ou know what? Pretty much everyone wants to know how to save money. It’s a fair enough question because there are so many ways to do it, it’s easy to forget all the best tips we’ve learnt to keep our money in our bank accounts and not waste it on useless stuff like late fees and gym memberships we hardly ever use. Total waste of money right?
The thing is, we all know what to do, sometimes we just need reminding. So I put together my favourite ways to save money so it’s here whenever you need it – for the next time you look at your bank account and want a cry a little, just book mark this page and I’ll sort you right out. Here are my 29 best tips on how to save money.
1. Ditch your debt
First things first – you need to get rid of any outstanding bad debt because you’ll just be paying interest and that’s a huge waste of money. It’s hard to make monetary savings when you’re paying credit card interest. You have to pay it off eventually so it might as well be sooner rather than later.
Think about your living expenses and what you could cut down on. Could you be paying less rent? Less gas? Less water? Do you need two cars? Could you get by with one? Every little change makes a difference to your finances so really think about whether or not you need to be paying for everything you’re currently paying for. *Cough* ‘Foxtel’ *cough*
3. Start now
Don’t put off calling your bank to switch to a lower interest rate and don’t chuck your bank statements in a pile on your kitchen counter, only to ignore them. Start today – pick just a few things like canceling your Spotify account you never use. Start slowly but be consistent and you’ll soon be swimming in money like Scrooge McDuck.
4. Rent out a spare room or holiday sub-let your apartment
Although I’m a bit of a tight-ass with my money, I still like to travel but travel isn’t cheap so I like to come up with ways to make it as cost effect as possible. Instead of our very cool urban apartment sitting empty while we’re away, we rent it out on AirBnB. It pays our rent while we’re away and last time we made a profit which we put towards our accomodation on our holiday. It’s a little bit of extra work but totally worth it. Make sure you check out your rental agreement and insurance policies before you do this. AirBnB has been excellent to their past customers who have had bad experiences but just look into the legalities before you do this. We’ve been doing it for a few years now with no issues but it’s always best to be as informed as possible.
5. Have a tangible goal
‘Saving money’ isn’t actually a goal. $20,000 is a goal. $50,000 is a goal. Depending on your financial situation and what you’re trying to save, make sure you set yourself an amount to aim for. Saving for an aimless theoretical chunk of money won’t help you take your goal seriously.
6. Don’t auto save your credit cards online
I know it’s really convenient but don’t make it too easy to buy stuff online – if you have to stand up and physically get your credit card and type in the number, it’s going to be a lot more annoying for you to shop online. Little barriers like this are great for stopping you from getting a little too click happy with your credit card and seriously sabotaging your savings plan.
7. Sell things you no longer need
If you have two last model iPhones, a couple of games consoles, a motorbike and spare freezer you never use, take some photos and put them up for sale on Gumtree or eBay. You could have an extra few thousand dollars sitting around your house that you didn’t even know was there. A few thousand dollars that would be much more use in your bank than sitting in your garage.
8. Automate your savings
If you get a regular wage, you can automate it so that your chosen savings amount comes out immediately. That way you don’t even have to think about saving. Most high interest savings accounts will penalise you if you withdraw funds so once they’re in there, they’re as good as gone. This is a great tip if you tend to self sabotage.
9. Be consistent
Savings only work if you do it consistently. If you only put money in your savings account twice a year, it’s going to take a very long time for it grow. You need to nurture your savings like a wee little plant. Pay them attention, give them a lil’ loving and they’ll grow in to a very healthy money-tree for you.
10. Ditch a vice
If you have a sneaky mid-morning muffin habit or you like to buy a gossip magazine on Friday afternoons, stop buying these little treats and put that money in your savings account. If you give up your weekday cafe muffin you could save over $1000 in a year.
11. Batch your cooking
Rather than grabbing takeaway a few times a week, always make double batches of everything you cook that is also freezable – curries, stir-frys, soups. That way you’ll always have something in your freezer for dinner so you don’t drop $50 once a week at your local Thai joint.
12. Pay your bills on time
One of the biggest wastes of money is paying late fees or admin fees if you fall behind in your payments. Make sure you have a system so you don’t forget to pay important bills. It can be simple as putting a reminder in your calendar or even setting an alarm on your phone to pay your bill on the right day. However you choose to keep track of things, make sure you don’t waste even a cent on late fees if you can avoid it.
13. Go through your credit card bill every month
It’s easy to just swipe things through on your credit card and not give it another thought but once a month, make sure you go through your credit card bill to make sure you aren’t getting ripped off. Unsubscribe to things you don’t use anymore and make sure you keep an eye out for any weird things like getting charged twice for a cab. Credit cards aren’t fool proof so make sure you check your statements regularly.
14. Change phone plans
If you’ve had the same phone plan for years and you’ve never changed it, have a look around and see what’s available. I recently changed phone providers and I’m now paying $50 per month for three times mobile data I had when I was paying $120 per month. It’s ludicrous. Also mobile providers will often give discounts to keep you in their service or give discounts to get you to switch from another provider. Play them off against each other to get the best deal. Be a bit of a brat to get the best deal. It’s totally worth it.
15. Buy expensive things
This sounds counterintuitive but hear me out. I use to buy inexpensive things like cheap ballet flats. These shoes would wear out very quickly and have to be replaced. I’d go through 5 pairs of $20 shoes in a few months and then have to start the cycle again. A good quality pair of shoes will last years and will be far better value in the long run. It seems like you’re wasting money by spending it but well spent money is never wasted.
16. Hire an accountant
In Australia, the cost of an accountant is tax deductible so technically you have to pay for an accountant once and then it’s a tax deduction from then on. It’s so worth it. They’ll be able to find extra expenses and help you pay the least amount of tax possible. It’s a great investment. Ask around your mates to see if anyone has a decent accountant.
17. Cancel any memberships you don’t use
Gym memberships, cinema memberships, magazine subscriptions of magazines you never read. Ditch them all. If you’re not using it, it’s money wasted.
18. Put aside a certain amount every pay
Some experts recommend putting aside 10% of every pay check but just do whatever works for you. It can be difficult to work like this if you’re a freelancer or casual employee but choose either a percentage or a specific dollar amount to put aside each pay and be very strict about doing it. You really need to commit, even when times are tough.
19. Save all your $5 notes
I read a story on Facebook the other day about a guy who saved thousands of dollars in one year by simply saving all his $5 notes. Every time he got a $5 note, he’d pop it in a box and by the end of the year he had heaps of them. Give it a go – now is as good a time as any to start!
20. Put a time price on everything you buy
Sometimes if I decide I want to buy something, I’ll figure out how long it took me to earn the money to buy it. So if I want to buy a dress that’s worth 1.5 freelance articles, I’ll have to decide if it’s properly worth it before I buy it.
21. Make use of rewards programs
I have a credit card with St George that gives me points whenever I use it. I never use these points for flights (it’s just too damn hard – you have to book too far in advance and you can only use them on weird flights) so I use the points to get vouchers at Westfield instead. Every year or two I get about $400 in vouchers that I use to buy essentials like sheets or kitchen appliances that need replacing and it doesn’t cost me anything.
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Are planning on saving money this year? How much? And what’s your game plan?
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