Just like your body, there’s no point putting your purse under a crash diet. Slowly but surely, getting rid of high-sugar expenses is the way to go, writes MICHELLE BALTAZAR.
What happens if your bank account is fat-free? When you count the minutes to your next paycheque? Or maybe your credit card blues are starting to give you the twitch?
Don’t stress. Millions of Australians are in the same boat. According to research, many are weighed down by their mortgage payments, mounting credit card bills and rising prices of just about everything (food, petrol and alcohol included). No wonder there are plenty of Aussie battlers!
But with the new year comes a new chapter in your life – a good excuse to scratch your money problems in 2009. Here are three tips from the experts.
1. Don’t go ‘cold turkey’. Find out what you can cut from your expenses and what you can’t – but go slow on changing your lifestyle or else you’ll revert back to old habits, says experts.
For example, if you buy coffee from your favorite deli every morning, cut it down to only twice a week (to coincide with the days you really need a pick-me-up).
New year’s resolution? Buy your own percolator and coffee beans. It’ll cost you a fraction of what you usually pay and you can avoid those long 9am queues.
2. Visit the markets. For sight-seeing on a lazy Saturday morning, go to the Bondi markets, the Glebe markets or the one in Paddington. But for serious “oh-my-god-I-can’t-believe-how-cheap-it-is” feeling, go to Paddy’s Markets or somewhere away from the city (like the suburban markets of Blacktown and Flemington).
In Paddy’s Markets Chinatown for example, a bag of snowpeas cost $2 (can cost double that at major groceries), or a punnet of strawberries for $1 ($2.99 in groceries), or a bag of mushrooms for $2 (can be $4 for the same bag in groceries).
Markets are also great for buying birthday and Christmas gifts. Pre-loved items that look good as new are a-plenty. In Blacktown markets for example, one happy buyer snagged an uber-cool lamp for $5 while another bought a rare, retro doll for $2. Less practical but more memorable than the usual soap and shower gel set!
3. Get running. Research shows that all types of exercise can help keep your brain sharper than if you didn’t do any exercise at all. Aerobic activity (gets your heart pumping for more oxygen) also prevents you from getting mental-related illnesses in the future. It has something to do with the synapses in your brains remaining connected and fired up with regular exercise.
Why is running a money-saving strategy? You don’t need a gym membership for it and you can save on huge healthcare bills in the future. Oh, running to your favourite store during a sale doesn’t count as exercise. Sorry.