Want to be better with money? 11 underrated daily changes so you spend less and save more

I truly believe that every dollar counts when you’re trying to improve your finances. Your daily spending habits make a huge difference in your savings rate and overall financial situation.

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I’ll receive a commission if you purchase through my link, at no extra cost to you.

Everyday your financial situation changes. Doing the 11 items in this list can make your financial situation 1% better or 1% worse each day. In one week you may not notice a huge difference but over a year (or a lifetime) the saving could be huge!

People ask me, how do you save so much? What are you doing differently than me? How did you save $90,000 so fast? To answer that, I put together 10 daily changes I have made which I think are underrated ways to spend less money so you can save more quickly.

1. Say goodbye to bank fees

Side parts, skinny jeans and bank fees are three things that have gone out of fashion. The jeans I’m not happy about. Bank fees on the other hand… good riddance!

If you’re paying bank fees to use an everyday transaction account, to get cash out at an ATM or if you are being charged a monthly bank fee, I want you to know that there is another, cheaper, way!

I don’t pay ANY fees to my bank, including international transaction fees or mortgage account fees.

I bank with ING and I am a very happy customer. You can check them out here. If you open an account with this referral code we will both have $50 deposited in our account. My code: GEX485

I’ve also recently opened a bank account with Up Bank. I wanted to see what all the zero fee fuss was about. Plus, I wanted the free $10 sign up bonus – I can’t say no to free money. So far I’m loving it. You can check them out here.

You can check them out here. If you sign up to Up banking here we will both receive $5 instantly. If you make 5 purchases within the first month we will both receive an extra $5 each – winning!

2. Stop buying water!

Why spend money on water when you can turn on a tap while out and about and get it for free?? I bring my water bottle with me literally everywhere. Work, cafes, friend’s houses, the shops, walking etc. It’s better for the environment and my health.

Whenever I leave a place I make sure it’s full. If a café has table water I use it to fill up my bottle just before I leave. Leaving a friends? Get yourself that free tap water! In a doctors waiting room? I’m filling up my water bottle at the cooler with no shame.

If you already have a water bottle, save your money and use it!

If you do need one, I’ve tried so many over the years and these are my picks. Below are the two water bottles I use. The first ‘Healthy Wish’ one is so cute. It helps you ensure you’re drinking enough water each day by providing timestamps to mark your drinking. It’s 1L and plastic so it’s light to carry around. I bring it on daily outings to the shops, friends etc

The second one is ‘Avanti’ and it is AMAZING at keeping water icy cold. I leave it in the hot car / on the hot sand at the beach and the water inside always stays cool- it’s actually mind blowing how well it works. I realise you can get cheaper imitations at Kmart etc (my BF has one of these) but honestly, there is no comparison! I’ve had mine for 4 years. The seal is still perfect, the bright colour (pink) has lasted and my water is still icy cold. His Kmart one is trashed and he’s only had it for a year. It’s an excellent investment and it comes in lots of colours. I use it on hot days, outdoor adventures and when I’ll be in the car for extended periods.

3. Sober driving: Embrace the lifestyle

Everyone knows that drinking out costs $$$. Ubers to and from places also add up FAST! Especially if you always seem to be the one ordering it and then chasing up the money…

When I’m looking to save money I generally offer to be the sober driver. It means I still get to be involved in a fun night without the cost of drinking and Uber charges. I really enjoy doing this on nights when I would have just had two or three drinks anyway. It saves me money without feeling like I’m missing out on all that much, except a hangover!

4. Make a coffee / tea before you leave

I would never tell someone that they can’t buy coffee- I’m not brave enough! Plus what’s the point in having money if you can’t use it to buy things that make you happy?

However, I think it’s good to limit yourself in what you spend. For example buy one coffee a day and then make the rest before you leave. This could be before you leave home, before you drive home from work or before you leave for a trip to the park with your (fur)babies.

Other things I do;

  • Carry tea bags with me and make tea on the go.
  • Keep nice tea / coffee pods in my work draw to make homemade more appealing and convenient than leaving to buy one.
  • Have a good travel cup that you like the look of, that never leaks and that keeps your drink hot. Nothing beats the original KeepCup. I’ve had mine for four years and it’s still in perfect leak free / stain free condition.

5. Share your streaming services

Everyone is paying for streaming services- nothing wrong with that. A great way to save money is to share your streaming services. For example, my boyfriend pays for Netflix and his sister pays for Stan. I got Apple TV free with my phone. We all share the passwords and now we all have access to three streaming services for the price of one!

My family was all paying for Spotify separately- 5 subscriptions! Then my frugal Mother realised its cheaper to pay for one family Spotify then to pay for hers and my Dads separately. So now we just have one family Spotify subscription (we still have separate accounts) and it’s a saving for everyone- thanks Mum!.

Who could you share a streaming service with?

6. Cheap fuel days

I’ve always been a sceptic of there being a magical day when fuel is cheap but since moving back to Perth I have changed my tune. Unlike in the regions, fuel prices in metro areas can change a lot based upon the day of the week. Fuel is usually cheapest on Monday, though in 2021 it may be on Tuesday according to the WA Government. Either way, it’s best to keep an eye on fuel prices so you can get the best deal!

Each Monday morning I stalk the app Petrol Spy Australia for the cheapest fuel in my area and then I fill up. The FuelWatch site also tells you what the prices will be both today and tomorrow. Remember to take into account any fuel discount dockets, deals, membership etc you may have because the app won’t.

Petrol Spy Australia app

7. Always pack snacks

I love a ‘snackety snack’ BUT I equally love having money in my savings account. The best snacks to spend money on are the ones when you sit down somewhere nice, enjoy your snack and have a memorable food experience. The worst snacks to spend money on are when you’re hangry AF, your blood sugar is low and you’re searching for the nearest calorie bomb- that you then devour without enjoying. Relatable?

