Small changes equal big savings
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.