Financial experts recommend that we keep the equivalent of three months’ salary in a savings account as a buffer against uncertainty. What your Gran would call “saving for a rainy day”. Unfortunately, saving money is not always easy, particularly when prices and interest rates seem to increase every day.
The good news is that saving money is not difficult – all it takes is discipline and routine. Make saving money a habit and you won’t even notice you’re doing it. Here are a few money saving ideas to get you started.
How will you save your money?
Physically, that is. Many people find the best way to save their cash is never to see it. “Pay yourself first” is a mantra that you’ll hear a lot of money experts use over and over again. Do a budget (find out how here). Work out how much you can put aside – even if it’s just $10 a week, that’s over $500 a year. Then, put it aside by having it direct debited out of your bank account each week into a separate savings accounts. Online accounts often offer the best rates – shop around!
So that takes care of the dollars. Now let’s look at the cents. We all have a lot of loose change rolling around in our lives. That loose change equals the easiest money saving idea ever. Invest in one of those large, tin money boxes – the kind you can only get open with a can opener – and put all your loose change into it at the end of the day. You’ll be amazed at how those 10c and 20c pieces add up over the course of a year. Get the kids to help you count it!
Where to find the savings
If you’re serious about saving money, there are several places to turn for help. Other Huggies members are a great source of advice and inspiration – there’s a sample of their savings tips here. Dedicated savings sites such as www.cheapskates.com.au and www.simplesavings.com.au contains thousands and thousands of ideas from dedicated savers.
But you don’t need to be re-using tea bags to save a few dollars. The first place to look when you’re trying to save money is at your spending patterns. Yes, this is where we talk about the price of a cup of coffee.
Whenever someone starts offering savings tips, one of the first things they say is to cut out the coffees from the cafe. At anywhere from $2.50 to $4 for a latte these days, you can easily save up to $20 a week if you're a daily caffeine drinker.
But the key to building savings is being realistic. Chances are you will not cut out every one of those coffees. So perhaps begin with dropping one a week saving $2.50 to $4, and ensuring you put that money aside and the money begins to add up.
Some simple savings ideas
- Pay off your credit cards. While it might seem odd to start a list of savings ideas with some spending, it's important to begin with a clean slate. If you have money sitting on your credit cards, attracting up to 18 or 19 per cent interest charges, then it doesn t matter if you have $1000 in your savings account, attracting 5 per cent interest. You're behind. Focus on paying down your debt, putting regular payments on your card. It's a great routine to get into. Once the debt is gone, simply transfer those regular payment amounts into a savings account and, voila, you're saving!
- Walk, don t drive. With the price of fuel hovering at $1.20 most weeks, every drop you save is money in the bank. If you're a public transport user, weekly passes are a much cheaper option check to see if getting off a stop or two earlier will put you in a different (cheaper) zone.
- Turn off the lights. Electricity prices have increased nearly 20 per cent in 2010 alone, with more increases on the horizon. It's not just the environment that benefits when you save energy by turning off lights when you're not using them your bottom line will too. Don t forget to switch your computers and televisions off, rather than leaving them on stand by. A plasma screen on standby draws as much power as your fridge! And speaking of fridges, if you're running a second, old one in the garage, switch if off when you don t need it. You'll notice the difference in your power bills.
- Check your bank statements. Nobody said this saving money thing would be exciting, but the few boring minutes you spend going over your bank statements can find you some cash. Check your fees are you using foreign ATMs on a regular basis? That's $2+ every single time. Did you pay your credit card late last month? Up to $35 for the late fee! We spend a lot of money simply through disorganisation. Getting on top of our paperwork can really add up.
- Set aside your tax return. Okay, not all of it. But earmark some of it for your savings account. A big lump sum deposit each year can really pay off when it comes to compound interest and help you make real inroads especially if you're saving for a house deposit.
Last Published* December, 2022
*Please note that the published date may not be the same as the date that the content was created and that information above may have changed since.