Once-off guest contributor Melbourne on My Mind invited Cheap Geek and I over for Christmas celebrations this weekend. Except when we turned up at her house, we found out that Melbourne on My Mind’s friends/cousins weren’t the only guests: it turns out that her parents had decided to throw a shindig and she thought it a good opportunity to shout her friends/cousins some free food and booze. According to Melbs, mooching some Christmas cheer off one’s parentals is fair game, especially when one is a financially challenged uni student.
We reminisced over the usual stuff: how a mutual friend of ours kneed her then fiancé in the balls when she caught him cheating at Melbourne on My Mind’s eighteenth and how Joss Whedon is awesome. And then we stumbled over movies currently screening at the cinemas, including Catching Fire and Ender’s Game. Whilst Melbourne on My Mind was desperate to see Catching Fire, she didn’t seem too fussed over Ender’s Game. Being a pov uni student, she told me she had to ‘pick and choose’ what she saw on the big screen.
Most of us are selective with our movie choices. For instance, I wouldn’t spend $20 on a movie ticket to Bad Grampa or Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2; I probably won’t even bother hiring the DVD. Nevertheless, if Cheap Geek and I want to see something, we’ll usually see it within a couple of weeks of it being released.
It’s an attitude that’s foreign to my parents’ generation and yet familiar to our own. And it isn’t restricted to movies. Whatever we want, we have: the latest gadgets and must-have items. No wonder by the time we get to Christmas, we give and receive our material gifts woodenly. Maybe instead of handing over things dressed up in wrapping paper and fancy bows, we should use the excuse Christmas gives to patch up quarrels with family, reunite with forgotten friends, or hang out with your bestie. As they say, ‘It’s the thought that counts’, not the gift, so ditch the wanting and the having and try something thoughtful this Christmas.
Being thrifty allows you to do things other than work and sleep. (Image courtesy of Sean MacEntee under the Creative Commons licence. Note: Sean MacEntee does not endorse the author or the contents of mustbethrifty.com)
Some of my former coworkers are negotiating salaries with their new bosses. Their lifestyles are unsustainable at the currently offered pay rate, which means they’ll either have to accept the work and deal with the financial consequences or find employment elsewhere.
Looking at their situation has made me grateful in regards to my own. I have no dependents*, I have a partner to help share the financial load, the size of our debt is easy to manage. I don’t need to ask for anything higher than the going rate or pick up extra shifts. Instead I can focus on improving other work conditions like less weekend hours and more on-the-job training. I can also actually have a life outside of work and I won’t burn out.
This would not be possible if Cheap Geek and I had nursed our bad spending habits or ‘borrowed to the hilt’ with his car, my house, or our wedding. In other words, there’s always a reason to be mustbethrifty; sometimes it’s just not as obvious.
*Cats don’t really count.
Saving money is hard work when you’re used to spending the entirety (or more) of your paycheque. Here are five ways to trick yourself into saving that little extra bit:
- Automatic savings: set up a scheduled transfer that takes out a small percentage out of your paycheque and deposits it into a high-interest savings account.
- Pocket money: eftpos and credit cards make it hard to monitor spending. Set a maximum spend limit per week and withdraw that amount in cash. A nearly empty wallet will inspire all sorts of rationing.
- Bank it elsewhere: if transferring money out of your high-interest savings account and into your day-to-day account is too easy, set up a savings account with another bank. The inconvenience of waiting a couple of days for your money to appear should be enough of a dampener on impulsive spending.
- Hide it in the home loan: chuck extra money into the home loan. Money goes in easily enough but redraw comes with strings attached.
- Piggy bank: chuck your loose change into a jar. You’ll find you won’t miss it.
Feed your piggy bank. (Image courtesy of J.B. Hill. Note: J.B.Hill does not endorse the author or the contents of mustbethrifty.com)
This month’s bill arrived in the mail the other day and I freaked out for a couple of seconds when I saw the average usage per day. Our household usually go through about 400L but this time round, the bill had jumped up to 857L! Continue reading
Posted in Money Matters
Back in January, I challenged myself into organising a wedding under $15K, about half of the national average spend.
Over the next 10 months, Cheap Geek and I tried to keep to budget. Sometimes we were good. I bought my white wedding dress for $69 at the Forest Hill Salvos. Cheap Geek took advantage of the half-yearly sales and bought a discounted suit. We made our own wedding favours/bonbonniere. Sometimes we were very bad. On a last minute impulse, I ditched my DIY blinged up heels for some $269 Alannah Hill peep-toes. I also went nuts on eBay and Etsy and sourced a whole bunch of doily buntings after my wedding planner professed her love for the things. Continue reading
Wedding dress from Forest Hill Salvos: $69
Dress alterations: $60
Waiting for my mum to turn up at the wedding venue on time: priceless
I had planned on writing a post on discount movie tickets tonight but got waylaid by my parents. Dad wanted to show me a couple of outfits he was thinking of wearing in October.
These flat-soled shoes are the only new things my dad will be wearing on my wedding day.
Unlike Mum, Dad hasn’t bought anything new for my wedding; he had hoped to wear his suit from 1989, the same suit he wore to my sister’s do. We matched the suit with a Givenchy tie from the same decade, and a shirt Dad had bought at a sale a while back. The only new thing he will be sporting on the day is a pair of flat-soled shoes for the lawn bowls green. Continue reading