Struggling to save up for a deposit for your first home or the once-in-a-lifetime overseas adventure? Saving for a big purchase can be difficult when you feel like you’re up to your ears in bills or you just love shopping.
Here are some great money-smart habits which will help you reach your goal sooner.
Create a budget
Write down your income and your expenses and include everything from your retail therapy excursions where you want to buy everything you see to what you spend on buying lunch at work. Now, be completely honest, what can you cut out? You can use an online budget planner to help. Once your budget is sorted, stick to it.
Open a savings account
Once you’ve worked out your budget, you should be able to nominate an amount which is credited directly into your savings account on pay day. Choose a high-interest account, one which deters you from using the funds for an emergency.
If you’re on a diet, it’s easier to avoid temptation and bypass the confectionery aisle at the supermarket. The same can be said for shopping. If you can’t trust yourself to window shop without taking home the merchandise, avoid the malls or the shops where you are unable to resist leaving empty-handed.
Make your own lunch
You might need to get up a little earlier and be a little more creative if the thought of soggy sammies makes your gag reflex kick in. You can save a fortune by taking your own morning tea and lunch to work. Let’s say on an average day you have a hot chocolate at morning tea, that’s approximately $4.50. A Subway or Maccas combo for lunch is around $10; a much-needed cappuccino at afternoon tea — there’s another $4.50. Even if you only buy lunch two days a week, that’s almost $2,000 a year you are frittering away on food.
Sell what you’re no longer using online. Go through your wardrobe and anything you haven’t been able to squeeze into for the last year, price to sell and list it on eBay. You’ll be surprised at the sort of junk people are prepared to buy. After all, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.
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Opt for the generic brands
Does it really matter whether it’s Sanitarium brand peanut butter or the Coles Smart Buy range? Often the generic brands can be quite a bit cheaper, saving you money on your grocery bill.
Sign up for customer reward programs
Join every customer loyalty rewards program under the sun — the more the better. For example, Hoyts Reward members get $10 tickets to the movie of the week, that’s a saving of around $9, plus every time you swipe your card, you get points which you can spend on munchies or tickets.
The cost of ciggies is going up again. According to Forbes magazine, cigarette tax in Australia is three times the amount New Yorkers pay on their cigarettes. Not only will you be saving your life, if you have a pack-a-day habit, you’ll be saving around $500 a month.
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Learn how to debt snowball
This is a debt strategy where you make a list of all your bills — like maxed our credit cards, store cards and high purchases — from the smallest amount owed to the biggest. Start sinking most of your money into your smallest debt while still paying the minimum amount on your other debts, and once the smallest one is cleared, move to the next smallest amount.
Collect your loose change
Find a large jar or container and fling in all your gold coins and silver. You’ll be surprised how fast the coins add up. Once the jar is full, count and deposit the money into your savings account.