I’m a man of facts. I like straight-talkin’.

The truth.

You know, the good stuff.

As is often the case, the best budgeting advice I ever received came in the form of a statement of fact:

There are only two ways to save money:

  • Spend less; or
  • Earn more

I put that exact message in this video, which we produced recently.

And when I did, my partner laughed at me. Almost mockingly. As if to say, “well, that’s obvious.”

She was right.

It is.

It’s damn obvious.

So obvious that many of us just laugh it off.

Earning More

Us humans, we don’t like adversity. Like water flowing downhill, we’ll take the route of least resistance if we are given a choice.

That’s why many of us focus on the earnings side of the equation. If we earn more, we’ll save more.

It’s easy.

Right?

Wrong.

When we plan to move up in the corporate world, our bad habits are the first things we pack.

Instead of a $5,000 yearly holiday, our budget becomes $10,000.

But there’s a simple fix: Make the pay increase a mandatory saving.

Earning $50 more per week does not mean the $100 ‘Dinners Out’ account becomes $150.

Spending Less

Get rid of my ‘Shoes’ account?

Did you say ‘Aldi’ or Audi?

OMG, it’s soo hard.

FML.

Being in investing, I’ve met some really rich folks in my time. Really rich.

Get this…

A fist full of US$100 bills once fell out of a guy’s pocket, as he reached for a business card.

Just kidding.

That didn’t actually happen.

Contrary to what you may think, many of these rich folks didn’t drive a Ferrari to work, but refused to drive a car at all.

In fact, most took the bus.

You see, many of us think wealth is measured by the amount of ‘stuff’ we have.

Cars, pools, lounge suites, which type of cutlery you own, plasma TVs.

It’s all ‘stuff’.

And it’s not a sign of wealth.

But what will my friends think about me?

We don‘t need to sacrifice our popularity or happiness to become wealthy.

 

Sure, the big things (cars, houses, etc.) cost us the most, and we can make big savings if we do it right.

But it’s the little choices that hurt us, because we make so many of them.

It’s habitual.

One coffee is fun.

(And a necessary part of ‘breakfest and coffee’ on a Saturday morning with friends)

But two coffees?

An extra coffee every Monday thru Friday is $800 a year.

An ATM fee once a day is $750 a year.

And don’t get me started on groceries.

(I said, ‘Aldi’ – with a ‘D’)

But the best thing about cutting the little things out of your budget is that no-one notices.

You can still see friends, own a plasma TV and eat out.

Best of all, you won’t be that guy.

You know the one.

The guy who texts you a screenshot of the fuel bill from a weekend away with the words:

“I won’t count the kms. We can split the fuel. Sound good?”

What a great guy.

Bottom line

The way to supercharge your savings is to put a wedge between your income and costs.

It’s not a big deal.

Have your big ticket items. Just be sensible.

And when it comes to the little things, be smart and actually realise the savings by putting them to work.

Try to make it fun by challenging yourself or your partner.

For example, if you’re in a relationship, who can save the most? Instead of going to the movies, watch Netflix — that’s a saving for whoever suggested it.

The saver gets half; the other half of the saving goes into a holiday account or towards something special.