We’re all about saving smarter, not harder
Saving for a house deposit, a holiday, or even just for a rainy day can seem like an impossible task. But with a little bit of creativity and determination, it is possible to kick-start your savings and make your financial dreams a reality. Whether it’s cutting back on spending or making your money work harder, small changes can make a big difference when it comes to keeping pennies in your pocket.
We know that saving up can be daunting. So we’ve put together some practical, effective tips for how you can take control of your finances and reach your savings goals – maybe even faster than you think!
1. Know the goal
When it comes to saving, having a specific goal in mind can be the difference between aimlessly piling your pennies and growing meaningful savings. Without a goal, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture and give into temptations to spend. Having a tangible objective gives you a clear purpose and direction, making it easier to stay motivated and on track.
Saving for a deposit?
Setting a goal when you’re saving for a property is pretty straightforward. Do some research into prices for the type of house and area you want, and have a look through our guide about the other upfront costs involved in buying a home. Once you understand the landscape, try our bBorrowing pPower cCalculator to get a sense of how much you could borrow.
2. Track what & when you’re spending
Tracking your spending is a simple yet powerful tool when it comes to taking control of your finances. Think of it like taking a snapshot of your financial habits, helping to give you a clear picture of where your money is going and where you might be able to make changes to reach your savings goals.
A good way to start is by doing a self-audit of your transactions over the last 90 days. Gather together your statements across debit and credit cards, online payments and savings accounts. Then go through the transactions, one by one, and put them into different categories to better visualise where you spend your money – and how you might be able to spend less.
3. Stick to a realistic budget
Now that you’ve got a clear savings goal and a better idea of your current situation, you can turn that into a real plan. Try using our budget planner to organise your expenses for each month and decide where you might be able to cut back.
The important thing isn’t necessarily cutting back across the board, but being conscious of what you’re spending your money on. It’s important to find a balance between cutting back on expenses and still allowing yourself to enjoy life. Having a budget grounded in reality will help make saving feel less like an impossible chore and more like a goal that you can actually achieve.
4. Get on top of your debt
When it comes to saving, it’s important to start by getting yourself out of debt wherever you can. Work to pay off any outstanding credit card balances or personal loans before you think about saving. That way, you won’t be constantly reaching into your savings to pay interest.
The one exception would be if you have HECS-HELP debt. This is as close as you can get to ‘good’ debt, as it doesn’t accrue interest, there’s no deadline for when you need to pay it off, and repayments scale with your earning.
While it’s not for everyone, consolidating your debt may help in this process. If you think that might be a good option for you, be sure to check out our handy guide on the topic.
5. Pay yourself first
When it comes to saving, consistency is key. Setting up regular, automatic payments from your everyday bank account to your savings account ensures that you’re consistently putting money aside, rather than relying on occasional, sporadic deposits.
Not only does it take away the effort of having to manually transfer funds, but it can also help you avoid the temptation to dip into your savings, as the money will already be out of reach. Plus, getting yourself into a regular savings routine with automatic transfers can help turn saving into a habit – which will help you reach this savings goal and all the ones that come after.
6. Boost your account interest
Now that you’re making regular savings transfers, it’s time to make sure that the money you’re depositing is working as hard as you are. Switching to a high interest savings account is a great way to help your savings grow. This kind of account typically offers a higher interest rate than a transaction account, meaning you’ll be adding more to your savings each month.
With accounts like our Reward Saver you can boost your interest rate even further when you deposit a regular amount each month (in our case, just $10) and make no withdrawals. Not only will you build better financial habits, you’ll be rewarded for doing it!
7. Consider a term deposit
If you’re looking for a bit more certainty on your savings journey, it’s worth considering a term deposit. This type of account allows you to lock away your funds for a set period of time, in return for a consistent – often higher – interest rate. With our term deposits, you can earn up to 4% interest, depending on how long you choose to lock in your funds.
Term deposits are a particularly effective strategy for those who struggle with the temptation to dip into their savings. While you might be able to get an equivalent interest rate on a savings account, a term deposit will give you that extra motivation to leave your savings alone.
8. Find ways to cut fees
Every dollar counts when it comes to saving. But we know it can be hard to cut back on the things you love. So why not start by cutting back on the things you have to pay for, rather than the things you want to pay for?
There are lots of ways that you can save a bit of cash if you’re willing to put in the effort. Start with a subscription audit, to see if you’re paying for any services you’re not using, don’t really need, or that you could split the cost of with family or friends. After that, check to see if you’ve got any credit cards or bank accounts with ongoing fees – if so, it’s time to switch to low or no-fee options (try our Essential Account and Hume Value Visa credit card).
Unless you’ve checked in on your utilities recently, chances are you aren’t getting the best deal. Try doing some research to figure out what the going rate is on things like phone, internet, power and gas plans. You may not even have to switch providers – sometimes a quick call to say you’re thinking of moving can be enough to bring your fees down.