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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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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

The Definitive Guide to Get out of Debt Fast (and Forever)

Debt can feel crushing, like a weight that is always weighing you down. Looking at those numbers, it can feel as if you’ll never get out from under it. However, if you really want to learn how to get out of debt, it is possible with a great deal of focus and self-control.

Getting out of debt isn’t impossible. Like any big goal, all that it takes is an action plan to identify where you are and creating a plan to zero out your debt.

Identifying All of Your Debts

The first part of paying off your debt is getting a complete picture of what you owe. When you have everything written out in front of you, it makes it much easier to create an action plan. Depending on how much you owe, it might also help you realize it’s not as bad you might have originally thought.

Here’s how you can get started identifying your debts:

1. Own Your Debt

Before you start identifying all of your debts, take a moment to process that you have debt but want to get out of it.

Forgive yourself for any past mistakes, missed payments, or overspending. It might be painful to accept how much debt you have at first, but you must own it.

2. Make a Debt Tracker

It’s astonishing how few people ever created a tracker to understand their total debts. Most likely, it comes from not wanting to accept the guilt of having debt, but, if avoided, it can make it nearly impossible to get out of debt.

Open up a new Google or Microsoft Excel sheet and list out all of your debts. Start with the name of the creditor, interest rates, total balance, loan term length (if any), and the minimum amount due each payment. This will include student loans, credit cards, and any other type of debt owed.

3. Get Your Debt Number

Once you’ve made your debt tracker and taken the other steps, identify your total payoff number. This is crucial, as you will have a starting point and a clear goal that you are trying to achieve.

Prioritizing Your Debts

All debt is not created equal. It’s imperative to understand that there are different types of debt.

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1. Understand Bad and Good Debts

Bad debts are usually paying for things you want instead of always need. While there might be some emergencies that max out your credit cards, often times it’s excessive spending[1].

There are three main types of bad debt:

  • Credit Card Debt: The average American household owes over $16,000 in credit card debt!
  • Auto Loan Debt: According to CNBC , the average auto loan in the US is $30,032!
  • Consumer Loan Debt: Consumer loan debt isn’t as common as credit card and auto loan debt, but it’s still considered bad as interest rates are usually between 10-28%.

Good debt is identified as investments in your future. Here are three common types of good debt:

  • Student Loan Debt
  • Mortgage Loan
  • Business Loans

2. Decide Which Debt to Pay off First

Once you know each type of debt and their interest rates, you can begin to pay off debt quickly.

Focus on paying off bad debt first, regardless of if it is a credit card or auto loan. Start by paying off the loan with the highest interest rate first.

If you have several credit cards with different interest rates, you want to focus on the one with a higher APR. You will actually save more money by eliminating the card with the highest interest rate.

3. Don’t Pay the Minimum Amount

Paying the minimum amount digs you into a hole as interest rates will offset your payment. Even a small amount more than the minimum can help you pay off debt much faster.

Removing Obstacles to Pay off Debt Quickly

Creating a debt tracker and prioritizing a plan is simple, but avoiding temptation can be difficult.

1. Set a Reminder to Track Your Debt

“If you can’t measure it you can’t manage it.” -Peter Drucker

It’s so important to track your debt to ensure that you get it paid off quickly. Similar to working out and measuring your results, you need to track your debt constantly. Start with a weekly reminder, where you sign on and log your updated number. Did you increase, decrease, or stay the same?

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Regularly tracking your student loan balance can be incredibly motivating, as well. You will get a huge confidence boost each time you see your total debt amount decreases.

Set weekly and monthly goals so you can have short term wins and keep the momentum going.

2. Hide Your Credit Cards

If your biggest debt is credit cards, you need to eliminate temptation and remove them from your wallet.

Some people have gone to extreme measures by freezing their credit cards. Why? This would create an ice block around your card, which would require you to chip away at it slowly. This will give you time to think if it’s the best idea to buy that thing you’re about to buy.

3. Automate Everything

Willpower can be a huge downfall to paying off your debt. By automating your bills each month, you will ensure that willpower isn’t involved.

4. Plan Ahead

Getting out of debt will require some sacrifices, but with enough planning, you can make it work.

