7 Little-Known Tips To Help You Save Money
Let’s be honest, 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 just about knowing how to make smart and informed decisions. Here are seven savings tips you should consider employing today, to help you see the cheddar tomorrow.
#1 Have a plan to save money
Don’t roll your eyes. 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.
But 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. Because really, how often do you use that Ped Egg anyway?
#4 Employ the 30-day rule for new purchases
If you decide that you really do want new shoes, or a new phone, or that extremely excellent new yoga mat, try to wait 30 days before making the purchase.
“It’s important to talk about money with your friends and family. You don’t have to struggle on your own.”
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 bucks. Should you decide after the 30 days that you definitely still need the aforementioned extremely excellent new yoga mat, then you’ve at least given yourself time to peruse the market and see if the item can be found cheaper or via a second-hand retailer. You’ll keep 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. Best of all, most of the key ingredients are both 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 abound at the library. If you haven’t been yet, you’re seriously missing out. 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, so you can save big on subscriptions and home deliveries.
#7 Take all the advice you can get
Whether it’s a money-smart mum (or grandparent), a frugal friend or a commercially savvy colleague, whoever doles out good financial advice, take it and hold on tight.
“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.
Izzy Tolhurst is a copywriter and editor. She writes about music, the arts, employment and international development. She also sings and plays an impressively amateur level of guitar in Melbourne band Go Get Mum. Find her rambling on Twitter @izzytolhurst.
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