Now, I think I’m pretty good with money. I’m not in debt and I always have cash left over each month to put into my savings. I’d like to rate myself a solid above-average when it comes to money management. But as a twenty-something, living in Sydney and trying to save up for a home deposit, I wondered if there was anything I could do to turbo charge my savings. Here’s where my 30 day money challenge came in. Yes, I could have done this for a whole year, but I’m Gen Y and afraid of commitment, so 30 days it is!
My money challenge was very simple: spend less, save more. What could go wrong?
The first thing I did was look at where I was keeping my money. My transaction account, where my paycheck is deposited, doesn’t have a monthly account keeping fee or ATM withdrawal fees, so I was all good there. But after shopping around I realised that my savings weren’t earning the top rate in the market. I had a serious case of FOMO. Time to open a high interest savings account!
Next, I wanted to check out where all my money was going. Was I doing any unnecessary spending? I have been known to do a late night online shopping binge in the past. Rather than sift through all my bank and credit card statements, I signed up to Pocketbook and let the app work its magic. To my surprise, I spend an alarming amount of money on food. All that eating out and takeaway was putting a pretty big dent in my monthly spending. Solution: starting bringing lunch to work and cut down the eating out to twice a week. By the end, I had an extra $400 in my pocket!
During my budgeting journey, I also realised that I had a magazine subscription that to be honest, I had only skimmed through each month for the past 6 months. Time to cut ties and say goodbye. And besides, like many people, I get all my news from the internet.
Now, working for Credit Savvy, I get to hear about all the new credit card offers that come into the market. I pay off my card every month so the interest rate isn’t a huge deal for me but I’m always on the lookout for a rewards point bonus. Lo and behold, some new offers popped up on the market. But after careful consideration, between the annual fee and the hit I might take to my credit score, it just wasn’t worth it. I want my credit score to be in tip-top shape when I do apply for a home loan. Willpower +1
This whole spend less kick that I’m on was going really well. I’d paid all my bills, I hadn’t done any unnecessary shopping and I was well within budget for the month. I was on top of the world…And then a last minute wedding came up. Do you think they’ll accept my used toaster as a gift? Probably not. Luckily, every budgeting article that I had read in preparation for this challenge told me to keep some money aside for discretionary and unexpected expenses. I thought I’d be using it for my end of month treat, but alas, it was spent on a shiny new juicer. Think of me every time you make a juice.
So, was it worth it? At the end of the challenge, I had ended up with an extra $850 to put towards my home deposit that I wouldn’t have had if it didn’t do the challenge. Will I do it again? Sure! Maybe not every month, but it’s definitely good to do a “spend less” month every once in a while. Especially towards the end of the year with the holiday season coming up. And at the end of the day, my deposit is a little bigger and I am one step closer to realising the great Australian dream.
Check your Experian credit score right now at Credit Savvy. It’s free, secure and could help you take control of your credit reputation!