Emma’s Very Specific Top Tips for Saving Money

Lifestyle, Travel

Scrooge. I am Scrooge. I love money. I like to count it.

Rich Dad tells me this is not the best strategy. Rich Dad says I hold money as magical and refuse to part from it, which makes me poor.


This is fair. If I never spend my money and just hoard it in the bank, I might make a small amount of interest but I will never make good investments to make more money. I understand this lesson, but I don’t know how to spend my money yet so in the meantime until I learn more about investing, I will continue to be thrifty.

To help me save more money I’ve been on a lot of ‘Top 10 tips to Save Money‘ websites. And they all say the same things your parent’s have been preaching to you since age 5.

  • Shorter showers.
  • Turn off the lights.
  • Put money in your savings account on pay day.
  • Etc. Etc.

Too obvious, none of it useful.

So here are Emma’s Very Specific Top Tips for Saving Moola. If you have any additional suggestions or tips, I happily welcome them into my life. Plz tell me.

Most experiences have been very successful. A couple of significant failures.

Poster Money

1. Phone less.
I tried living free without my phone. But the lack of Maps access resulted in hours of being lost and ultimate frustration.

So now I’m on the $1 a day prepaid plan. If I don’t spend the daily dollar I get to keep it. And I practically never spent my daily $1.

I can’t remember the last time time I made a $30 recharge on my phone. Maybe February? Best plan ever.

2. Cut my own hair.
YouTube is amazing. I don’t always get the cut exactly perfect, but it’s perfect enough that no-one else notices.

3. Cut Josh’s hair.
This ended very very badly. It was so bad that we couldn’t get a photo because it was beyond funny, and just plain awful.

Imagine this.


I cried and I’m not sure f it was because I felt bad or if I was trying to get out of trouble. Literally the first, and last time I will ever touch an electric razor.

4. Make your own beauty products.
Jenny made me a gentle exfoliator for cracked lips. It was amazing! I tried to replicate and failed, but it’s a good lesson that some beauty products can be made. And if you need lip exfoliator, find a Jen.

photo (7)

5. Catch Public Transport
It depends on where you live, but as someone who doesn’t work in the city, catching the train to  work was an absolute sham. It took more time, and cost me more on a weekly basis.

These are my receipts from one Tuesday:

  • A one way ticket 6 stations = $5.60.
  • CHEAPER: A three hour movie experience with a blockbuster cast = $5.50.


I know what I’d prefer.


6. Never buy clothes, just inherit them from Beaton.
The silver lining to Beaton moving to London is that her clothes were raided by me, several friends, and became dress ups for the local childcare centres.

7. Save needed products for Christmas
These days, when you need something you buy it. It’s so frustrating when you don’t know what to get someone for Christmas because everyone already has everything. AND think of how much more meaning there was for Christmas a few decades ago when people were poorer and at Christmas they got things that they’d be needing and wanting for a really long time.

Last Christmas Josh got me a plunger. This years present list included a broom and pegs. The pegs we were previously using were literally older than I am. They looked this this, they were so weird.


I can’t tell you how exciting it was to get a packet of clean and normal looking pegs. Merry Christmas.

8. Parking
Never, ever, ever pay for parking. There is always somewhere to park! Find an Ap that tells you what the parking restrictions are in the area, and walk a few blocks instead.

9. Meal plan
The world produces enough food to feed the world twice over, but due to wastage half of the world’s food is thrown away. Don’t make guesses on what ingredients you will need to buy to feed yourself this week! Plan, plan, plan.


10. Savings into a flex account
Put the savings you are not going to use over the next couple of months into a flex-account to gain more interest.

11. Enter all free competitions.
You can’t win if you’re not in it. I’ve been on paid trips to UAE and Malaysia after entering essay competitions. Probably because no one else can be bothered entering essay competitions.


12. Drink Water
No alcohol, coffee, juice or soft drink. And especially no bottled water – tap water is free! (To quote my husband “you are so sad”).

13. Plan ahead for Christmas and Birthdays
Keep an eye out for presents throughout the entire year, instead of the month before Christmas. You’re more likely to find something that’s meaningful and affordable.

14. Know the cost of the items you purchase
Josh and I spent a lot of time at Costco when it first opened. But then they put their prices up by like 5 cents. They thought I wouldn’t notice, but I did. Some of the products are still cheaper but some of them aren’t e.g perishable milk costs the exact same at Costco as it does at Woolworths, but at Costco you have to bulk buy and then store it. Don’t assume all the items in one shop are cheaper than all the items in the other.

15. Use nature, instead of a gym.

16. Use free internet sources
McDonald’s, the library, some trains: there are plenty of options. I tried to live without the internet at home but Josh said no.

17. Grow your own vegetables
Make food from scratch. Also it’s a good idea in preparation for a world crisis or zombie apocalypse to know how to farm.


18. Use the library
Why buy books when the library is free! The free aircon is also great for hot weekends.

America 5

19. Track your money
Track your expenditure. In an excel sheet. You’ll be surprised by where your money goes.

20. Work for a charity
Pay less tax.

21. Have great friends
They might play board games, drink wine with you… or feed popcorn to your giraffe.


The good life.

22. Keep receipts
Return faulty goods.

23. Brand names.

Srsly. Macklemore says it all…
“This dream that they sold to you
For a hundred dollars and some change
Consumption is in the veins
And now I see it’s just another pair of shoes”.



24. Magazines
You know you can read the articles for free on their website?

25. Yogurt maker
This is so sad. I bought a yogurt maker to make cheaper yogurt with less additives. After we made the first yogurt it tasted so bad I thought it was off. It wasn’t off… it was the taste of no sugar additives. Sigh. No more homemade yogurt for Emma.

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Becky | Been There, Seen That, Got the Postcard
    October 19, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    I just recently started doing a weekly meal plan to try and save money on the weekly shop. I’m already noticing a difference, and so happy it means more pennies for travels!

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