. She left nothing to chance. If she paid for a movie, a drink, or dinner, the next time we got together, she made it clear that it was my turn to pay.
While being that focussed on every dollar may not be great for friendships, it sure is ideal for your savings. She bought a house years before any of us could pull together the deposit, and she could afford holidays away and generous gifts on a whim.
So I have pulled together the fab life spending ideas that she taught me, because if she nailed it, we can too!
1. Spend less than you earn
While you might fawn over That Dress and “have to have it”, if you can’t actually afford it, or even worse, have to go without in important areas of your life, such as buying wholesome food, or getting your car maintenance done, just don’t buy it. Really, just do not. There will always be other dresses. That’s a fact. And if you want to look amazing for a special night, put the word out on Facebook and borrow a dress. Everyone has a dress they’re willing to lend, so grab that, spend $25 on dry-cleaning and you’re done.
The same goes for That Makeup, Those Shoes, Those Jeans and That Necklace. Once the high of having the new item in your collection has faded you’ll already be hunting for the next must-have buy. So rule of thumb: If you have to think about whether you can afford it, you can’t.
Celeb: A-List mega star Kristen Bell is always red carpet gorgeous but she’s not afraid of shopping around for her looks. She has even been known to slay at one event wearing a $45 dress from Target.
2. Don’t shop unless you need something
Don’t turn shopping into a hobby. And if shopping is a hobby for you, pick a new one. Learn to understand that shopping is a task based on what you need to purchase rather than an activity you do to entertain yourself. Make sure that before you hit the shops that you know exactly what you want and what your budget is. Free apps like ShopShop can help you to create a list to stick to before you step out the door.
And don’t be so hasty to replace old items for new items just because you think you need them. An old TV can be as good as a new TV, especially if you don’t have the budget for the latest and greatest. Once upon a time (not so long ago), people used items until they are well and truly not working. They’d fix them, replace broken parts and keep them going until they were finally redundant. Maybe it’s time we all got back to that way of thinking.
Celeb: Born in Dartford, in the UK in 1943, Mick Jagger grew up in post-war England in a modest-spending household. The frugal lifestyle spilled over into his adulthood where the rock icon now only buys new items for his home or buys replacement items when he absolutely needs to.
3. Pay off your credit card each month
We’re all one computer click away from paying off our credit card each month. And yes, it really is that simple. And you can start by ditching the “Champagne taste on a beer budget” lifestyle, and only buy what you need on a credit card knowing what your income is and whether you can pay if off each month. It’s important, too, to find a credit card that gives you discounts and membership incentives. In fact, in a recent survey by Warehouse Money, 42 per cent of Kiwis says they use credit cards to try and collect reward points. The Warehouse Money Visa Card and Warehouse Money Purple Visa Card have no establishment fees, or annual or additional cardholder fees. It’s these hidden costs that can sting when times are tight.
Plus, the Warehouse Money Visa Card offers a five percent discount on almost all purchases, including sale items, at The Warehouse (in store and online) and the Warehouse Money Purple Visa Card earns 2 Purple Dollars for every $150 spent at The Warehouse, and 1 Purple Dollar for every $150 spent wherever Visa is accepted, which can be redeemed at The Warehouse. And unlike a number of other reward programmes, these never expire!
Celeb: Stylish, quirky Zooey Deschanel maintains her vintage-inspired look by being a budget queen. She rigorously sticks to her very strict monthly budget and pays off all three of her credit cards every month.
4. Hold a clothes swap party
Just like That Dress for a special occasion, we’re all holding onto the “never wear” garments in our wardrobe, and it’s time they found a new home where they can be worn again by someone who loves them. That desire for new clothes may not mean “new” clothes, rather “new to you”. I covet many of my friends’ clothes, so a clothes swap is always a great idea. It’s nice to change up the wardrobe from time to time, but instead of buying, check in with friends (ideally a similar size to you or to each other) and create a date for your fab, fun clothes swap. As well as being amazing seeing your old threads getting a zest of new life, it’s the most efficient way to shed the old and bring in the new.
Celeb: Our fave New Yorker and style queen Sarah Jessica Parker, most famous for playing one of TV-lands biggest spenders, Carrie Bradshow, doesn’t succumb to A-List pressure and spoil her children, Marion, Tabith and James, with the latest label kids clothes. Instead, she’s all about the hand-me-downs for her mini-mes. And when her kids have outgrown them, she passes them on to the next growing child.
5. Live small
While there is societal pressure to live big, you actually don’t have to. Big items come with bigger responsibilities. You don’t have to have a big, expensive house or flat to rent or own, or a flashy European car (which are costly to fix). You can downscale and take the pressure off. If you have kids, can they share a room? If you have two cars, could you manage with one? If you have a big property, is it costing too much to run? All these are questions you should be asking yourself so that you’re not unnecessarily over-stretched.
Most importantly, are you protecting what you do have? Insurance is a must, from car, home and contents, landlord, card protection insurance, travel, and health. Warehouse Money offers all these insurance types which you can buy online or over the phone. They’re easy to understand and are easy to access every day plans from a brand we all know and trust.
Celebs: Even though Mark Zuckerberg’s net work is 52.6 billion USD and climbing every second, he’s famous for buying a modest home by US standards, here. He only wears jeans and t-shirts, and is known for driving cars worth around $30,000 USD.
And it’s not just Zuckerberg. Leonardo Di Caprio owns a Toyota Prius, which also fits with his environmental values as well as his simple tastes. Teri Hatcher drives her very basic cars until they reach 100,000 and only replaces them when they hit that milestone. Warren Buffet is famed for his extremely modest home, here, that he bought for just $26,000 USD more than 50 years ago and still lives in today.