7 tips to help you save money

3 min

First appeared in The Cusp.

Saving money can be hard, especially if you’ve got a history of overspending, impulse purchases and a long list of unachieved financial dreams.

But everyone can save money, it’s simply about knowing how to make smart and informed decisions.

Here are seven savings tips you should consider putting in place today.

1.  Have a plan to save money

Having a solid financial plan is the foundation for saving real money and achieving your monetary goals. Whether you’re saving for a weekend away or a house, when it’s mapped out properly it’s easy to see what has to be done to get there. 

‘Confident savers are those who set targets to work towards and have a clear savings plan,’ says Laura Higgins, Senior Executive Leader – Financial Capability at the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC). ‘Set a specific timeframe to achieve your goal and tell your family and friends about your goal so they can keep you on track. A goal without a plan is just a wish,’ she adds.

2. Be consistent

Like having a strong plan in place, Higgins says that consistency is key when it comes to saving money. Eliminating small, unnecessary daily spending and making regular contributions to your savings helps keep it front of mind, chipping a little away at a time. ‘Whatever your situation, finding a regular habit you can kick is a great way to make a difference,’ she says. ‘Areas to cut back can include spending on vending machines, over-spending on nights out, or too much retail therapy. If you can plug some of your spending leaks and put that unspent money into a separate savings account you’ll see the benefits build.’

3. Avoid Advertising

From social media to television, radio to magazines, there’s no shortage of places for advertisers to make a compelling pitch to you on why you should buy their products. And they’re more effective than ever, targeted specifically based on information provided in your social media profiles and shaped by your online behavioural patterns.

However avoiding advertising doesn’t mean an all-out ban on social media or the magazines you love to leaf through. Simply muting the TV during ad breaks, or time-boxing your use of Instagram can go a long way to helping you achieve your saving goals faster and stop you making unnecessary purchases.

4. Employ a 30-day rule for new purchases

If you decide that you really do want new shoes or a new phone, try to wait 30 days before making the purchase. This reduces the likelihood of buying something out of sheer impulse and provides time to consider if the purchase really is a sensible use of your hard-earned cash. If you decide after the 30 days that you definitely still need the item, then you’ve given yourself time to peruse the market and see if the item can be found cheaper or via a second-hand retailer - keeping more cash in your bank.

5. Make your own cleaning products

Making your own cleaning products will not only save you money, but also create a more environmentally sound way to tidy and disinfect your home. Most of the key ingredients are affordable and readily available household items such as vinegar, lemons and baking soda.

6. Use the library

Free internet, books, DVDs and other various resources are available at the library. Signing up is free and you can borrow, book, schedule or renew items online.

Libraries also often have subscriptions to a range of local and international newspapers and magazines, meaning you can save big on subscriptions and home deliveries.

7. Take all the advice you can get

Whether it’s a money-smart mum, a frugal friend or a financial adviser, consider their advice. ‘Young people need to know there’s help out there,’ says Higgins. ‘It’s also really important to talk about money with your friends and family. Don’t feel as though you have to struggle on your own, because you’ll soon discover there are lots of people who are going through the same experiences as you who you can learn from.’

‘Spending some time on ASIC’s MoneySmart website is an essential activity for all young people because there’s a range of free and impartial tools and resources to help,’ she concludes.

Saving money can feel like a drag, but taking these thrifty tips into account will help to build your savings in no time.

Need help accessing your finances? Seeing a financial adviser could be a smart move. Request a callback or call 132 135.

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Article prepared by The Cusp, May 2018 and reused with permission. Information current as at 12 July 2018 and may contain material provided by third parties derived from sources believed to be accurate at its issue date. While such material is published with necessary permission, no company in the Westpac Group accepts any responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of, or endorses any such material. Except where contrary to law, we intend by this notice to exclude liability for this material.