The dreaded cost of living question – spend it!
If you trust Wikipedia, Australia has more slang expressions for money than any nation on earth, ranging from a ‘lobster’ for the red-coloured $20 note to a ‘zac’ for the sadly-gone sixpence.
Sadly we are also up there in terms of inflation and the galloping cost of living. We are number seven in the top ten most expensive countries to live in, according to the World Population Review
So apart from moving to the Bahamas (which, believe it or not, is cheaper to live in at number ten on the list), how can we sensibly and maybe with a touch of fun reduce our living expenses?
Many money-saving tips focus on saving a small amount often as opposed to a large amount infrequently.
Sure, buying the cheapest petrol feels good but does it save you as much as getting all your insurance - life, home etc. - in good shape?
And does forgoing a coffee every working day really end up saving you thousands of dollars over a decade or two, or is it a delusion?
I’ll list some of my favourite ways to save money on the cost of living below. Note these are my fun and feel-good tips, not necessarily the most frugal or functional.
What might some of your tips be?
I intend to live by the dictum of Samuel Johnson (the 18th-century wit, not the Aussie actor), who said: “It is better to live rich than to die rich.”
In other words, we’ve earned it and saved it, so now enjoy it. The 2020 Retirement Income Review found many retirees die with the bulk of their wealth intact.
It may be good news for any beneficiaries but not always for those who spent their final years in unnecessary penury.
However, the problem with spending is we don’t know how long we have to fund lifestyles, be they extravagant or not, so certain prudence is required.
So my tips for staring down the cost of living furies, for what they are worth:
- Buying the more expensive item I find is not usually the best option. I tend to cultivate modest as opposed to excessive tastes in wine, shoes, air travel etc. I avoid costly restaurants as I find too many are not nearly as much fun as less presumptuous eateries. When travelling OS I love staying at youth hostels, BTW they are full of older people too, far friendlier and more enjoyable. You don’t have to sleep in dorms. There are private rooms with ensuites too.
- Rarely buy new stuff. There’s a vibrant second-hand market in almost everything, including clothes, unless you are a fashion victim. Sometimes there’s a case for buying a new car - I just never have. My Toyota is 20 years old and survived learner drivers and many bumpy roads. I don’t care much what it looks like so long as it goes. There are not many people I need to impress anyway.
- Life is free - well, almost. Public libraries, beaches, parks, fresh air, sunshine. Start to think about how inexpensive some things are - carrots, legumes, and BBQ chicken - and see how much spending you can shift to lower-cost items.
- Last but not least, do not forgo simple pleasures such as that coffee in a friendly café or a beer in the club. Maybe not too much or not too often but don’t miss out on your simple pleasures. Isn’t Life just too short?
What are your more personal and perhaps quirky ways to face the cost of living pressures short of course of dying?
Any information contained in this communication is general advice, it does not take into account your individual circumstances, objectives, financial situation or needs.