It’s one thing to squirrel your hard-earned cash into a bank account – and yet quite another to use those dollars to save even more money.
Let’s assume you can scramble together $1000. Perhaps you could do it in a month just by cutting your living costs (here’s a guide). Or, you may have landed a work bonus, tax refund or other windfall.
It would be child’s play to burn through that cash in a heartbeat. But before blowing the lot, why not consider these seven ways to make your money work harder … so you don’t have to.
1. Pay off your credit card NOW
I have zero qualifications when it comes to giving financial advice (apart from my own life experience), but if you’ve got $1000 to spare, and you’ve racked up debts on your credit cards, what are you waiting for? Pay that thing off quick-sticks before your original purchases double, or even triple in price.
For example, my last credit statement was $183.19 in debit. If I’d paid just the minimum $25 the bank required per month, it would have taken one year and 11 months to pay that sucker off, which by my calculations would add up to $575. Errr…
2. Prepay some bills
Someone who is an expert – adviser Will Chapman, of Goldsborough Financial Services – recommends considering using the $1000 to prepay some bills. He says while it may sound a little odd, utility companies often offer decent discounts for paying bills well in advance.
“A five per cent discount for paying two weeks early would otherwise take about 15 months or more to earn equivalent interest in the bank,” says Mr Chapman. “That bank interest would also be subject to income tax and by pre-paying, you avoid expensive penalty fees for late payment.”
3. Don’t earn much? Consider this
If you’re a low-income earner and have a spouse (or de facto), you are eligible to get a spouse super contribution offset of 18 per cent if you make a contribution on their behalf to a complying super fund or retirement savings account. Mr Chapman says if you contributed $1000, this could offer a direct income tax saving of $180. Click here for more details.
4. Peer into the future
For longer-term investors, especially higher-income earners, Mr Chapman suggests giving Investment Savings Bonds a thought.
He says because withdrawals are free of capital gains tax after 10 years, they are a particularly good way for parents to save for their young child’s education.
5. Boost your retirement savings
OK, it might be a wee way off yet, but financial planner Michael Miller says an after-tax contribution of $1000 to your super could net you a government co-contribution of up to $500. Your income level will play a part in the kind of benefit you’ll receive.
6. Stop wasting energy dollars
Mr Miller also recommends organising an energy audit of your home, to find out “where you can make changes today that will drop your energy bills today, tomorrow and long into the future”. Good idea.
7. Get yourself a good coffee machine
It might be a bit of a luxury purchase, but if you’re a three-plus-cups-a-day kind of person, and won’t consider instant as an option, then a coffee machine might be worth the investment, says Mr Miller.
“Pod machines will drop the cost of a cup of joe from around $3 to under $1, so even if you’re only on two cups a day you’re going to save $1460 in a year.”
This article was originally published on Hey, Little Spender!
The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.