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10 habits for a happier bank balance

by Penina

There are plenty of ways you can save. You could busk by standing on your head while juggling with your feet and blowing a whistle. No just kidding! You don’t have to go to such extremes to save money. There are plenty of logical and easy ways to start saving this month, this week and even this minute! Saving is less about juggling or struggle and more about developing smart and spiffy new habits that will put more money in your wallet and a bigger grin on your chin.

Here are a few habits you can start this week that will set you straight on the path to a happier bank balance:

Habit 1: Join the library

Not only is the library a positive place to hang out, there are plenty of freebies in a library. You can borrow books, music and DVDs as well as have a chat and a coffee with other avid library goers. Libraries are also fab places to discover free and interesting events you can fill your week with. If you haven’t got a library card, go on a small mission to get one this week and reap the savings!

Habit 2: Listen to music for free online and grab awesome playlists

Buying music all the time can be costly and also time consuming. Reap the benefits of other people’s love for music! There are plenty of people online (those super-avid music-lovers) who will spend hours putting together awesome playlists based on mood, genre and even location e.g Beach. My favourite station is 8tracks.com, which has a large number of music lovers and playlists. You can follow people and also have people follow you and your lists. Sites like this are not only fun but they are FREE! Also check out sites like Spotify and Pandora, which are also very popular.

Habit 3: Download FREE ebooks

If you are a little sick of trying to get control of your TV (I am!), why not get into reading interesting eBooks for free? You can download these on your IPAD and have a great read on the couch while others in the house are hogging the remote. You can access Free E-books here and also try Project Gutenberg Australia.

Habit 4: Get savvy with eating out

If you love the odd takeaway night or treating the family to some fine dining occasionally, this wish need not break the bank. There are plenty of ways to grab food deals online. In terms of ordering takeaway check out sites like: Great Food Value, Delivery Hero, Menu Log or Eat Now where you can enter your postcode to find hot deals in your area. Also check out deals sites like Groupon, Deals.com.au and Living Social for awesome discounts on meals at nice restaurants. If you are a family be sure to get to know the best ‘all you can eat’ buffets in your area as well as restaurants that offer kids play areas and ‘kids eat for free’ deals.

Habit 5: Catch up on news for free

If you are short on time and don’t get out to get the paper or you don’t want to pay a subscription online for your news, there are plenty of free news sites, which will have you get in the know and fast. My favourite is News.com.au and their ‘The Stories You Need to Know Today’ section. This gives me a quick overview of what’s happening in Australia and the world before my day starts including story summaries, quick updates, videos and images. Another news source for your phone is a free app called News360. This smart app for iPhone, Android or your PC will get to know what you enjoy reading and curate stories for you from around the web.

Habit 6: Get educated for free and on the cheap

Upgrading my skills is high on my priority list. I spend extra hours each week (after the kids go to bed and in the early hours of the morning) learning new stuff. This simple habit has saved me thousands of dollars over time because I don’t have to invest big money now on hiring people to do stuff for me. Upgrading my skills allowed me to build the Savings Room from scratch! So, I am a big believer in adopting the lifelong habit of learning something new every day. Aside from using YouTube to pick up pieces of a new skill I’m learning , I recently also discovered a few other sites for learning new stuff. One such site is Coursera, which delivers a huge range of courses from leading institutions around the world.

Habit 7: Use apps and web services for free SMS, calls & video calls

An excellent free SMS services is Whats App, which gives you free SMS messaging using your phone’s data plan. A basic user can also create groups, send unlimited images, video and audio media messages. Viber is another like service, which offers free calls, text and picture sharing with anyone, anywhere! Finally, Skype , which has been around for many years, is also a favourite for millions around the world. Skype now offers group video calling, group chat and file sharing. You can also call mobiles and landlines at heavily reduced rates and much more.

Habit 8: Find cheap ways to go on holiday

Apart from the many discount booking and deals sites for accommodation there are also plenty of ways to grab holiday bargains by thinking outside the square. Check out sites like Couchsurfing.com, Aussiehouseswap.com.au, Houseswapholidays.com.au and also Aussiehousesitters.com.au to get your accommodation absolutely free. Just be sure to abide by the website’s safety precautions when booking services.
My BIG TIP for hire cars are relocation vehicles! This year I travelled New Zealand in a campervan and hire car for $1 including petrol! All I had to do was take the car from destination A to B. This was a great way to see the country without the extra (and normally huge) expense of transportation! I used Apollo for my relocation vehicles and they were great to deal with!

Habit 9: Take advantage of freebie sites

Be sure to check out all the ways you can get stuff for free! Start with sites like Zilch and Gumtree. Also check out Facebook groups. I am currently joined with one in my area called Free Stuff – Frankston, which is great for finding freebies close to home.

Habit 10: Go for a walk before a hard rubbish pick-up

Take advantage of hard rubbish pick-ups in your area by your local council. Yesterday I went on a walk with my daughter and picked up a fabulous near-new stroller and a kitchen pantry for FREE!
Note: And no, I did not attempt to walk all three home if you are having that visual. FYI – I walked my child home in the pram and then we came back for the pantry with hubby’s trolley!
Nice one Mum & Co!
Hard rubbish is a great way to get rid of your own stuff, find new stuff and all while you meet the neighbours. It’s a win-win!

Good luck & happy hunting!

So there you have it! If you want a happier bank balance all you have to do is start changing a few habits today and you will be well on your way to having more cash in your stash.
Do you have any tips for saving money like these, which can help others live a better day? Be sure to leave them in the comments below.
Happy hunting!

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