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15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

15 Money-Saving Hacks We Can All Learn From Our Mums

1. Make do and mend

My mum is a one for making weird tube tops and horribly unfashionable dresses (or sacks…) out of old sheets. Maybe you’re not a dab hand with a needle and thread but I bet you can cut your old jeans into a new pair of hawt to trawt shorts, eh? They look way more unique, no one else will be wearing them, you’ve saved an arm and a leg and you’ve been a green citizen, all in a stroke of the scissors.

2. Bulk buy

Remember rolling your eyes at the pack of 15 toilet rolls your mum stuffed into the car boot? Well you may be the new nutter on the block with your crate deliveries of 50 tins of beans, but you’ll have more money in your pocket and you’ll never be caught short on the loo again.

3. Just keep walking

Remember those endless journeys, Mum’s empty promises of ‘just around the corner’, the constant ‘are we there yet?’s as you trekked towards a destination that should have been a ten minute drive? These days, we jump on a tube for one stop on the line (it’s genuinely quicker just to walk down the road most of the time) and that’s an expensive trip. So get your free on and take a walk in your mum’s footsteps.

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4. Nom nom, time for some tasty leftovers

The phrase ‘waste not want not’ is a permanent motto in my mum’s kitchen and bread mould is no match for a sharp knife. There’s something to be said for leftovers, ladies and gents. Don’t throw them away – drag out your golden god pasta bakes and your meatilicious lasagnas for lunches and dinners all week long if you want to avoid the dreaded total on your supermarket receipt.

5. A little bit of Lidl

I think every mum has a soft spot for a bit of bargain hunting, an excitement overload when the shelf price is below a pound, and all mum’s are fools for 3for2s and half price deals. We all love those crazy German cereals, those big yellow prices on the shelves, the questionable vodka bottles for under £5 (it all tastes the same once you’ve added some fifty pence a litre cola). And I’m only exaggerating a little folks. Lidl is the place to save your pennies.

6. Share your baths

We’ve all screamed at our mums for plonking our naked siblings in the bath beside us in those long lost times of yore, but did she have it right? I know, we’re not in the Victorian times, but I mean come on, how dirty are you? Leave the bath in for your housemates or, hey, why not have a sexy naked night in with your partner? Either way, forget about those water bill nerves.

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7. Bodge it

My mum with a screwdriver is a scary sight – so why not provide some free entertainment, and potentially, if you’re really really lucky, a free fix, and do it yourself? Sometimes, the perfections lie in the imperfections (or maybe that’s just how I like to think of it…) But folks, if you can fix it yourself, do it – save money, make your house your home, have pride in your work. And if it all goes to hell, well, it’s a funny story for later.

8. Make friends

My mum happens to be very good at this one. The ex husband’s sister’s boyfriend of Mary wotsit down the road is a painter, and he’s doing the house on the cheap because good old Mum is such an old friend… kinda… Isn’t that nice of him? Isn’t that nice for your bank account, too?

9. Show some self-restraint

Now this is a quality my mum entirely lacks, and hence the lesson that has stuck with me the hardest. When your mum comes home with a new handbag every day, a different pair of boots in a slightly different shade of black to the last pair, it’s all alarm bells that echo way into your adult life. Don’t throw your money away.

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10. Grow your own

Maybe your mum’s not as hipster as mine, but a herb box is always part of her garden. And it always saves us on ingredients. Grow your own veg and herbs and never go without again – it’s always economical when you can sustain yourself. Bear Grylls style, eh?

11. Pay your belongings some respect

My mum is always gasping when I drop my phone (which happens a few times a day) and rarely lends me her stuff (I wonder why…) She treats her books like prized artifacts, refusing to throw any away (EVER) and has trinkets and earrings that have survived even the eighties (a feat in itself). Unlike half of my friends, she will never, ever leave her phone in a taxi. And this will save her lots of money (oh how we have all learnt that the hard way…)

12. Manage your own books

It’s definitely a mum thing – a little notebook with numbers scribbled all over. Yours can be a spreadsheet on Excel but my mum will always be a pen and paper gal. She notes down every single transaction she makes and checks the figures against her bank statement. Good luck, fraudsters and con artists. My mum is on your case.

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13. A holiday is only a click, another click and a few hundred more websites away

Research can be key to saving your pennies. My savvy mother has trawled the internet for the cheapest getaways many a time. There’s a World Wide Web out there, folks, full of comparison sites and Google Shopping pages (sort by lowest price first? Yes please). So don’t splash out on the first thing you see, follow Mum’s virtual footsteps and do your research.

14. Be generous

This one may seem counterproductive, but mums everywhere will preach the same old pearls of wisdom: you get back what you put in. Help a friend in need with a cash loan and you never know how grateful they’ll be a few years down the line. Invest a large sum across companies and you could earn some impressive profits. Life’s a lottery so let’s give it all we’ve got.

15. Don’t forget that the best things in life are free

If my mum taught me anything, it was not to worry about money. Go for a picnic if you can’t afford a big meal. Enjoy the little things in life and remember – you can always make more money. It’s those memories rather than the pounds that will keep you going when you’re old and grey, and remembering all that sound advice your dear mum passed on. So thanks for all the help, my wise old ma, who has never cost me a single penny but is worth a million and more.

Featured photo credit: Compfight via static.flickr.com

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Published on September 17, 2018

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

How Being Smart With Your Money Leads to Financial Success

Achieving financial success is not something that just happens. Maybe if you win the lottery or something, but for the average person like you or me, it comes from a series of small steps you take over a long period of time.

With each step, you form a new smart money habit. And with each smart money habit, you build towards financial independence.

