Archive for frugal

#febusave update – nearly 9,000 women signed up

Nearly 9,000 women signed up for the Febusave 2010 campaign, for example:

  • 2,307 pledged to give up buying lunch
  • 1,118 pledged to give up treats
  • 162 pledged to give up taxis

These might not seem like much; but little changes like this can make a real difference to your finances.

My pledge was to stop using the car to drive to work every day. The savings from that are now going into paying my mortgage. This means that it will be paid off several years earlier and save us thousands of dollars in interest payments.  I’m going to keep up this new habit of savings going even after Febusave is over.  It’s been a really good learning experience.

Some other great bloggers who have been sharing their journey All For Women, Inside Cuisine, Strawberry CommunicationsRainbowtatt, Liz and Jarrod, Little Lioness and Beautiful you by Julie

You can see what some of the other bloggers have shared via the #febusave hash tag on twitter.

Don’t forget! If you have registered for Febusave,  at the end of February simply complete the online entry form at the Febusave site and answer “what was your secret to achieving your FebuSave goal?” in 50 words or less and you could win $5000!

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Progress report on my #febusave pledge

For the month of February I decided to give up driving to work and bank the savings. It’s been surprisingly easy to catch the train each day, even if it does mean I need to plan ahead a bit more.

The savings have been a real eye-opener, especially when one of my friends mentioned how much that adds up to over a full year.  Putting that money into my mortgage is really going to make a difference if I keep it up after February!

 

Over 8,000 women have already signed up, pledging to cut back in various areas to kick start their savings for Febusave.

There’s still time left to sign up now.

Savings plan progressing nicely for #febusave

As part of the ANZ Bank’s Febusave campaign I’ve been following up on my pledge to catch public transport as much as possible during February, especially for the commute to the office.

I’m finding the daily train trip gives me a few unexpected benefits in addition to saving money:

  • more time to work on projects rather than concentrating on driving in the crazy Sydney traffic
  • more thinking time so I can hit the ground running when I arrive at the office
  • uninterrupted time to plan my day
  • on the way home the I have time to disconnect my mind from work before arriving home

Also participating in Febusave has made me conscious of spending choices, and is making me question if I do really need to buy certain things.

Why not sign up too? You can do it here (and you might even win a $5,000 prize).

Savings and managing credit – a hard lesson to learn #febusave

We do not often share stories about our personal finances (except perhaps to boast of some great success?) but here are some hard won lessons I have learned.

My parents were not great savers, subsisting from pay to pay in the way that many workers do. Thus I did not learn much about saving as a child.

By the time I was 21 both parents and all grandparents had passed away and I had lost contact with the few remaining older aunts and uncles. Both of my parents died intestate leaving me to sort out the disposition of their few assets for the benefit of my younger siblings. I was left to look after the family finances, leaving university and geting a job to help support the family.

Settling my parents few debts, arranging for the sale of their house and investing the proceeds for the maintenance of my youngest siblings was done by the Public Trustee.

All went well as I repeated my parent’s habit of living from pay to pay. Then a bank offered me a credit card which I accepted. It was like all my Christmases had come at once and I shopped happily, buying all the clothing and accessories I’d always loved.

I dutifully paid off the minimum balance every month and all remained well. But then I lost my job, laid off due to a downturn, and was only able to find lower paid work. No longer able to afford to pay both my rent and the credit card bill I was in trouble.

How did I get out of this problem?

  1. Borrowed money from friends to pay the rent.
  2. Made a payment agreement with the credit card provider (it took me years to pay that debt off).
  3. Setup a budget and followed it religiously.
  4. Ran my life on cash only for the next five years.
  5. Built up a savings buffer so I did not have to borrow money from friends again.

What did I learn from all of this?

Everybody needs a will – those you leave behind have a hard enough time of it without dealing with intestacy. In Australia the Public Trustee in each State can help you with this (for NSW click here).

Having a household budget is important – knowing your expenses and income & keeping them in balance  reduces stress.

A savings buffer brings peace of mind – a few dollars in the bank for an emergency makes all the difference during stressful times. I found an an automatic savings plan that takes the money right from my pay directly to the bank works best for me.

Parents need to share good financial habits with their children – you will not always be around to help them and it is better for them to learn good financial habits from childhood.

Some more useful information is at Febusave.

Shanks' Pony (a.k.a. taking a walk)

This fine institution – shanks’ pony – has been a vital part of human transport for generations. It is an old-fashioned term that means travelling by foot.

I’ve been experimenting with this novel concept all week. Walking between appointments in the city during the business day (rather than catching a taxi).

Some benefits of walking like this include:

  • getting some exercise
  • it’s cheap (in fact it’s free)
  • getting some fresh air
  • thinking time
  • lower carbon footprint

One thing that is making this possible for me is using a rolling laptop bag. Otherwise the thought of carrying around all my stuff (including laptop & work stuff) would be too depressing.  This wheeled bag has been a really good investment.

How you can reduce your lifetime energy footprint

Dr. Saul Griffith shares on Pop Tech! how we can reduce our lifetime energy usage. One key idea is making things last longer.

He also shows Wattzon.com, a free online tool anyone can use to gain a deep understanding of their total energy footprint – and how to reduce their role in climate change.

[HT: @maverickwoman for the link]

Is Procrastination a Useful Tool in Frugalism?


One thing I realised recently is that my tendency to procrastinate can be useful tool in deferring expenditure.

There were several days after Christmas when I meant to go to the shops and buy some things but never got around to it. And then, on thinking about it realised I did not need those things at all.

So procrastination can be a good thing to slow down our acquisitiveness.

List of things to simplify – finance

Thinking about things in my financial life that can be simplified or reduced:

  • credit cards
  • bank accounts
  • superannuation fund accounts
  • shopping
  • insurance

Off to work out an action plan to simplify each of these – the goal is to make them simpler, cheaper and/or better value for money.

Shopping plans

I’ve never really bothered to plan my shopping & have traditionally just bought whatever appealed to me on the day.

But that is all about to change. I’m going to be planning my shopping from now on – checking labels and looking for good value.

Any frugal shopping tips are most welcome.

Time for some public transport


This week my goal is to take public transport to the city on at least 3 business days. Just been checking out the NSW government 131500website to plan my trips.

Now I just need to find a carbon reduction tracker so I can work out progress due to not using the car so much.