Talking about money isn’t something I ever intended to do as a blogger. Who I am to give financial advice? Sticking to a budget isn’t something that comes easy to me. But maybe that’s why I have found that I do have something to say. I’ve tried, failed, tried again and had some successes and plenty of ‘learning experiences‘ *wink wink* that could just come in handy for others trying to live the simple life.
Often choosing to homeschool means making sacrifices to live on one income. Or maybe in your quest to enjoy a simple and sustainable life, you’re cutting back work hours. There are lots of reasons budgeting becomes more important to those of us following the path of simplicity. And so I asked if you wanted me to share what we are doing, and you guys responded with a resounding, ‘YES‘. So let’s do it. Let’s talk money.
If you’ve watched my latest YouTube video (and if you haven’t you can watch it here) you will know that things are pretty tight around here at the moment. It’s a month of bigger than usual bills, coupled with a lower than normal (for us) income. Ouch! And so I found myself sitting here *stressing* and decided to take a good long look at where exactly our money is going.
For now I decided to just tackle the bills. I have a separate account set up where I put the money need to cover direct debits and the bills we BPay. For us this covers phone and internet bills, utility bills, council rates, car insurance and registration for both vehicles, health insurance, etc. Tackling just this one account meant this wasn’t a huge, overwhelming task. I could focus on just one area and get it done in a day. This one day saved me $2400 this year!
That’s right. Almost 2.5K back in our pockets this year. That works out to $200 a month that can now be used to pay off debts, be put into an emergency fund or, for this month at least, that $200 can go towards those unusually large bills that we weren’t quite prepared for. All it took was 3 simple steps.
Before you go any further, print out this FREE ACTION PLAN.
3 Steps To Free Your Money
Print out your FREE ACTION PLAN and then let’s work through the steps together.
Step 1: audit your account.
Go over your last few statements with a fine tooth comb. Make a note of any non-essential direct debits. Be ruthless. If things are tight, write down any regular charity payments, as well as direct debits for entertainment you may be able to forgo (at least in the short term). Also write down any large bills that you think you may be able to get a better deal on. Think phone service providers and insurance companies.
Action Plan: write a list of payments you want to cancel or reduce.
Step 2: start cancelling non-essential payments.
You can go into your bank and in under 5 minutes they can cancel charity payments and notify the charity on your behalf. If you’re cutting entertainment such as Stan or Netflix, you can do this either in the app or in your online account. If you’re cancelling Foxtel you will need to call your service provider. This one is a little trickier because of contracts and service bundles. Call and check, then go from there. Personally, we decided to keep Netflix as we aren’t connected to any free-to-air television, however I do keep in mind that cancelling this could save us a further $132 a year if we do need to tighten our belts further at some point. Another area to look at could be unused gym memberships.
Action plan: use your list in Step 1 to create a shorter list of payments to cancel. Beside each entry write ‘bank’, or other relevant contact point (internet account or phone number to call). Cross off each entry as you cancel the payment.
Step 3: shop around.
Spend a morning on the internet looking at the prices of various insurance policies. Choose one that has ONLY what you need at a price you can afford. If you don’t use your private health cover, do you really need it? Does someone else offer a comparable comprehensive car insurance for much cheaper? You can take out new policies online and cancel existing policies with a quick phone call. Just make sure you check your current cover to make sure you aren’t going to be penalised for early cancellation. Make sure you check each and every different type of insurance you have because even $10 here or there adds up.
Action Plan: use the list in Step 1 to create a shorter list of payments you want to reduce. Then use the internet to chase down quotes and write these on your list. Decide which policies to keep and which to change providers. Cross off entries as you cancel them, but make sure you take out a new insurance policy before you cancel the old one!
How Using These 3 Steps Saved me $2400
Now for the fun part… Add up everything you saved. Hooray!
In under 24 hours, and using just these 3 steps, I saved my family $200 a month. That’s $2400 over the course of a year! I don’t know about you, but for me that is a huge weight off. At the end of that day I felt like I could breath a little easier.
To see exactly where I saved the money and how much, check out the video. And don’t forget to use that FREE PRINTABLE I made for you. Print two copies; one for now and a second copy to stick in your budget binder. Then you will always have a reminder there if (when) you need to revisit this checklist to save some dollars in the future. Simply having an action plan can help to reduce a lot of money-related stress.
I would love to hear if you found this helpful, or any tips you have to share on saving money on your regular payments, so please don’t be shy and leave a comment below.