Money

How To Adult: How Much Cash Can You Save In A Year?

Have you ever stopped to consider how much your daily coffee binge is costing you? What about the bottle of water you buy because you forgot your water bottle again? These little purchases could be unconsciously burning a hole in your bank account, which is a huge drag on our savings strategies.

We did the maths on five spending habits to see just how much cash we could be saving in a year if we cut out a few extra spendings.

#1 If you stop buying bottled water

If you decided to buy a bottle of water every day for a year, you’d be spending about $730 a year. Shocking, right? Also: discarded plastic drink bottles account for 34% of our national waste – a statistic that could be helped by the simple act of bringing your own (preferably glass) water bottle with you. We’re extremely lucky to live in a country where water is not only potable, but easily accessible. So do the right thing and stop buying bottled water.

#2 If you stop buying lattes

OK, so quitting coffee altogether just isn’t going to happen – but have you ever wondered how much you’re actually spending on takeaway coffee each week? Let’s say you buy a latte every day for a year. While you wouldn’t think much about the $3 or $4 you’re swiping away, at the end of the year you’re going to be left with a hefty $1228 bill on coffee alone. That’s about enough for an international airfare! Never fear, there’s always another option: it involves making your coffee at home for a tiny fraction of what you’re spending now.

#3 If you quit smoking

We don’t need to preach here, but ciggies are bad for you in pretty much every way possible – and the habit can cost a bunch of cash to maintain as well. With a pack of cigarettes costing on average about $25, a pack a week will cost you a whopping $1300 a year. Quitting never sounded so good.

#4 If you made your own lunch

This is a hard habit to break – especially since the allure of pre-made lunches and fresh ramen broths is strong. Ugh. But if you get into the habit of bringing your lunch to work each day, you’ll actually be saving yourself as much as $2120 a year. Insane! Here’s a few easy lunch ideas to get you started:

#5 If you stopped drinking booze

We know quitting booze isn’t on the radar for most Australians, but saying that, it really is confronting to see how much money we’re feasibly spending on booze per week. Say, for instance, we’re drinking about seven standard drinks in a week; seeing as the average price of a standard drink in Australia is $8, that’s about $56 a week we’re spending on alcohol. Multiply that by 52 and we’ve got $2912 spent on alcohol per year. Hoo boy. If you’re thinking about cutting back, here’s a little pep talk.

You don’t need to give up things you love in order to save – it’s simply about putting aside cash for the things that matter to you, and spending less on things you can live without. By tracking your goals, you’ll be amazed by what you can save in the long term.

TL;DR? Check out our video below:

Westpac Life is a flexible savings account that helps you stay on track to meet your savings goals. You can manage long and short term goals within a single account with the Savings Goals feature, and earn up to 2.30%p.a. variable interest rate. Opening one takes less than three minutes. 

Read the terms and conditions and ensure a product is appropriate for you before opening.


Rebecca Russo is a freelance writer, editor, community radio dabbler, occasional hiker and celebrity autobiography enthusiast. She has written for online publications including Junkee, AWOL, Fashion Journal and Tone Deaf. Find her online here.