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I Tried 11 Hacks To Save And Make Money, And Was Pleasantly Surprised

For one month, I took all the advice the internet gave me when I googled shit about gettin' rich.

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Hello, my name is Gyan and I'm low-key hopeless when it comes to managing my hard-earned cash money.

Gyan Yankovich

I'm the kind of person who whinges about being broke over a $30 bowl of pasta with a glass of $12 pinot on the side. I spend way too much money on weird overpriced novelty shirts. (See above.) And every single payday, I promise myself this will be the month I properly manage my cash.

Thirty days ago, I decided enough was enough. I promised myself that for the next month I would do everything in my power to save – and potentially make – as much money as I could. Here's how it went down:

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1. Make your morning coffee at home instead of buying it from a café.

Gyan Yankovich

This is literally the oldest trick in the book/website archive/women's lifestyle magazine. I already made my coffee at home most mornings, so this was an easy one. Being a lame double-shot-loving soy milk drinker, this saved me around $20 a week.

2. Where possible, use cash instead of card.

Gyan Yankovich

As a former PayPass addict, this hack was honestly life-changing. At the start of the month I divided the contents of my handbag in two. I kept my cash in a coin purse, along with my commonly used cards: my Opal, ID, and gym pass. I kept the rest of my cards, including my debit and credit card, in a card holder. The easy division made reaching for the purse a habit, and reaching for the cards something I had to put thought into.

At the start of each week I withdrew the money I had allocated myself to spend. As an experiment, I tried withdrawing half of what I normally spend each week. Operating in cash made me so much more conscious of the fact that I was giving away my money, I was able to stick within that budget for the whole month. Wild.

3. Collect all of your spare change in a jar.

Gyan Yankovich

My version of this trick involved emptying all the coins from my purse into this jar each morning when I got into work. On the first day of my challenge I threw in 35 cents. By the end of the month, I had $31.90. Sure, it's not about to cover my rent, but it's money I didn't miss or waste on dumb crap.

4. Do online surveys to make extra money.

Gyan Yankovich

Honestly, just don't bother doing this, yeah? Literally, it is not worth it. After a month doing surveys while I ate my lunch at my desk, or at night while The Bachelorette was on in the background, I ended up with a total of $16 in my account. The minimum withdrawal on the site I signed up to is $20, so I was basically granted nothing for my efforts.

5. Enter as many competitions as you can.

Gyan Yankovich / Via Snapchat

Man, did I take this advice seriously. Over the course of a month I entered every online competition I spied. I tried to win $1 million, a car, new pillows, workout gear, a bicycle, an ugly watch, and that many holidays I can't even begin to list them. I won nothing. All that I have now is a junk email folder that's being absolutely flooded with promotional bullshit. Bummer.

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6. Try having "no spend" days.

Apple

I actually really loved this. Some mornings my boyfriend and I would promise each other to try and have a "zero dollar" day. Basically, this meant packing lunch for work, making dinner out of stuff we had in the fridge, and avoiding public transport. We managed to have two or three a week! It was always satisfying if we both made it to the end of the day without spending anything. It's the little things, I guess.

7. Cook in bulk and plan your meals.

Pinterest

I'm pretty much the opposite of those people who upload boiled chicken and rice "meal prep" photos to Instagram. My version of this money-saving advice was to cook one big meal on Sunday, and eat it whenever I was home during the week. One perk of being vegetarian is that your food stays good longer, so curries, soups, and lentil dishes lasted most of the week, filling the gaps between nights I spent eating with friends.

8. Sign up for loyalty programs.

Gyan Yankovich

One of the first things I did at the start of this challenge was check in on the customer loyalty programs I was already signed up to. My Everyday Rewards card had my old address. My Priceline Sisterhood card wasn't properly activated. And I didn't even own a Flybuys card, despite shopping at Coles most of the time. By the end of the month I'd earned enough Flybuys points to get me $10 off my next shop.

9. Try picking up odd jobs to make some extra cash.

Airtasker

If you haven't heard of Airtasker, it's basically a nifty website where people can post random things they need done (think cleaning, Macca's deliveries, gardening, and resumé help) and other people can apply to be the person who does that job. It's a super-clever idea.

I signed up and ended up completing two jobs: 1) checking the grammar on a lady's Etsy product descriptions, and 2) downloading and reviewing a new app. In total I made $25. Tbh, I probably could have made way more if I started doing people's end-of-lease cleaning, but really, I couldn't be bothered. Also, I am a terrible cleaner – ask my boyfriend.

10. Sell the clothes you don't wear any more on eBay.

Gyan Yankovich

This is something I've done before and definitely recommend. My mistake this month was taking crappy photos and making my prices way too high. What a rookie! In the end though, I made them too low and ended up selling a brand-new top for $2, which is really just not worth a trip to the post office in peak hour.

11. Keep track of who owes who money in your household.

Splitwise

I realllllllly wish Splitwise had existed when I was living in a share house. In the app, you can create a group for your household that all your housemates then join. From there, you can all enter things you paid for. At the end of the month, or fortnight, you can settle the balances and get a total amount owed.

My boyfriend and I have a joint account for random expenses like food and taxis so this wasn't that useful, but it's still cool.

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Using cash instead of card really helps you keep track of your spending. Saving your coins is also way easier if you're doing this.

Competitions and online surveys are not a viable way to make money. This is kind of a given, but still, it's important to remember.

Becoming a ~conscious spender~ is the single most important thing. Swiping loyalty cards, cooking in bulk, and cutting down on costs like coffee are all insanely easy and insanely helpful.

In the end I saved about $230, and made $81 from eBay, Airtasker, and dumb surveys. Once you train yourself to take notice of where your money goes, it's way easier to hold on to it.

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