How to sweat the small stuff, part 1

caluclating

When it comes to trying to save, whether for a major milestone or a short-term goal, it's the little things that can be your downfall. While a few dollars here and there does not seem to add up to much at the time, these expenses tend to compound over time, making a serious dent in your budget.

In this three-part series, we will outline some simple ways to cut daily living costs in order to help you maintain a budget. There is an array of tips and tricks that can help you sweat out all those extra expenses from your financial habits.

Food

You probably wouldn't be surprised that food is one of the areas that a significant chunk of our pay cheque goes toward. But how many of us change our spending (or eating) habits to accommodate this?

Some people find the process of making dinner every night far too onerous or time-consuming, reverting instead to buying takeaways and dining out. But if you want to meet the aim you've set with MOVO's Goal Planner tool, it's time to start cooking. What you lose in time you'll gain in health and savings, as making your own meals is cheaper and better for you.

You should also seriously consider making pre-packaged lunches to bring to work. A sandwich made the night before - or the morning, if you have time - will net you serious savings down the line. That $5 wrap may not seem like much, but every day, that translates to $25 a week - or around $100 a month.

You can still go out for lunch with your co-workers from time to time, however.

Transport

With the price of petrol rising, and predicted to continue doing so, transport costs are becoming an increasing share of our spending. It's therefore time to start using public transport. Fortunately, many Australian cities are equipped with good public transportation facilities, from bus services to rail.

You might also think about taking out the bike when needing to travel a relatively close distance, or even walking. All of this will not only save you spending on petrol, it will also take pressure off your car, potentially leading to smaller maintenance costs.