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How to avoid spending more money than you need?

“Financial Independence, Retire Early”, or FIRE, has been a major topic among young people recently. A major part of the movement is learning how to save money and live on a budget. Here’s 4 ways to help you avoid spending more money than you need.

Too long; didn’t read;

  • Delay checking out online shopping cart.
  • Make coffee and meals at home.
  • Audit your expenses monthly.
  • Bargain your subscriptions.

Delay checking out your cart

This is a golden nugget. It has saved me so much money on purchasing things that I don’t need. Here is the idea: when you want to buy something online, whether it is a fan for the upcoming heat day, or a new book that you would like to read; you can put them into the shopping cart, leave it there for a couple of days. If you still want to buy the item, then it’s necessary to buy and you can proceed to whip out your credit card.

There are benefits to this. One is you have a couple of days to think, really think about whether the item is necessary or not, and therefore give a better decision. Another thing is some store will actually follow up with your cart via phone calls or emails. More often than not, they will offer some incentives, or discounts to get you to buy. So in the case that you really need the item, chances are you can purchase that item with a better price.

Make coffee and meals at home

This one is quite controversial, as some will say it’s better to spend the cooking time to make more money. Some will even consider the cooking time an opportunity cost, which most of the time is just an excuse. It is not an opportunity cost if you don’t specifically use that time to do something meaningful.

With my current financial situation, I think I understand it a bit more than others. Considering one coffee cup will set you back $5, while making it at home, or utilise the coffee machine in the office, will cost you no more than $0.5. It is nice to enjoy a great cup of coffee every now and then, but if you need your fix everyday, doing it yourself is the best way to go.

Meals can be a bit different, as it depends on your diet. For myself, if I don’t eat out completely for a month, it costs me $300 for food groceries. This includes meat, vegetables and fruits. You can see that most of the savings are actually through food and beverages.

Audit your expenses monthly

Anyone who is following FIRE movements will do this religiously. The goal is to control your finances. Small spendings like Netflix, Amazon Prime subscriptions are small and if you don’t audit the expenses, they will just slip through your eyes. Every month, you have a chance to question yourself whether the subscription is worth it. Another thing to pay attention to are the unusual payments. If you cannot recognize the transactions, contact the bank and figure it out. There are cases where people get scammed into exposing their credit card details, and get charges for the payments they don’t recognize.

The process is very simple, you get all your bank statements, split the transactions into different categories, and try to make sense of every transactions. I have described in details here.

Bargain for your subscriptions

Last but not least, you can actually bargain everything. Since the start of rate hiking earlier in 2022, I picked up the phone and call the banks to readjust my variable rates, so that the increment is not according to the RBA increment. It works most of the time, and I managed to pay a lot less money in interest.

Not just that, by being creative, you can actually save cost on phone plans and internet. For example, I noticed that I spend a lot of time at the office and not much at home. I adjust my phone plan to a higher payment, but offer a lot more mobile data. Then I cancel my internet and just use my mobile data when I go back home.

Another example is rental increase. Some people will just accept the amount without any resistance. I urge you to research the rental amount in your area, and bargain accordingly. With the right data, you can get the correct rental amount that is suitable for your budget. You can browse the rental data using RealEstate or Domain.

There are other ways to take advantage of the services that you are using. All you have to do is ask. The worst thing that can happen is you don’t get it.


Everyone is entitled to live their lives. However, some of us strive to live below our means now so that we can live better in the future. If you find this useful, please support me to continue writing quality blog posts in the future.

“Spending money to show people how much money you have is the fastest way to have less money.”
― Morgan Housel, The Psychology of Money

By Tuan Nguyen

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