The Good Life?

It Pays To Be Frugal

It Pays To Be Frugal

As a Gen Y-er growing up in the post my-order-to-me-now-while-I-eat-some-smashed-avo age, I’m bombarded with constant messaging on financial freedom. There’s online businesses to start, click funnels to create, social media followings to grow, passive income to generate, all the while maintaining my day job and somehow saving for a shoebox house in Sydney and praying hard that my Super will see me through my old age.

Like many Millennials, I want to make sure I am being smart with my money and making wise choices, but I have also grown up in a very accessible world.

So when this article came across my desk, I found it fascinating because it was so simple. Some of the smallest financial decisions can make the most profound impact long term.

And that’s the key, as I have come to understand it, financial freed or good financial stewardship is a marathon, not a sprint. My Grandfather always says “You look after the cents and the dollars will look after themselves." My small decisions make a big impact down the track.

In this article pulished by SMH, the writer has included tips from 3 sets of people ranging across the different age brackets. All of the tips make sense but the common, underlying theme is a little sacrifice now can mean a lot of gain in the future.

For the 18-25’s, Nicholas Muscat, 19, a follower of the Financial Independence, Retire Early movement, provides the following tips:

  1. Rent a room in a share house. Three people is exponentially cheaper than two.
  2. Use a fuel map app to find the cheapest petrol in your area.
  3. Car-pool, use public transport and ride a bike or walk where possible.
  4. Eat out less, buy in bulk and prepare meals.
  5. Take care of your health now – go to dentist so it won’t cost you later.
  6. Compare the cost of every item to how many hours you would have to work to afford that item.

And by the way, you want to listen to him, at 19 he has saved $40,000 for a deposit on his first home.

Then there is the tips for the 30-40’s from Melbourne mother Kylie Travers:

  1. Shop around to save on household bills.
  2. Set aside one day a year for an annual financial review, to go over every bill and all outgoing costs to make sure you’re getting the best deals.
  3. Don’t just pay the annual renewal fees on insurance – shop around and check you’re getting the best deal. Read the fine print on the policy documents to ensure you’re comparing apples with apples.
  4. Look for cash-back and cash reward programs when shopping.
  5. Add the website Honey to your internet bookmarks. It can help you find you the best coupons, vouchers and discount codes on everything.
  6. Set heaters at a lower temperature and dress for the cooler weather.
  7. Turn off everything overnight and don’t charge devices overnight.

Kylie runs a website called the Thrifty Issue – so she knows a little bit on how to be frugal.

Finally, for the 50-plus and retirees, there’s tips from Frank Prem who works part time as a nurse in Beechworth, Victoria. The 62-year-old is preparing to transition out of paid work to focus on writing poetry and was taught to be frugal by his parents.

  1. Invest in solar panels.
  2. For holidays, seek out local escapes and appreciate the amazing diversity within easy reach of your own home.
  3. Trade in your large car for a cheap smaller car.
  4. Prioritise managing debt in simple ways. Live within your means.
  5. Use a joint credit card through the month and have a standing periodical payment arrangement that ensures the full amount is paid off each month to avoid interest.
  6. Pick hobbies that pay. My wife teaches music, runs a picture framing business and is soon to be a qualified massage therapist.
  7. Repair, if you can, to extend the life of broken items.

In actual fact, some of these tips translate across all age groups. Reparing instead of buying new works no matter what age you are. Eating out less is also another one we could all do a little more of (bye bye smashed avo).

A list like this can leave you feeling as though you’re 300 steps behind everyone else. The reality is, the sooner you start to implement some of these tips, the sooner you will feel empowered by your financial situation rather than hindered by it.

Let us know your financial tips and tricks!

I’m on a mission to implement a few of these myself, so I’ll be sharing my journey a little as I look to stop buying coffee (even writing that hurts a little), look to educate myself on better deals out there on household bills and credit cards and seek to live within my means. Wish me luck!

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Neri Morris is the Marketing & Comms Manager at Seed and the Creative Director for Thread Harvest – an ethical online fashion marketplace. Read more from Neri on her blog,