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Review Your Spending Habits

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change your spending habits and enjoy more freedom

Humans are creatures of habit. We like things predictable, we like to know what to expect down the track.

Sure there’s the excitement that comes with a bit of the unknown, like when we fall in love with someone, go travelling or start a new job, but ultimately, even those situations end up becoming familiar and we can predict, not always successfully but we try, what the next step is moving forward.

If you took a moment to peer at your various bank statements, it would be clear that you are indeed a habitual homosapien, your finances reflecting your propensity for patterns. With the same cafes and restaurants accounting for roughly the same amount of expenditure each week or fortnight, our gym memberships, magazine subscriptions, roughly the same weekly spend at the same supermarkets, Netflix or Foxtel subscriptions, and all the other bits and pieces we spend our money on, our spending also indicates what we value and what we prioritise.

Healthy habits can keep us well, active and stress-free and of course unhealthy habits can do the opposite. Spending habits can also be healthy and not so healthy. Mindful, healthy spending can see us investing in good quality items, keeping our credit card for emergencies and ultimately ensuring more moolah is deposited into our accounts than debited, freeing up pennies for our savings. Unhealthy spending habits sees us splurging on small but regular impulse buys, big ticket purchases occur even when cashflow is not abundant, and there is a tendency to reach for the credit card when inspiration strikes.

Our habits are also often reinforced by systems already in place. We tend to stick with what we know because its easier. The same insurers, the same electricity providers, the same mobile phone and internet providers. They bill us monthly or annually and we just pay the bill because if we don’t we’ll be in trouble and we couldn’t be bothered to research an alternative. It seems like hard work researching and sometimes there’s not a whole lot of difference between the options anyway. BUT, sometimes there is. And it’s the small changes over time which can make a big difference in the long term. So $5 off your phone bill per month, combined with $40 off your electricity bill per quarter, combined with a coffee that is 50c cheaper because they don’t charge you extra for almond milk (yes, I’m one of those people). Ending the subscription for that magazine that you never get around to reading anyway, cancelling the gym membership because you only use the treadmill and well, you could just go for a walk instead… All these itty bitty reductions, could take hundreds off your monthly expenses. That’s money you could put towards your mortgage, or a holiday or a new kitchen…

When was the last time you compared your health insurance, your electricity or gas, or tried shopping for your groceries somewhere else? Habits can be hard to dislodge, and once established become much harder to break as they occur at a subconscious level. But even harder when they are automatically debited from our accounts or just one of our many bills to pay. New habits can be created with motivation, and what better motivation than to have more money at your disposal?

As you go through your yearly expenses in preparation for your tax return, also take some time to look over your accounts and check to see which of your small and large expenses could be changed up or even eliminated. They say change is as good as a holiday. What if these changes PAID for your holiday too?   

Alison Gallagher is a freelance writer, resourcefulness expert and entrepreneur. She has been featured in various publications including Stellar Magazine, Australian Health and Fitness Magazine, and Cleo Magazine. Alison is particularly passionate about sharing practical tips on how to live simply, sustainably and seasonally.