Even if your current savings balance is zero, you can still do something about it by making small incremental changes to the way you spend. Over time those changes can add up quickly.
It might be a home deposit you’re dreaming of, a holiday, or a major purchase that you’re saving for. Maybe you’d just like a little security in case of a rainy day. Whatever motivates you, here’s some savvy ways to get you moving toward your goal.
1. Plan your attack
Set yourself up for success. There’s no point trying to aspire to goals that you simply can’t afford so it’s worth sitting down and working out where your money is going. Once you know, you can set a realistic goal for your savings - which may be something like the 20% rule.
If you’re not the type of person who likes to keep track of your spending, start by keeping your receipts for a few weeks.
- Plan a day where you really look at where that money goes
- Grab a calculator and add up your spending
- Then go through the receipts and circle all the things you bought but maybe didn’t really need
- Add these up
- Having an awareness about where you are spending will help you be better prepared to control your cash flow
Looking at your transaction accounts online can also help identify where your money goes.
A budget planner may be another useful tool to organise your spending.
2. Cut the fat
Are there things you’re paying for and not using? Here are some common money eaters:
- Are you still paying for a gym membership and not going to the gym?
- Do you use all of the data on your internet plan? Is there a less expensive alternative?
- Are you on the right mobile phone plan for you?
A quick way to save money is to simply unsubscribe to services you pay for but don’t use.
3. The little things that add up
Do you really need to spend $3-4 on a coffee every morning on the way to work?
If you buy one coffee for $3, five days per week, for 40 weeks per year, you’ll spend around $600.
Alternatively, you could make your own coffee and save the difference for a holiday instead.
If you buy lunch each day because it’s convenient, it could be eating away at your savings account. Making a packed lunch can help you cut costs. Planning meals could save thousands over the course of a year.
4. Do your tax return
Many Australians will be fortunate to receive a refund on their tax return this year. A windfall could be a great motivator to help boost your savings account.
5. Look at loans and debt
Rates of interest on loans and credit cards vary widely. It’s worth doing some research to see whether you’re getting the best rate available for your situation.
If you have credit card or personal loan debt, there may be options available to you to help manage those costs, such as consolidation. Moneysmart also has a credit card calculator which can help you understand the level of debt you have.
There’s also strategies you can consider for paying off multiple debts.
6: Get your accounts in order
A savings account is a great way to start making the most of extra funds. But savings accounts can differ.
For example, a GoalSaver account with NetBank can earn you bonus interest when you grow your balance*.
If you don’t need to have access to your savings and are happy to lock your money away for a set amount of time, a term deposit may be an option worth considering.
There are lots of different products available and it’s worth doing a some research based on your personal circumstances or speaking to a savings specialist if you're unsure.
If you're already a CommBank customer, there's also a Goals & Savings tool in NetBank which makes it simple to set up a regular savings plan.
7. Re-think the car
If you drive to work only to park your car all day, consider alternatives. Is there good public transport in your area? Could you ride a bike or walk to work?
For some, not having a car is a huge lifestyle change, but it could save you thousands in maintenance costs, registration, insurance, petrol and parking fees alone.
There are loads of alternatives to car ownership. If you’re really keen to save, letting go of the four wheels could be a game changer.
8. Have a clean out
Is your home full of things you don’t use or have outgrown? Having a garage sale or selling goods online not only helps you clear out the house, it can also place a few dollars back in your savings. That book you haven’t touched for 10 years might be just the read someone else is looking for.
9. Get a money box
Yes, it’s an old way to save those coins but you’ll be surprised how quickly money accrues if you can resist the urge to raid the money box. When it’s full, pop down to your local branch and deposit it in your account.
Making small changes can lead to bigger things. Your savings goals are no different.
*Read more about full product details and conditions at https://www.commbank.com.au/personal/accounts/savings-accounts/goal-saver.html