Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s a MoneyAware article bringing you some bulletproof budgeting tips with a Superman theme.
We’ve worked out that it’s possible to learn a thing or two about your finances from Clark Kent’s alter ego without having to put your underpants on outside your trousers.
You might not automatically connect Superman with being thrifty but whether you’re battling General Zod or battling to become debt free, the principles are often the same. So, faster than a speeding bullet, here’s how Superman can save you money…
1. Find your financial kryptonite
Everyone knows that kryptonite is bad news for Superman; it reduces his powers and makes him unwell. You may not have considered what your own financial kryptonite is but I’ll bet you’ve got a weak spot which ruins your financial plans.
For example, I’ve got a fondness for Krispy Kreme donuts. I know that they’re ridiculously expensive and that you could buy five supermarket branded ones for the same price but, much like Superman in the presence of kryptonite, my powers (of restraint) are weakened and I find myself giving in.
Maybe your financial kryptonite is handbags, gadgets, expensive coffees or meals out. Whatever it is, once you know you’ve got a weak spot you can work out ways to avoid being exposed to it. I now know to try to avoid walking past anywhere that sells those oh-so-delicious-but-dear donuts.
Clark Kent is a clean living guy; you’d never see him in Starbucks or on the cigarettes. But for you, small costs can really weaken your wallet so work out how much your habits are denting your budget.
2. Use your x-ray vision
One of Superman’s lesser-used powers is the ability to see through things with his x-ray vision (I hope Lois Lane had lead-lined clothes).
To be able to manage your money effectively you’ll need to develop your own version of x-ray vision when it comes to managing money.
You can save yourself loads of money if you start trying to see through fancy marketing and look at the real deal. If you’re looking for a new mobile deal you’ll come across slick salespeople and websites that promise you all sorts of rubbish you don’t need to bump up the price.
By focussing on the important stuff you’ll find that you can work out your cheapest options and avoid getting stung. Sites like MoneySavingExpert.com are great for straight-talking advice on cutting your bills and will help you train your x-ray vision. Maybe not quite as cool as Superman being able to look through brick walls, but handy nonetheless.
3. Leap tall buildings in a single bound – the power of bulk buying
By leaping over skyscrapers Superman is saving energy by doing all his building jumping in one go rather than in lots of small steps. Bulk buying is a bit like this. You can save money by buying things you need in one go rather than buying them as you go along. [OK I’ll admit this one’s a little weak, but stay with me, it’ll all make sense.]
Things like toilet roll, shampoo, pet food and tea bags are all cheaper if you buy a job lot of them.
It may not feel all that heroic lugging your bulk buying back from the shops but remember that you’re just doing what Superman would do.
Sadly the comic books and films never cover Clark Kent’s thriftiness but I’m sure his cupboards are overflowing with bulk bought bags of long grain rice.
4. Be a man/woman of steel with your finances
I’m not saying that you should be able to deflect bullets with your iron-like abs, I’m referring to having a steely personality when it comes to managing your money. This might be having the inner strength to say no to something you know you can’t afford, or it might be having the confidence to haggle hard to get the best deal.
Here are some tips to add some steel to your finances:
Keep a copy of your budget handy and only spend money when you know you’ll be staying within the plan you’ve made (read our how to budget article for more tips)
Be tough on when negotiating household bills. If the company you’re with won’t give you the best deal then ditch them and go to a company that will.
Remember to steer clear of your financial kryptonite, to avoid moments of weakness
5. Use your money-saving super powers
Being a frugalista (or an expert money-saver) can be your secret identity and your source of strength. Just as mild-mannered Clark Kent was also Superman, you can be a secret supersaver.
Some people worry that being thrifty might lead make people think they’re stingy or skinflint. If this is you then you can keep your supersaver identity secret, or reveal your identity only among fellow superheroes, on MoneySavingExpert.com’s forums.
Just make sure you use a better disguise than Superman’s method of combing his hair differently and taking off his glasses (this must be the worst disguise ever).
Can you think of any other super power that could save you money?