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Are you constantly reaching the end of the working week only to find that you have nothing to show for it?

Do you aim to put money aside, but watch helplessly as it is eaten away each month by bills and everyday life?

Do you feel that a savings plan will pop the bubbles in your champagne lifestyle?

Want to know how to save money fast and effectively?

If weekends away with the family and nights out with friends are what keeps you sane, then by all means do the world a favour and do what you gotta do to keep that sanity inline and in check.

As humans we are driven by reward. We need incentive to continue working our backsides off. So don’t feel bad if you want to treat yourself to a little somthin’ somthin’ now and then.

But how can you do this and save effectively? imagine the freedom of doing the fun things in life without having to first calculate your remaining credit card balance in your head – which incidentally you don’t do well, because you found it too difficult to pay attention to Mr. Robinson’s monotone sleeping pill of a voice in Grade 10.

Imagine being able to take a holiday at the end of the year without the stress of paying it off the following year.

All of this is achievable, even if you don’t think it is right now.

Don’t define yourself by saying, “I can’t save money” or “I’m no good at saving”. What you have done in the past is not who you are now – I mean, we all used to wet the bed; is that how we should define ourselves, as bed-wetters?

It is never too late to change and create new habits. Incorporating new and actionable practices into your routines each day is the sure-fire way to get back on the right track for your financial future.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.”
– C. S. Lewis

1. Set yourself some goals

Goal setting is a great way to stay focused. Providing yourself with an actual objective that you can clearly recognise and work towards is like finally turning a light on in the dark – Stop walking into walls.

Make sure you set S.M.A.R.T. goals for yourself.

S – Specific – Ask any soldier and they will tell you that, it is impossible to hit a target when you don’t know what you are shooting at. Make sure you clearly define how much you want to save and how you will do it.

M – Measurable – Luckily, money is extremely easy to measure. Keep track of your progress and make sure to keep a record of your finances. Software like Excel is great for this or, if you’re in a retro mood, nothing beats good ol’ pen and paper.

A – Achievable – Make your goals achievable so that you’re continually motivated by your successful efforts – everyone loves a winner!

R – Realistic – No point planning to save $10,000 by Thursday – un…unless you can… if so, why do you need my help?

T- Timely – Set yourself a deadline for each of these goals so that you are focused on achieving.

This is the smartest way to save money, because you are working towards a specific purpose by a specific date and it’s something that is important to you.

2. Avoid shopping when hungry OR have your groceries delivered

Eating before you do your grocery shopping, or having your groceries delivered, is a great way of avoiding sudden impulse purchases.

Remember, companies spend big bucks on researching and enacting marketing strategies to get you spending as much money as they can get you to spend in the stores. It’s not your fault, they’re just Jedi masters at this.

By having food delivered and not shopping when hungry, you can easily save $10 – $15 per week, which can add up to $50 per month. This is easily one of the better ways to save money.

3. Refinancing a home loan using a mortgage broker

The role of a mortgage broker is to source out the best home loan for your circumstances and preferences. It’s not always just about finding the lowest rate.

In most cases it’s free to sit down with a mortgage broker. Just simply phone up and make an appointment. If they find you a new loan that you are happy with, they will get paid by the lender for finding you that loan. The bigger the loan; the more they get paid, so just remember to only borrow what you need and don’t let them talk you into borrowing more than you are comfortable with.

A mortgage broker can save you thousands in interest compared to a loan you would have applied for by just walking into your local bank. Mortgage brokers are dealing with this type of information all-day; everyday and they often have great connections with people working at banks and other financial institutions.

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Better yet, they do all the paperwork for you, so that all you need to do is provide the information they ask you for.

4. Borrow tools and gardening equipment from your neighbours, family and friends

Before committing your hard-earned cash to the purchase of expensive tools and other items, figure out if you will actually use them in the future. Unless you plan on becoming the neighbourhood handyman/woman fixing drains from house to house every second Saturday, why not ask around and find out if you can borrow these tools.

Don’t feel bad about doing this, as I’m sure one day you will receive a knock at the door from someone wanting to borrow something of yours….like your car ….(don’t lend out your car).

Always borrow from a pessimist. They will never expect it back.

– Oscar Wilde

5. Choose holiday destinations based on flight specials

With the arrival of multiple no frills travel companies appearing left right and centre, a day hardly goes by when some amazing holiday special doesn’t pop up.

Getting some R&R internationally has never been so easy, so make sure you plan your trip around the specials on offer. Signing up for newsletters and notifications from flight companies will enable you to keep your finger on the pulse so you can jump on the deals as soon they arrive.

It also allows that little bit of spontaneity in your life and you could end up going somewhere you wouldn’t have otherwise thought of.

Great Ways To Save

That’s it! There are five great ways to save money, count ‘em, five easy to do actionable things you can implement today that will kick-start your savings. Don’t fall into the rut of past experiences; make these changes today so that you can enjoy the quality of life that you have grown accustomed to.