To avoid this type of snack I bring food from home with me everywhere. Just simple things like muesli bars, nuts, biscuits and fruit. I find this means I avoid the hangry stage and impulse buys. It also means I appreciate the times I go for an intentional snack in a cute café or bakery.

I use this Snacker from Seed & Sprout to carry my snacks in. It’s slim, so it easily fits in my handbag. It’s also dishwasher friendly, rust proof and comes in plastic free packaging. Importantly, it’s cute so I never feel awkward pulling it out in front of people.

Seed & Sprout Snacker: The two compartment snacking solution.

8. Return purchases

In our capitalist society it has become second nature to buy things without considering if you really need it, or even if you like it. Even when you’re trying to be intentional and thoughtful, slips ups, impulse buys and regrettable purchases will happen.

I save money by returning these items. I’ve even been known to return a $2 candle that I just didn’t need. I make sure I ask for a receipt for every item so that I can return anything I regret buying. Even if I don’t return, I still always take my receipts, because I make money from scanning receipts on ReceiptJar. You can read about that side hustle app here.

Returning items means you spend less because you only end up paying for what you truly need and want. When the money is reimbursed I transfer it straight to my account #The1000dollarproject. It helps me grow my savings and teaches me a lesson about impulse buying. My logic is if I was happy to have the money leave my account for spending I need to be happy with it leaving for saving. You can read my post about the $1000 Dollar Project method of saving here.

9 Stop paying for parking

Paying for parking is one of my pet peeves and I avoid it at any cost. Sometimes it is unavoidable though. Instead of immediately paying for parking plan ahead and try

  • Parking a little further away in a free area and walking.
  • Getting public transport / an Uber or Didi (do the math here though).
  • Asking a friend to drop you off.
  • Riding a bike instead of traveling by car.
  • Car pooling with a friend and splitting the parking.
  • Planning to shop/ eat / live / work / book appointments in areas that have free parking.
  • Pre booking a parking spot to lower the cost.
  • Negotiate a free parking spot as part of your salary package. Remember this next time your going for a raise as it would be a perfect time to try!
  • If you have friends who live nearby, arrange to see if you can park at their place and then walk or get public transport from there

10. Never pay full price

I rarely buy anything full price because I know that everything goes on sale! If I see something I like I take a photo /screen shot of it, put it in my online basket and wait for the email notification “an item you’re interested in is on sale”.

I always google discount codes when online shopping and have Honey installed on my laptop which finds discounts for you. I use CashRewards to get money back on my shopping (read about that here or sign up now with my referral code (and get a $10 credit on your account) here.

I pay close attention to the loyalty programs I am part of, RAC for example. Using these, I can avoid paying full price on movie tickets, car services, pharmacy items and more.

If we’re going for dinner we often go on ‘Cheap Tuesdays’ or for a pub specials night.

There are so many ways to save money on your purchases. My motto is, “if you paid full price you paid too much”.

11. Stop buying shit you don’t need.

Iv’e saved the best for last as this is the most important one – STOP BUYING SHIT YOU DON’T NEED!

Do you have more then one candle at home? Well then, I guess you don’t need any more candles.

Do you have more then one pen or notebook? If you said yes, then you don’t need those stationary items you’ve been eyeing off – even if they do look cute!

Do you already own a mug? Guess what? You actually don’t need another one from KMart.

We need to normalise using up what we have before buying more. I have been focussing on using what I have before I buy more, and it means I’m spending way less money on shit that I just don’t need.

Toiletries are a huge one! Most people have draws full of makeup, moisturisers, hair products, lip balms etc taking up space. I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t buy any more beauty products until I used up everything I had in that category. #projectpan. Not buying random beauty products on a whim or because they might work better then what I already have, has saved me SO much money. It’s also creating lots more space in my bathroom and helping me to appreciate what I already have.

If you make one of these changes for one day you’ll briefly feel accomplished but long term it won’t have any impact. Instead you need to make an effort to implement the changes consistently and improve your habits. In this way, over the long term, it will have a huge positive impact on your finances.

Every dollar you don’t spent counts as a dollar that you can save / invest.

What underrated habits have I missed? Let me know in the comments below.

“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally. It comes from what you do consistently”.  Marie Forleo

| This blog post was all about how to make small daily changes so you spend less and can save more money. |

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Published by smartgirlsfinishrich

’m a money driven 20 something year old, working hard to improve my finances and create a lifestyle that I love. My hope is that by sharing my story it will help you increase your financial knowledge, motivate you to improve your financial situation and empower you to make more money $$$$ I’m not obsessed with money. I’m obsessed with the freedom and lifestyle choices money provides. (but also, I’m a little obsessed with money) My biggest money wins were all achieved on a a teacher income + side hustle earnings. All while living out of home. Saved a 20% deposit ($90,000) and purchased my dream first apartment in Perth, Australia. Saved $13,000 (so far) for a new car using side hustle income. On track to finish 2021 with NO HECs Debt. $18,000 paid off to date! Travelled Europe for six weeks while saving a house deposit. Check out my blog posts or follow my Instagram for all the details! It’s time for your financial glow up!

6 thoughts on “Want to be better with money? 11 underrated daily changes so you spend less and save more

  1. Thanks for the blog. I have decided to save money by letting go of my Netflix and Spotify accounts. Hope my children will still love me 😂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I also find having free or cheap hobbies help! Instead of going out to brunch or dinners on weekends, hubby & I go out to visit display homes cause it’s free & as motivation on what we can save for in the future. Plus free aircon on a summer’s day is always a bonus 😉


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