Think of how hard it is to get fit again after countless months of over-indulging. Every year it’s the same thing. January comes around and we tell ourselves that, this time, it’s going to be different. This time we’re committed! So, instead of gradually easing into a sensible fitness routine, we hit the gym hard for a week or two, pumping those weights and treadmilling as if our lives depend on it. Then it all fizzles out. We’ve tried to do too much too quickly. We lose motivation. And we’re back to square one again.


But what does gym have to do with saving? The key is that you’ve got to be sensible about it. Attempting to dive right in without a plan – and trying to put away more than you can afford – is a recipe for failure. So here’s some free advice to help you make small changes that can result in you saving big money.


  1. Don’t be afraid to say “no.” As obvious as this may seem, it really is the simplest and most effective way to save money. Much like gym, you’ll find that every little bit adds up, and regularly saying no to frivolous expenses like snacks and take-away coffees can save you thousands by the end of the year.


  1. Focus on paying off your debt ASAP. As long as you have debts, especially credit cards and other short-term debt, it’s pointless to try to save. Why? Because the high interest rates you pay on debts will always cancel out any interest you may earn from your savings. It is therefore vital to consolidate and pay off debt as soon as possible, or all you’ll be doing is making someone else rich at your expense.


  1. Make meal prep Sundays a thing. If you were to add it up, you’d probably be horrified at how much you spend on bought lunches over the course of the year. Fortunately, there’s a simple solution. Allocate some time every Sunday to prepare at least three bagged lunches for the week. A roast chicken, a pot of stew, you name it. Divide it up into containers and freeze it so that you’ll always have something available to take with you to work or school.


  1. Eat at home more often. We understand that today’s hectic pace of life doesn’t always lend itself to eating in but, with a little bit of effort, you’ll find that cooking your own meals more often can put a lot more in your pocket at the end of the day. The key is not to scrap eating out entirely. Start slowly and figure out a balance that suits you.


  1. Grow your own food. It’s not as hard as it may seem, and growing your own vegetables and herbs is a sure-fire way to save money. Herbs can grow pretty much anywhere – even in pots inside on a windowsill. It’s also healthier and really rewarding to know exactly where your produce is coming from.


  1. Get yourself a piggy bank. Think back to the one you had as a child. Remember how much fun it was to see first-hand how much you could save over time and know that you had a bit of cash available when you needed it. So why not start one again? Pop your change into it at the end of each day and watch it add up.


  1. Carpool to work and school. Sharing the costs of fuel can make a big difference – to your wallet and the environment. And who wouldn’t like a little less congestion on our busy roads?


  1. Shop smarter. Buy in bulk where you can, especially non-perishables, canned goods, toiletries and cleaning products. Use your bsmart card to earn cash back at any of our retail partners, take advantage of specials and coupons wherever possible, and buy no-name brands where available. You’d also be surprised to know that thrift stores can be a gold mine for clothing, furniture and other household items. It’s all about spending smart, saving smart and living smart.


  1. Make a shopping list before you head out. Having a clear understanding of what you need before you start spending will help you to resist the urge to impulse buy. This is especially important if you are doing more home cooking. List all the ingredients you need, only buy what’s on your list, and you’ll end up with less waste, less guilt, and more money in your pocket.


  1. Spruce up your furniture. Don’t throw out that old chest of drawers or those cushions that have become a little threadbare. Rather touch it up yourself, or have them re-covered. It’s not just a fun way to make your space your own, it’s also an effective way to save money in the process.


  1. Hit the library. Yes, libraries still exist, and they still provide a fantastic way to get your reading fix. Why spend hundreds on books when they’re available at no cost at your nearest library?


Though this is by no means an exhaustive list, we’re sure you’ll agree that it gives you a good place to start. Much like getting fit, getting into the habit of saving takes effort, commitment and planning. So why not give it a go? Start with the simple things and take it from there. You have nothing to lose, and everything to gain.


bsmart is committed to helping you get the most out of life by giving you cash back every time you shop. To see how we can help you save even more, contact us or click here to sign up directly through our website.


Disclaimer: bsmart does not provide financial advice. The above article is for information purposes only, to share current economic and financial topics and trends. Please consult a suitable and qualified financial services provider if you require financial advice.