Money

How this savvy woman curbed her impulse spending and managed to save $52,000 in one year

Queenslander Rachel Smith surprised herself by saving enough money to put a deposit on a house!

Savvy Queensland-based entrepreneur and author Rachel Smith, 40, managed to save herself an impressive $52,000 a year just by changing a few simple habits.

While Rachel is not the first person to achieve a goal like this - and many of us wouldn't earn enough to save that much - the more advice we get from people who've done it, the better.

After mindlessly spending on things she didn't really need, Rachel found that she was wasting tens of thousands of dollars annually.

But a life-changing trip to India changed her perspective and gave her the tools she needed to curb her spending habits.

"These cities based their lives around more sharing and less waste," Rachel said.

"With less food security than I had at home, I was exposed to the sharing economy and not needing all this stuff. In Mumbai, I was shown around some of the poorest lands in the world where they use everything and value the little that they had. Every piece of waste has a new purpose."

It was this realisation that led Rachel to write down every single thing she was spending her money on and take stock of what was really important to her.

"On New Year's Eve, I made the decision I wasn't going to buy anything new or second hand for 12 months and see how much I would save."

"For example, you might be buying lunch every day and shopping in Zara when what you really want to do is go on holiday. If you realise exactly where your money is going you can cut down where you need to and save for that dream purchase."

By culling her impulse buying, in just a year Sarah saved enough money to put a deposit down on her dream home.

"There were reasons for my impulse shopping," she explained. "I'd reward myself for working long hours. I was earning more than ever, but also working longer hours. So I would treat myself to new clothes or simply go for a shop."

"But once I identified what was important to me, I made sure I created all these different bank accounts. One for bills, one for fun purchases such as my hobby, horse riding, and another for saving. That way you never spend more than you have," Rachel advises.

"Before I didn't have a record of what I was buying," she said. "It's so easy to do … and most of us have no idea how much we spend on a daily, weekly or monthly basis. Eight per cent of us don't keep a record. It's just part of the daily habit.

"Now, if I want to buy something new, I will write it down and have a waiting list which shows the item, price and the date which I can buy it. I quite often find myself not wanting it by the time the date rolls around."

Rachel also advises to swap or borrow things you need on an ad hoc basis such as camping gear or extra chairs for entertaining.

"And if you can get your friends to pass on kids hand-me-downs or used books, you can save further money this way."

Now she uses her intel to help others improve their spending habits.

"After that first year, I had saved over $52,000 and not long after, I was made redundant," Rachel added.

"So I thought this is a great time to write a book, Underspent, and share my story, because after that redundancy, a lot of my colleagues were highly stressed because they had zero savings."