“The fact that so many people are lying to their family and friends about how much money they spend is scary,” said Vanessa Stoykov. “Having worked in the finance sector for over two decades, the most common reason I find that people lie is because they feel out of control and that it’s much easier to have their head in the sand than take real action.”
“But making a change doesn’t need to be scary, it should actually be liberating, because it will improve your life and put you back in control. This research highlights that spending too much money is a big issue for Australians, so I want to use my experience to help.”
Vanessa’s expert tips to help curb expenses without having to make too many sacrifices are:
- Think of cheaper alternatives to your favourite entertainment options. The cost of activities like going to the movies quickly add up – especially if you have a family. Before spending money on activities, consider if there is a cheaper alternative. For example, if you want to have a movie night consider using Netflix or Stan and staying in instead. Even if you splurge on snacks from the grocery store, it still only costs a tiny percentage of what you would spend at the movies.
- Make a list and check it twice. Making a list of the items you need from the grocery store before you go not only saves time, but also money. Plan what meals you want to make, check what you already have on hand, make a list of everything you need, and stick to it. This will stop you buying excess produce and keep the costs to a minimum. Also, if you go to the store later in the day when items are heavily marked down, you can freeze them for another night to save cash.
- Consolidate debt. If you have more than one credit card or personal loan, roll them into one. That will reduce the pressure of paying different payments over a month, and means you only need to pay one bill. You may also be able to access a cheaper rate doing this. Some credit card companies offer 12-month interest free periods to roll over balances. Your bank may give you a personal loan to cover it. It’s important to do the leg work and find out what the better deal is for you, don’t just accept the first solution you find.
- Reuse whatever you can. Where possible, don’t buy anything new, instead reuse and recycle what you can. If you eat out and have leftovers ask for a takeaway container and eat it for lunch the next day, reuse plastic drink bottles rather than spending $3 for a fresh one, or hire a formal outfit for a special occasion rather than spending hundreds on buying a new outfit. Not only do these steps help your environment, but they also keep money in your bank account!
- Unplug electronic devices that you aren’t using. Any device that is plugged into a power point uses up energy – even when it’s in standby mode, and although the amount might be small it adds up. If there are items like a Playstation or heater that only get used on the odd occasion, turning them off from the power point can save a substantial amount per quarter. Also, call your electricity provider and ask if you can you get a discount if you pay via direct debit, most accommodate you and this can put major dollars back in your bank account, rather than theirs.
“If you’re someone who has ever lied about a purchase, you deserve better,” says Vanessa. “Taking steps today to make you feel more comfortable with your money choices, and being confident to have an open and honest conversation about finances with your loved ones, will all significantly improve your entire life and future.”
Vanessa’s book The Breakfast Club for 40-Somethings (RRP $25.95) is published in Australia by Wiley and is available at all major bookstores and departments stores including Big W. You can also purchase this book online at:
- Booktopia.com.au – $20.95* (paperback)
- Angus & Robertson Bookworld – $20.92* (paperback)
- TheNile.com.au – $22.74* (paperback)
- Kobo Australia – $16.99* (ebook)
- QBD Books – $25.95* (paperback)
- Book Depository Australia – $20.17* (paperback)
- Amazon Kindle – $16.14* (ebook)
*All prices are quoted in Australian dollars and are subject to change by the retailer.