How to save money – Cutting costs (Part 3)

Income minus expenses = savings. There are only 2 variables to this equation. So in this part of the series, we look at novel ways to reduce expenses to boost up savings.

Alright, so in Part 1 I gave you some tips on starting your own savings system and in Part 2 I showed you how it works for me in practice. Now it’s time to see how little savings here and there can add up in the long run.

Let’s tackle our major habitual behaviours: food and travel.

1. Pack your own lunches.
I remember the days when I could get a decent bowl of noodles or even a sandwich for less than AU$10 in Sydney. Those days are long gone. When I was at uni, I remembering eating lunch, dinner and dessert out several nights a week. That was clearly an unsustainable habit.

The savings: Say I ate lunch out 3 times a week, and it was a just bowl of ramen at $12 with no drink. Let’s do the maths. That’s $36 a week, $144 a month and $1,728 a year.

It really isn’t such a bad idea to pack your own lunches. Think of it this way, when you’re busy scooting around uni, you could save yourself time too scoffing down a nice, healthy sandwich you (or your mum) prepared the night before. Not only is it better on your hip pocket, but it’s much healthier too.

Even cup noodles would cost $234 a year (@$1.5/each)

2. Drink one less coffee or energy drink a day.
It’s these smaller expenses that you really have to be careful of. A few dollars here and there really starts to add up. How about one less coffee a day? Better still, you can be like me and not drink any coffee. It’s much healthier and also less straining on your pocket.

The savings: One cheap coffee is around $3. Let’s say we drank one three times a week. That’s $9 a week, $36 a month and $432 a year saved just by drinking one less coffee.

I think you’re better off getting an extra hour of sleep, going for a run before uni or work, or napping on the train. They’re all better for you and again it’s less chip from your wallet.

Sleeping on the train is free (wp@torturebytrain)

3. Buy a longer duration travel ticket
You would be amazed at the potential savings just by buying a monthly, quarterly or yearly train ticket.

The savings: If I bought an adult monthly ticket instead of a weekly one from Hurstville to the City, I save $12 a month. That’s $144 a year plus I would only have to queue once a month rather than 4.

The longer the duration the more the saving (flickr@frindley)

4. Invite some friends over and do a cook off
Not exactly a long term solution, but you’ll get my drift. Cooking is actually cheaper in the long run compared to eating out.

How about making it fun and get some friends over and cooking together. You’ll find that it’s not only tastier and healthier (since you control everything you put in), but it’s also fun and a nice way to hang out with your friends without costing you any more money (like going karaoke, bowling or coffee).

The savings: Priceless.

Battle away till your little hearts’ content

Best of luck in trying to save! Let me know how you go by writing in the comments below. Have you got any good cost cutting ideas to share with us?


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