So what sort of habits can you form to get on that path? Let’s take a look at smart money habits you can start today to get you closer to a financially independent future.

1. Avoid being “penny wise but pound foolish”

It’s tempting to try saving a couple cents here and there when buying small items. However, that’s not where the real money is saved. You’re putting in extra effort for something that doesn’t move the needle.

You get the most bang when you’re able to cut down on your bigger bills. For example, finding a lower interest rate for your mortgage could save you $50+ per month. And cutting your transportation bill by purchasing a cheaper car or taking public transportation can provide large gains as well.

So, look at your recurring expenses such as housing, transportation, and insurance, and see where there’s wiggle room. It’s a much better use of your time than trying to pinch pennies here and there on smaller purchases.

2. When you want something big, wait

Impulsivity can get you in trouble in most aspects of life. Finances are no different.

It’s human nature to see something and want it right then and there. It starts as a kid in the checkout line at the grocery store, and it continues on through adulthood.

We get an idea in our head of something we want, and it’s hard not to go out and get it right then.

A good example is wanting a new car. Perhaps you’ve had your car for several years. It’s crossed the 100k mile mark. Maybe maintenance is due, and you’re annoyed that you need to replace the timing belt or purchase new tires.

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So, you get the itch.

You start digging around online, and you realize you could trade in your current car for something newer and more exciting… all for a few hundred bucks a month. Then you get obsessed.

Here’s where you have to take a step back.

Your newfound obsession is clouding your judgement. Rather than giving into the impulse, wait it out.

Set a timeframe for yourself. Maybe you come back to the decision three months down the road. See if the obsession lasts.

It might, but often, a funny thing happens. Often, you forget about it. And often, you find that the new car wasn’t a need at all.

The impulse faded. And you just saved yourself a ton of money.

3. Live smaller than you can afford

You finally get that big raise. And you want to celebrate – and why not?

You’ve been looking forward to this forever. And after all, it was all due to your hard work.

That’s fine, splurge a little. However, make it a one-time deal and be done.

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Don’t get caught in the trap that just because you’re now making more money, you should spend more.

Too often, people get more money and feel like they that gives them the means to buy a bigger house, a bigger car… you know the drill. Resist.

The fact is that living smaller than what you can afford is one of the fastest ways to build savings.

But if you constantly upgrade as you begin to make more, then you’ll never get ahead. You’ll just build up more debt along the way and have just as little wiggle room as before.

4. Practice smart grocery shopping

Food… it’s one of the biggest portions of any budget. And if you’re not careful, it can be one of the biggest drains on your wallet.

But luckily, there are a few things you can do to ensure that you stay smart with your money when buying groceries.

Create a grocery budget

Set a strict weekly grocery budget. When you know how much you can spend on groceries, you can then plan your weekly menu around it.

Once you know what all you need, you can go shopping and keep a running tally as you shop to ensure you’re on track.

I tend to do this in my head, rounding for each item. However, writing it down as you go would probably work best for most people.

Make a list… and never deviate

Never go to the grocery store without a list. If you go to the store with a ballpark idea in mind, you don’t have a true ide of what you need.

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You’re not well-researched. You don’t know what the sales are. As a result, you’re going to make decisions on the fly.

These impulse decisions will lead to overspending, which will derail your grocery budget.

Eat before going grocery shopping

It’s also important to eat prior to going to the grocery store. Hunger is a powerful force.

If you’re shopping on an empty stomach, everything is going to look good. In particular, you may find a lot of ready-made, processed snacks will look enticing.

After all, you’re hungry now and that food is easily available. So subconsciously, you may lean towards those items.

Unfortunately, not only are those items typically less healthy, but they’re likely more expensive. You pay for convenience.

However, when you eat prior to shopping, then you’ll shop with a clear mind. Your hunger won’t cloud your judgement, influencing you to make poor decisions like a cartoon devil resting on your shoulder whispering in your ear.

This makes it much easier to stick to your grocery plan.

5. Cancel your gym membership

Now that you’re all set on your food, it’s time to get smart about managing your budget in terms of physical fitness. And let’s begin by avoiding the gym. The gym bill, that is.

The average gym membership costs around $60 per month. That’s $720 a year.

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Yet, two out of three gym memberships go unused. That means two-thirds of people who have a gym membership are literally giving away almost a thousand bucks a year. It’s crazy!

I recommend seeking an alternative. One good alternative is to look into fitness streaming services.

Streaming services allow you to stream hundreds of workouts like Insanity and p90x, right in your own home for around $10-20 a month. That’s $40-50 less a month than the average gym membership.

Of course, then there’s the free option. The internet is full of free workouts that you can do on your own with minimal or no equipment.

For example, there’s the Couch to 5K program, that I personally used a decade ago to ease myself from couch potato to running my first 5K race. If I could do it, anyone could.

Then there are free resources like reddit that have limitless information on workouts. The Fitness subreddit has done all the research for you, populating workout tips and detailed workout routines for anyone to use in their wiki.

There are several routines that require no equipment. And you can join in on the subreddit to become part of the community, making it easier for those seeking comraderie and encouragement in their fitness goals. All for free.

It’s baby steps… And baby steps can start now!

I’ve never met anyone that can’t stand to be a bit smarter with their money. And on the flip side, anyone can get smarter with their money. But remember, it doesn’t happen all at once.

Begin by fighting your impulses. Prepare for the week and be smart at the store. And cut monthly expenses like gym memberships that are overpriced and you probably aren’t getting your money’s worth out of anyway.

The devil is in the details. And the details can change your lifestyle and prep you for a financially independent future.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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