Regardless of the stage you’re at in life, you’re always striving to save for something. A house, a bigger house, an overseas holiday, or your own business. But, for a lot of young Aussies, they don’t know where to begin. What are the achievable steps you can take to keep more money in your pocket?
Sounds like hard work, but it doesn’t have to be! There are many fee free transaction and savings accounts and you can apply for at the click of a button. Check out a comparison site, like Canstar, to find out the best offer for you. (Estimated savings $50+ per account/year.)
Audit your credit cards.
Low interest rate cards, fee free cards, and special balance transfer offers. Do your research and find a better deal than the one you signed up for when you were 18. (Estimated savings per year $100+ per card per year.)
Fee Free ATM transactions.
Even though we’re moving to a cashless society, people are still throwing away money on unnecessary ATM fees. These $2 ATM charges can really add up. You can:
Plan ahead and draw your money out only from your institution ATM
Find an institution that offers wide and free ATM transactions
Get cash out during your weekly grocery shop
(Estimated savings $104+ per year.)
Become more energy aware.
Get back to basics. Spend more time outside and less time in front of your TV and air conditioning. Turn the lights off when you’re not in the room. Keep your winter shower to 2 minutes or less. Simple things that make a difference.
Prepare more meals at home.
Buy more wholefoods and prep more of your weekly meals at home. Stop relying on takeaway foods for lunch and dinner which are usually loaded with salt and sugars – not to mention served in plastic. Do your health, environment, and wallet a favour here. (Estimated savings $50+ per week.)
Create a weekly budget.
The easiest way to track your money is to start a monthly budget. Seriously, open up Excel, and start logging your known expenses. Check out these tips on how to write one.
Pay your bills on time!
The added value in having a comprehensive weekly budget that tracks your known expenses is that you can stop being caught out at bill time. Stop wasting your money on overdue fees and start paying on time.
Moderate your entertainment expenses.
I get it – Game of Thrones is returning and you need to see it to keep up with the lunchroom conversations. Life is to be enjoyed, so I’m not saying cut out your entertainment expenses entirely. But, instead of signing up for everything – where are your opportunities to save?
Instead of $18.50 for premium, try $8.50 at a budget cinema (and hold the popcorn)
Instead of 1,000 channels on cable, try the budget SD Netflix subscription
It’s about balance. (Estimated savings $10+ per week.)
Take advantage of free events.
Council and government owned public spaces offer a lot of free events over the year. From free exercise classes, story time at the library, music, food, and street festivals – there’s something for everyone and they won’t cost a cent!
Reduce your vices.
This isn’t an assault on your daily coffee addiction…or, is it? If you’re used to having 2 mugs of coffee every day – start by reducing it to 1. Or, introduce a double shot espresso instead of a latte – you’ll pay less without the milk but still the same hit. Same goes for after work drinks – if you’re used to having 2 wines every evening, start by limiting it at 1. Or, try going a few days without any! (Estimated savings $60+ per week.)
Buy a coffee machine.
While we’re on it – stop buying coffees while you’re out! Buy a cheap machine and make your coffees at home. You’re also helping the environment by reducing the number of cups in landfill (Estimated savings $50+ per week.)
Use a shopping list app.
Never walk into a supermarket hungry and without a game plan. Download a shopping list app for your phone and only buy the things you need. Like, this free one, Out of Milk.
Buy in bulk.
Have you checked out Costco? There are many savings to be made on items you can buy in bulk. Toilet paper, detergent, baby wipes, nappies – stop buying week to week when you can save $$$ on bulk buys.
Stop buying bottled water.
By a BPA free, glass, or stainless-steel bottle and bottle your own water. Again – mother nature will love you. Plus – the instant hydration will keep you away from those nasty sugary soft drinks. (Estimated savings $21 per week).
Review your health insurance.
We’ve just gone through another fee rise – but, did you do anything about yours? It’s important you do your research with health insurance packages because sometimes you could be paying money for stuff you don’t need – and you’re not covered for what you do.
Spring clean and make a profit.
Give your house a spring clean and pull out all the items you no longer need. Three china dining sets for ‘special occasions’? Time to sell them. If you haven’t used something in the past 12 months, get rid of it.
Clean out your wardrobe, too.
If your clothes are spilling out of one wardrobe and quickly filling up your spare bedroom – it’s time to do an audit. Pull out the clothes you haven’t worn in the last 12 months (or at all) and list them on eBay. The longer you keep them, the less return you’ll get.
No impulse buys.
Approach new purchases with the minimalist view of life. Do I really need this? If it’s just about status or reputation – you can do without it.
Do you and your work buddies live close to each other? Set up a car pool and share the load.
Ditch the car.
I’ve suggested this one before. But, is it time you ditched your car entirely? Do you need to be a 2-car household? Do you live within 7km of the city centre and have access to frequent trains and buses? Save on insurance, maintenance, petrol, and parking.
Public transport instead of uber.
There should be another point in here – uber instead of cabs. And, then public transport instead of uber. Explore your options and plan your trips in advance so you can pay the least amount of money.
Cancel memberships you’re not using.
*cough* How often do you use that $120 per month gym pass? Despite all your hopes and dreams of winning the Australian body-building competition, you need to show up every day. If it’s being wasted – lose it (pun intended).
Remove your credit card numbers from your online accounts.
There was a point I remembered my credit card details and would drop it like it’s hot whenever I saw something I wanted to buy. Remove your details from online accounts (and stop saving them during new purchases) and force yourself to dig out your card and manually enter the details. It will give you a moment to reconsider whether you really need the purchase.
Use your local library.
My wife and I save a lot of money by using our local library to hire out books, DVDs, and movies. You need to book some stuff in advance – but it’s worth the savings!
Start a piggy bank!
This might bring back childhood memories, but having a visible piggy bank on your fridge will encourage you to use it. Make a commitment to empty all coins in it at the end of your day – or, like me, introduce the $5 note game. Every new $5 note goes in the bank.
Cash only lifestyle.
Now you have a written budget to track your expenses each month, you should know how much cash you have left over for unplanned purchases (coffees, cake, new scarf). Draw this out as cash, and live off the cash for the month. Watching your money disappear will help you spend wisely!
Buy on sale.
Only buy new clothes, accessories, and electronics when they’re on sale. Our retailers are on sale almost all year round now – and with the half yearly clearances due any day now – stop paying premium!
Stop paying premium.
For a lot of items, there really is no difference between generic and premium brands. Often, all you’re paying for is fancy packaging! So, for medicines, groceries, and essential items, try buying generic instead.
Host a night in with friends instead of going out.
You don’t need to be Noni Hazlehurst to put on a nice evening at home. Fire up the barbie and get everyone to BYO drinks and chill in the surrounds of a free and comfortable home.
Don’t spend your tax return.
Contentious, I know. But, with tax time just around the corner – the temptation to spend any returns is all too much for some. Instead of throwing it all on a new pair of shoes or celebratory night out, throw it into a high interest savings account and put it towards your house deposit. Better yet, if you already have a mortgage, throw it on your home loan to reduce your amount and pay less interest next time around.
Pick at least 5 things from this list
Yeah, it’s a list of 30 – but wouldn’t feel right without this last bonus tip. Pick a handful ideas from this list and put them into action today. You are guaranteed to save something – and something is better than nothing!
Let me know how you go!