Small savings can steadily grow without sacrificing the fun things in life. Get creative, set a goal and uncover easy ways to save in the long run.
Like rolling out of bed to exercise first thing in the morning, sometimes the hardest thing about saving money is getting started. Once you’re in full swing, however, and can see how your actions are having immediate positive results, you’ll forget about how hard it was to take that initial action and perhaps even discover more easy ways to save.
The first hurdle is setting your mind to saving; the second is realising that every small step counts. You don’t need to have hundreds of dollars to start to put money away – in fact, most savings accounts can be opened with as little as $1. Similarly, you don’t need to deposit huge chunks of cash either; small savings can grow over time.
1. First, change your spending mindset
When you exercise, there are tangible gains from your actions. Think of saving money in the same way. When your savings plan is full of sacrifices, you’re less likely to stick to it in the long-term. But when you can see the benefits, and still get to reward yourself with life’s little luxuries, you’ll want to forge ahead to reach your financial goals.
2. Set savings goals
What are you saving for? Write down a couple of short-term and long-term savings goals. In the former category, you might list a new outfit or upgrading the old TV. In the latter, perhaps a new car or deposit for a home.
Make sure your short-term goals are enjoyable, and things you really want. Also make sure these expenses are big enough that you have to save for them. This way, when you reach your goal, you’ll get a little psychological boost, which will reinforce your good habits.
3. Make saving automatic
You may consider setting up a savings account. Some savings accounts have a honeymoon bonus rate where additional interest is payable within the first few months of the product opening. There are also products like the AMP Saver Account where if you deposit a minimum set amount per month (for example, $250) you become eligible for a bonus interest rate applied to the account in future.
Make small cutbacks
You’re probably well aware of some of the simple ways you can save money just by:
spending less on everyday items – write a shopping list and meal plan before visiting the grocery store
making your own lunch rather than buying a sandwich
making coffee at home instead of grabbing a takeaway.
You might also consider:
cancelling memberships and subscriptions you don’t use and swapping them for free entertainment or even simply a run around the park
giving yourself a cooling-off period when making big purchases, to avoid buyer’s remorse
reducing your online surfing to avoid ads tempting you to spend.
These trimming techniques mean you’re not denying yourself anything major, but are making small steps toward growing your savings. After a while it will become second nature and you won’t even notice you’re doing it.
4. Review your necessary expenses
“I love paying bills,” said no one ever. Let’s face it – shelling out for electricity, gas and water is not enjoyable. But it is fun to find ways you can pay a little less on your bills.
An easy way to save today is to talk to your utility providers about a better plan, or look at switching providers to one that can offer you a better deal to help you reach your savings goals. They will also be able to provide suggestions on how to save to money on a tight budget by, say, using services at off-peak times.
If you have a huge mobile phone bill, you can save each month by switching to a cheaper pre-paid plan and relying on wi-fi rather than paying for data. Or consider spreading your costs over smaller, regular instalments by bill smoothing.
If you’re putting your bills or even your grocery shopping on credit cards, be sure to pay them off in full every month to avoid high interest rates. Your credit score will also thank you, as you’ll be paying the minimum amount each month. To download a copy of your free credit report go to www.creditsimple.com.au, www.equifax.com.au or www.experian.com.au.
5. Earn a little extra income
Looking for ways to save on a tight budget? Most of us have unwanted electronics, unworn clothes or unused pieces of furniture that we don’t need. There are plenty of ways to sell this ‘stuff’ including an eBay listing. You’ll make some extra cash on the side, and de-clutter your life in the process.
6. Remember to review your savings plan
Try to review your savings plan regularly. When you see results as your savings begin to grow, you’ll want to stick to your saving strategies. You might even want to set bigger financial goals and look for easier ways to save for the future.
This information is provided by AMP Life Limited. It is general information only and hasn’t taken your circumstances into account. It’s important to consider your particular circumstances and the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions, available by calling 02 4947 2233, before deciding what’s right for you.
All information in this article is subject to change without notice. Although the information is from sources considered reliable, AMP and our company do not guarantee that it is accurate or complete. You should not rely upon it and should seek professional advice before making any financial decision. Except where liability under any statute cannot be excluded, AMP and our company do not accept any liability for any resulting loss or damage of the reader or any other person. Any links have been provided for information purposes only and will take you to external websites. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.