Small changes equal big sav­ings

Central Leader - - OPINION -

Let me share the true story of a man con­verted to the cult of thrift by a pend­ing drop in in­come.

Slightly to the dis­gust of his wife, this avid penny-pincher has set about a task hu­mans have typ­i­cally proved them­selves poor at, with a level of sin­gle-minded ap­ti­tude.

In con­trast to the speed at which peo­ple seem able to in­crease their spend­ing as they earn more, peo­ple who suf­fer large drops in in­come of­ten strug­gle to ad­just their spend­ing ac­cord­ingly.

But this sav­ings de­tec­tive has set about mov­ing the fam­ily rapidly to­wards what his wife has dubbed ‘‘liv­ing like a ter­ror­ist’’, a ref­er­ence to liv­ing a life of pri­va­tion in the name of a driv­ing cause rather than in the lit­eral sense.

And his re­sults have been im­pres­sive.

They also seem to show that a per­son needs to be on con­stant watch not to get ripped off and over-sold.

He started on the big monthly bills.

As a sports fan the Sky sub­scrip­tion was a must, but he dis­cov­ered the dis­count he should have been get­ting for also hav- ing a Voda­fone ac­count wasn’t be­ing taken from his monthly bill. Credit $20 and a drop in on­go­ing pay­ments. Also $5 off a month was achieved by fi­nally bad­ger­ing Sky into stop­ping send­ing its SKY Sport The Mag­a­zine.

It turned out his Voda­fone plan was a bit ob­so­lete and he changed to one with fewer min­utes and texts but more data. Then he can­celled the land­line and a cou­ple of ‘‘Best Mates’’ deals. This all saved $55 a month.

Then he signed up for Pow­er­shop and started ac­tively watch­ing power use and buy­ing deals and bulk pack­ages.

Fin­gers crossed, there could be an­other $50 sav­ing per month.

An­other heater was pur­chased which dra- mat­i­cally low­ered the bill as the fam­ily now has two heaters run­ning low rather than one run­ning hot.

When it came to a car, they leased in­stead of buy­ing and down­sized un­der a new lease deal from a brand new ute to a smaller car with a few klicks on the clock, sav­ing $100 per month.

Cof­fee ex­trav­a­gance was brought into check by ex­ploit­ing a stroke of good for­tune – the gift of a Ne­spresso ma­chine. Gone, the ex­pen­sive week of morn­ing cof­fees times two, re­placed with 10 cof­fee pods for $10. Shock­ing to think of it, but that’s a sav­ing of $6 a day, or $30 a week, or $1560 a year.

Even if you had pur­chased the ma­chine ($380), af­ter six weeks you would be sav­ing!

Add all of this up and there’s es­ti­mated sav­ings of well over $300 a month.

Now the cou­ple I speak of are not re­ally liv­ing like ter­ror­ists and, to be hon­est, their life­styles haven’t re­ally al­tered all that much, though there are more home-cooked meals and some scaled­back spend­ing on cos­met­ics, hair prod­uct, drink­ing and the like. Mainly shoes, I be­lieve.

But they are no less happy for it.

Ac­tu­ally, faced with chang­ing cir­cum­stances there’s a lot of com­fort that comes from ex­ert­ing such con­trol. They ac­tu­ally com­bined all this with sell­ing some stuff they didn’t need which has brought in a cou­ple of grand courtesy of Trade Me auc­tions.

Ap­par­ently, all this sav­ings de­tec­tion has from time to time got a bit bor­ing but I see it as an ex­am­ple of how liv­ing smarter can mean liv­ing cheaper with­out leav­ing the peo­ple do­ing it feel­ing de­prived.

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