For example, if you know that you have a friend’s birthday or family dinner coming up, plan ahead for the costs. Whether you need to cut back on spending the week before, pick up a side job, or meet them after dinner, do what is needed.

5. Live Cheaply

The only way to get out of debt is to make some sacrifices on your spending habits. Find ways to save money each month so you can apply that amount to your outstanding debts. Here are some ways to save money each month:

  • Live with roommates
  • Cook dinners and prepare lunches for work instead of eating out
  • Cut cable and choose Netflix or Amazon Prime
  • Take public transit or bike to work

Finding the Lowest Interest Rates

The higher your interest rates, the harder (and longer) it will take you to pay off any debt.

If possible, you want to find ways to lower your interest rates to help get out of debt quickly. Here’s how you can get started:

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1. Maintain a High Credit Score

Your credit score will have a large impact on your ability to refinance your loans and receive a lower interest rate. If you have a low credit score, it’s unlikely you will be able to refinance your loans. Use these credit tips to increase and maintain an excellent score:

  • Never miss a payment
  • Don’t exceed 30% of your credit limit
  • Don’t sign up for more than one card at once
  • Limit hard inquires, like auto-loans and new credit cards
  • Monitor frequently with free credit-tracking software

2. Find Balance Transfer Offers

Start by opening a free account on credit.com. Credit.com offers you the chance to open a free account and see what type of balance transfer offers you can receive. Some of your existing credit cards might already have 0% or lower APR balance transfer offers available.

Contact each of your credit card providers to ask about lowering your rate for a one-time balance transfer offer[2].

If you do take advantage of this option, make sure that you use a balance transfer and not a cash advance. Cash advances have a ton of high interest fees (15-25%, depending on your credit card) and will only compound your debt problem.

How to Get Rid of Debt Forever

Setting up a plan, removing temptations, and getting the lowest interest rates is the first step to get out of debt.

1. Keep Monitoring and Adjusting

Once you have a plan, don’t get comfortable. Track your debt payoff plan and make the necessary adjustments when needed.

Monitor your credit scores with a free site like CreditKarma. The higher your credit score climbs, the more likely you will be to secure a new, lower-interest loan.

2. Earn More Money

There are only so many ways to save money. Instead of clipping another coupon or making sacrifices for your morning coffee, find ways to earn more money!

Think about it…it is much easier to find ways to earn an extra $1,000 per month than find $1,000 to cut from your budget.

Here are some examples of ways to earn more money:

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Talk to Your Boss

Have a conversation with your boss about current salary and/or commission rates. If you’re not satisfied or want a change, don’t be afraid to look around at other positions. Some of them might even have a student loan debt reimbursement plan!

Start a Side Hustle

This could be coaching students on the weekends, driving for Uber, or taking paid online surveys. There are tons of ways to make money outside your 9-5. Now that you have a clear plan to pay off your debts, you’ll be more motivated than ever to figure out creative new ways to earn money.

Build an Online Business

There are so many websites and blogs that earn money from ads, affiliates, and other online products. Find your niche and get started.

3. Celebrate Your Wins

As you progress in your debt payoff journey, don’t forget to celebrate your wins. You need to always reward yourself for the hard work and discipline that is required to get out of debt.

While you shouldn’t celebrate so big that it increases debt, make sure to factor in little rewards to keep you motivated.

4. Set New Financial Goals

Eventually, with a plan and these steps, you can rid yourself of your debt. Once you do, make sure to celebrate your monumental achievement, but don’t stop there.

Now, you can focus on acquiring wealth and increasing your net worth. Set new financial goals so you have a new target to aim toward. Here’s how to set financial goals and actually meet them.

These could be anything now that you are debt free! Think about where you want to travel, buying your first home, or saving for your future retirement. Just like before, make sure that your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable.

Conclusion

Congrats, you can now set a plan in motion to finally pay off your debt quickly (and hopefully forever)!

Remember, if you want to get out of debt quickly, it’s not always easy. Just like any big goal, there will be sacrifices, challenges, and problems to overcome.

More Tips on Getting out of Debt

Featured photo credit: Pepi Stojanovski via unsplash.com

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