It’s no secret that saving money can be a tough challenge for most. Whether you need money for a new car or just some extra cash to go out on the weekend, saving is an essential process to get you one step closer to your goals. Below are some tips I’ve utilised to help me save those dollar bills that have actually worked!
Open separate savings accounts (and label them)
Most banks let you open multiple savings accounts, with different interest rates and accessibility. Decide what you need money for, open a new savings account for each expense or goal, and label the account accordingly – for example, “car savings” or “holiday savings”. Being able to read and visualize what your money is going towards will make you more inclined to put it away.
Pick a goal amount, and set a date to reach it
This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I’ve found it really effective. Decide how much money you’ll need and when you will need it by, then count how many weeks you have before that deadline is up (or fortnights, depending on how frequently you are paid). Calculate how much you will need to put away each week to reach those goals, and you’ll be more likely to restrict your spending and up your saving in order to meet that elusive end goal.
Open a locked savings account
Most banks will give you the option to open a savings account that you cannot access without physically going into your bank. This is a great option if you are uncertain about your ability to restrict yourself from sneaky withdrawals from your savings. However, I would also recommend keeping another savings account that can be accessed more easily, in case of emergencies.
Make yourself accountable
Take a look at last month’s account overview and highlight every unnecessary purchase. Expenses such as petrol and groceries – no problem. Excessive spending on items such as a new top and fast food – highlight it. Being able to visually see how much extra money is blown on needless junk might be the slap in the face you need to start taking saving seriously.
Try the 50/20/30 rule
If you’re only trying to put away bits and pieces for something small, or for a rainy day, this rule is an efficient way to ensure you maintain some savings, while also allowing you to have a bit more freedom. This rule requires that each week you allocate 50% of your pay to necessities and bills, 30% on things you want, and 20% gets put into savings. Following this may make you less tempted to dip into your savings, as you are already allowed a certain amount for yourself.
Make plans that don’t involve spending
As tempting as it is to hit up a friend to go grab dinner or see a movie, constantly participating in these activities are going to make a big dent in your bank account. Try swapping dinner at a fancy restaurant for a home-cooked meal. Instead of heading to the bar, invite some friends over for a BYO get together. Keep an eye out for free events coming to your town. Being strict with your money does not have to equal being anti-social.
Put away every $5 note you receive
I began this challenge by purchasing a cheap money tin that could not be opened without destroying the tin. After a year, I had an extra $200 saved – a fair amount considering I hardly ever carry cash. If you want to up the stakes, try making it every 5 and 10 dollar note, or if you are someone that carries a lot of spare change, make it every gold coin. No matter how big or small, the lack of access will restrict you from spending it, and the small amount means you won’t even notice the difference on a weekly basis.
Apply the 10-second rule
When you pick up an item, take 10 seconds to ask yourself why you’re buying it. Do you really need it? If you can’t think of a good answer to either question, put it back. Simple.
Cut out what you don’t use
There may be a few items grabbing at your money each month that aren’t totally necessary. If you’re not watching Netflix or Stan all that often, deactivate your account. If you never really listen to music, cut your Spotify payments. If you’re never hitting the gym, cancel the membership. These small, automatic transactions can be huge wastes if you are never utilizing the service being paid for.
Sign up for free customer rewards programs
Some restaurants, such as Pancakes on the Rocks, give you a free meal on your birthday. Some clothing stores, such as Cotton On, give you $10 off for every 100 points earned. Everyday Rewards and Frequent Flyers do the same. Signing up for these programs can be fun ways to treat yourself when on a budget, and as long as they’re free, you literally have nothing to lose.
Do price comparisons
For necessities such as deodorant or toothpaste, multiple stores will stock the exact same product – but they may not be the same price. Before you leave for the store, have a look at prices listed on various stores’ websites and note which items are cheaper at certain stores. This may mean you do half of your shopping at one store and the rest at another, but this trick can save you big bucks each week.
Saving is tough! So try applying some of these tricks to your savings scheme and see what works for you – you’ve got nothing to lose.