For example, I'd usually pay for parking in the multi story car park even though two extra street blocks away, I can park for free for up to 3 hours. By stopping and thinking about this, I have saved myself a couple lots of parking fees (at $2 per hour) when taking my children out to the Library and other activities that we enjoy. It was far from an inconvenience having to walk those extra two blocks because we were able to stroll along the river, past the fire station and past a bus at a bus stop, all of which delighted my three year old. Win for my hip pocket and for the extra entertainment along the way.
Speaking of entertainment, the kids and I have found plenty to do without spending a cent. Rock n Rhyme at the Library - free. A ride on the "Tiger Bus" (a free city bus that goes around some of the landmarks) - free, into the museum - free. Pushing the pram along the streets, past ambulances, over bridges etc - free. I'm guessing that you're starting to see a theme, we have been enjoying the "free" options that our city has to offer and with no less fun than if we paid to go somewhere.
I myself have been embracing my technology and have been doing exercise routines from an app that I found in the App store (free). Listening to free music on the streaming site Pandora and watching TV through streaming sites like ABC iView (free).
Our craft activities have been free. I made a cubby/dog house/jack in the box out of an old cardboard box for Ewan. I've been scrounging toilet rolls and pine cones for Xmas decorations (a blog about that another day).
I've also started SELLING some old junk on Gumtree. So far I've made $110. Winner!!
Lastly, I'll tell you about something else big that I've saved on. Usually this time of year, after the Winter mud, I'd get my car detailed. This year I decided it was a luxury that I'd have to do without and that I would have to do it myself. Not only is my car clean and shiny but the kids had a ball "helping" along the way. My car really doesn't look any less better than if I had have taken it to get detailed and I've saved myself the $110.
So in summary, I'm starting to see that saving money isn't as hard as I anticipated. It's fun in a way, challenging myself to think of ways to go about my business in a more economical way. We're having a blast in the process and the self satisfaction of doing something myself (like car detailing) rather than paying for the privilege is in itself a saving for my mental health. I'm feeling less burdened, my bank balance for once is looking reasonable (even after a week) and even though we're not spending money, we're all still happy (if not more so).
A while ago a friend had said to me that her new bathroom was great but in hindsight, it hasn't made her any happier as a person than when she had her old bathroom. It's a great point and something I like to remind myself of from time to time. Thanks Cherie for those words of wisdom! Also thanks to those of you who have been sharing your tips. You'll make me a rich woman by the end of this challenge!