I did a 30 day money challenge and survived
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.