New year, new … savings?
It’s the first month of a new year and by now you’ve probably read hundreds of articles telling you how to save effectively for the year ahead.
Budget! Make a plan for your money! Knock over your debts! Consolidate your super! All this advice (and much more) is useful and accessible on websites such as the government’s (ASIC’s) Smart Money guide.
But here at The New Daily, we thought we’d offer something a little more left-field; something that can work well when combined with the sage and sensible advice above.
Writer Mark Twain once said: “The secret to getting ahead is getting started”.
This philosophy also applies to saving. Canna Campbell, financial advisor and creator of SugarMamma TV – a series of videos that break down common money misconceptions while offering financial tips – says that it’s all about doing “little things here and there” rather than uprooting your life.
“It’s nothing far-fetched. You don’t need to change your life, sell your car, say no all the time and totally deprive yourself. It’s all doable – it just needs to be done consistently,” Ms Campbell said.
Make a game of it
Make a bet with a friend either informally or if you want to raise the stakes, through platforms such as FriendBet or BetYou, which allow users to bet with friends on anything, anytime, and using real cash.
Why not bet who can save the most in a month or year? If the loser has to pay up, it just might motivate you harder to save.
If you have a family, do it together.
Ms Campbell, whose initiative The $1000 project encourages people to find ways to save up to $1000 each time before investing it, says putting away $2 coins into a jar and watching it grow to $1000 is infinitely satisfying.
Other games include: Not spending any $5 notes or making a money saving chart, where you pick a number that week – say 10 – which you then put into a separate savings account.
You’ll be surprised how quickly it all adds up.
Use what you already have
Do you own a house or an apartment? A car? Well, here’s an idea: Rent it out.
If you own your own place, why not consider renting it out on Airbnb or Flatmates.com.au? You can either rent a spare room (remember, it’s all tax deductible), or the whole house when you’re away.
If you have a car, why not sign up to car sharing websites such as Car Next Door? It works by renting out “real people’s cars”, which is also great for someone who doesn’t have a car, but needs it occasionally.
If you have a particular passion or a hobby, you can also ‘sell yourself’. Are you a foodie who frequents cafes? Or perhaps you’re a keen urban sketcher. Why not sign up to Airbnb Experiences or WeTeach and sell your skill?
Become more eco-friendly (and cook more at home)
Being aware of your environmental footprint is not only good for the planet, but will actually save you money.
For example, do you really need another plastic bottle? If you’re in the habit of buying just one bottle a day, that’s already $3 to $4 saved every day, about $28 a week and $336 a year.
Same for takeaway; just make your own. Comparison site finder.com.au recently revealed that Australians spend $2.6 billion each year on food and drink delivery through companies such as Menulog, UberEats etc.
That’s about $1590 each. So instead of reaching for your phone next time and ordering a pizza, why not make your own? It’s delicious and saves on packaging and money.
Have your parents (or a trusted friend) give you pocket money
If you’re an atrocious saver, perhaps asking a trusted person to save the money for you will do the trick.
As writer and journalist Emily Power found out, having your parents take control of your money is a great way to save. In her book How to Buy A Home, Ms Power detailed her journey from broke to property owner, and the extreme steps she took to get there – with major help from her parents.
A word of caution: Make sure that this person is someone who can take you at your worst. The journey won’t be easy, and they have to be able to say no.