Here are little things you can do to start saving money today
We’ve all heard the experts preaching to us that we need to be saving money for a rainy day – for our superannuation, for our retirement, for health emergencies, and hopefully for holidays.
But it’s not always easy, is it?
If we're honest, deciding to split your pay and putting some into a savings account can be scary. What if we need that cash one week? And then what if we look at that savings account to transfer money out and we’re tempted to take a bit more than we need…
The great news is, there are much better ways to save money.
And they’re so easy to do.
9 easy ways to save money in your household
1. Set your savings goal
No one is going to ride you about your goal setting and hold you accountable (except your own conscious) but setting a savings goal will help you be more aware of what you’re spending. For example, if you decide to save at least $50 per month and you’re not hitting it, you can have a look at all the little things you’ve thrown money at that may add up to it (i.e. the second coffee at the café, the chocolate at the checkout etc.).
2. Be prepared before food shopping
Grocery shopping can be the biggest money wasting activity of your week. If you’re not prepared (or you take your kids), you’ll get to the checkout and find random items in your trolley. Before you go shopping:
a) Clean out your fridge so you know what you do and don’t have – check the use by dates and freeze any leftover dinners that can be reheated again during the week.
b) Make a reverse shopping list – write down everything you already have so when you’re at the shops, you don’t buy it again. OR, create your shopping list of what you do need, but be strict and don’t stray from your list!
3. Pay your bills on time
Most utility companies are happy to give you a ‘pay on time’ discount. They are usually only a few percent (5% or so), but every little bit counts. If you apply this discount every month over the year, you’ll be surprised what it all adds up to at the end of the year.
4. Avoid bill shock
We’ve all had those moments when a bill pops up, and we’re left thinking, ‘Oh gawd, how the hell am I going to pay this?’. It’s usually one of those big once a year bills like rates, insurance or car rego. Schedule these bills in your calendar and mark them as recurring yearly (do them a few weeks before they’re due). Then when they roll around the following year, you’ll be able to prepare (or save in advance) and not be left short.
5. Get those freebies
These days most shops have reward cards, and you should sign up for them all. And don’t get turned off because you’ll have a purse full of cards as you can use apps like Stocard that will store all your cards electronically. You’ll love the benefits like money off your next purchase, or items in return for points you’ve earnt.
6. Turn off your lights
Kids (and sometimes the big ones too) have a great habit of walking out of a room and leaving the lights blazing. Start by making sure all your light bulbs are the energy efficient ones, and then start an electricity money jar – every time they leave a light on, charge them! The money goes into the electricity jar to help pay the bill, and they’ll soon realise it’s better if they turn off the light.
7. Drink more water
You’d be surprised how much you spend on soft drinks, cordial, juice, primas and alcohol! Now I’m not going to be super boring and say you should never have these fun drinks, but if you limit them to one a day and switch the rest for water, not only will you feel healthier (and your body will thank you), but you’ll be saving money as water is much cheaper.
8. Review your home loan
Did you know that most lenders will allow you to negotiate your interest rate every 6 months? It’s not something they’ll tell you (as they love taking your money!), but with so many new products on offer, and interest rates varying, you can always strike a better deal. One phone call could save you thousands over the life of your home loan. And those thousands could be your next holiday!
9. Get a piggy bank
You’re never too old for a piggy bank. You’d be surprised how much small change you end up with – when your purse won’t close, in the bottom of your bag, in the console of your car, in the washing machine. Rather than leaving it, gather it all up and pop it in your piggy bank. When it’s too heavy to lift, head down to your bank and deposit it into your savings account. Most banks have counting machines now, so it doesn’t take long.
Here are a couple of ways my friends have saved money (names changed!)
Katie uses a daily orders board and plans out her weekly menu. She writes a shopping list and sticks to buying only the things on her list. Katie’s weekly shopping cost has now reduced from $300 to $175. She’s also developed a superpower; avoiding those appealing purchases in the middle of Aldi and the clearance racks at Woolies! If it’s not on her list, she avoids buying it.
Jamie made a phone call to her bank to ask if there was anything better she could do with her home loan. They negotiated a rate drop from 4.39% to 4.29%. Now although this doesn’t sound huge, it will save her $7000 over the life of her loan. I don’t know about you, but I’d prefer to keep that money than give it back to the bank.
Print or save this infographic to remind you of these easy ways to save - Download it here
Stop having money saving anxiety
Saving money doesn’t have to be hard or scary. I guarantee when you start doing these small things, you will start saving money without it feeling like a chore. Stop stressing out over money and get organised to save.
If you want help planning out your weekly meals, bills and shopping list check out the Daily Orders range here.