Sometimes it’s the smallest change that can make the biggest difference when it comes to saving money.
With a recent report by ME Bank revealing more than 50 per cent of Australians were unable to save each month, finding any extra cash is a bonus.
A further 42 per cent of households were breaking even on their monthly budgets and 12 per cent were overspending, drawing on mortgages or savings.
But savings are essential. As Jeff Oughton, ME Bank’s Consulting Economist, told The New Daily: “For someone who doesn’t have a house, and who has a small amount of savings, absolutely, they’ve got to build up their savings.”
Below are 10 simple tips to get you saving without having to compromise on your lifestyle. The hints are effortless and you will barely notice that you have shifted to a saving mindset.
1. Leave your cards at home
SavingsGuide.com.au money expert Mr Wilson recommends to leave your credit and debit cards at home for three days per week.
“This removes temptation to spend, and over the course of five working days, this will reduce spending by as much as 60 per cent.”
Read more: Ten ways to control your credit card
2. Small change, big savings
An easy way to save is to collect small change each day and put this into a jar or money box. Once you reach $100 or more put this into a savings account or towards your credit card.
Set up a system where part of your salary is automatically transferred into superannuation, saving account or paying off debt. The benefit of setting up this type of saving is that it is done before you get your hands on the money and start spending.
4. Phantom debt repayments
Savings Guide’s Mr Wilson also says after repaying a debt, continue to deposit the repayments into your savings account.
“You already have established a repayment routine; why not just carry this over to your savings?”
5. Increase your superannuation contributions
A small increase over and above the compulsory 9.5 percent contribution will make a big difference over the lifetime of your savings.
By increasing your contributions by one or two per cent the money will start compounding, providing an opportunity for your superannuation savings to grow and give you a greater balance on retirement.
It’s easy to increase your contributions, either have your employer do it for you or contact your superannuation provider. You’ll barely notice it and you’ll be glad you did down the track.
6. Additional income
Any additional income that may come from birthday money, a raise, tax return or selling unused items on ebay put this money towards a savings account, superannuation, mortgage or paying off any debt.
7. Put a delay on retrieving your savings
Open a Notice Saver account, says Mr Wilson. This is similar to a term deposit and offers high interest, but with one catch, you must give 30, 60 or 90 days notice to access your money. The delay is a great way to avoid impulse purchases.
8. Remove the temptations
If you find that you’re constantly tempted with emails from shopping sites and discount offers, then click the ‘unsubscribe’ button and remove the temptation. Likewise, if you always walk past a particular pastry shop and buy more than you need, change your route. Later, if you really need an item, you can always go back to get it.
9. Around the home
ASIC’s MoneySmart website recommends simple changes like spending the weekend going through the house and changing old light bulbs to more energy efficient compact fluorescent ones. Also consider making a switch to water-efficient shower heads and you’ll save at the very least $100 a year in an average house in Melbourne.
Entry level price for shower heads start from $15 to $30 and are well worth the savings. Shorter showers will cut down the water bill too, as will turning off the lights when not in use or any other appliances.
10. Take advantage of discounts
Take advantage of half price movie nights and only buy petrol on discounted days – you can search for the cheapest price on websites like Motor Mouth. These days petrol prices bounce by as much as 20 cents from the low end to the high end in a week. For an average 60 litre petrol tank, you can save as much as $15 a week or $65 a month by buying on the discount days.