• By Ben Attfield
  • Posted January 17, 2016

Money saving tips from a world champion tight-ar*e (Part 1)

My mate Jurgen is one of the great tight-arses the world has ever seen. When we were in high school he once got mad at me for forcing him to make what he thought was an unnecessary phone call. “Calm down mate, it only cost you 35 cents” was met with “well that's 35 cents I didn't need to spend!”

Jurgen's brand of extreme stinginess might be a bit much for most people, but there are lessons we can all learn from such a master of his craft. Despite many earning larger salaries, Jurgen, who works in retail, is the wealthiest of all my friends around our age (late 20's).

And that's not by having no life or never traveling. He goes out a fair bit and has had half a dozen trips to Europe and North America since finishing school. He's just a very disciplined German bloke that gets a kick out of his bank balance increasing.

I recently sat down with Jurgen and got some of his top tips for saving money.

1. Shop at Aldi – an average shopping basket at Aldi is almost half the price of a similar basket full of leading brands and over 20% cheaper than a basket of Coles or Woolworths private label products. Naturally, Jurgen buys most of his groceries from Aldi. “Over a year you’ll save thousands, which could pay for an overseas trip.”

2. Buy in bulk when on special – even Jurgen has some favourites you can't get at Aldi. He recently saw his favourite brand of peanut butter on sale at Woolworths and took all the jars from the shelf! “If something you consume a lot goes on special, work out what you'll get through beforethe use by date and buy it in bulk.” 

3. Sell and buy things on Gumtree or eBay – “Get rid of stuff you don’t use, but don't simply throw it away, sell it! And anytime you need to purchase something check it out on gumtree or eBay first. I saved thousands by furnishing my entire apartment with decent quality second-hand furniture and appliances.”

4. Research, compare and switch – Jurgen is big on researching his options to find the best deal when it comes to things like bank accounts, power bills, credit cards, phone plan and superannuation. This takes time but can save thousands over the long term. Sometimes all you need to do is ask for a better deal and threaten to take your business elsewhere. 

5. If your friends dare you to do something, always ask for money as an incentive – They’re most likely to pay for the entertainment. “You were probably going to do the dare anyway, so you may as well get paid to do it.” Jurgen recently sat for an hour with a salad bowl on his head for 85 cents (I told you he was one of the great tight-arses).

6. Pay your credit card off before it’s due – Never pay interest if possible.

7. Use Airbnb or private rental accommodation when overseas – “You can often get similar prices to a hostel but in much nicer places.”

8. Get the best price for flights – Find the cheapest flight online then go to Flight Centre or STA Travel and they’ll beat it. 

9. Cinema – Buy 5 ticket booklets as you get a better price per ticket. If you combine this with a loyalty card you can end up getting almost 50% off your movie tickets.

10. Online marketing research – Jurgen uses Nine Rewards to earn digital money and win occasional prizes by completing surveys. This digital money can be redeemed for gift vouchers at retail stores like Chemist Warehouse, JB Hifi and Ticketek. “I just won a $200 petrol voucher!” he said as if he'd won Powerball. 

11. Extend the life of your clothing – “Wear your clothes until they have holes in them or fade. When they have holes repair them, when they get faded turn them into pyjamas or round the house clothes.”

12. If it ain't broke you don't need a new one – Use your possessions until they’re broken or obsolete. You don’t need to upgrade to the shiniest new phone or gadget every year.

13. Cars and petrol – Don’t accelerate too quickly when you drive as it uses more petrol. If you don’t need a car don’t buy one, if you do then buy the lowest fuel consumption car you can find.

We’d love to hear your pro-saving tips – post them on our Facebook page or send them to jason@wealthnation.com

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