While this may sound a little far-fetched for you, bear with us as we take you through 13 simple money saving hacks that will go a long way to helping you get to your savings goals quicker.
- Work out Your Budget
Understanding what you spend and where is the first step to understanding where you can potentially save. Most people are totally unaware of how much money they are spending each week until they sit down and run through their transaction history. When you do this, work out what you are spending money on so you can allocate your income each week, so that you understand what you should have left over.
- Have a Dedicated Savings Account
Once you work out how much you’re spending and how much you can potentially save, set up a dedicated savings account so you are not tempted to spend what you have immediate access to. If you can set it up with a transfer delay on this savings account, it will be even less tempting to withdraw money from it. It’s also a good idea to set up automatic transfers in line with your income so that you are guaranteeing a locked in saving amount each pay, before you have time to spend it. If you can’t see the money in your spending’s account, it will be less tempting to spend.
- Pay Your Bills on Time
Whether it’s your credit card bill, phone bill or your electricity bill if you pay it on or before the due date you can lock in a slight saving. Not only will you save money, but you will also won’t receive late fees. So much money can be lost by delaying payments of bills by a day or so. You generally have a bit of warning before a bill is due, so it’s not like you are caught by surprise when it is due.
- Reduce Your Credit Card Debt
The more credit card debt you have, the more your repayments are and the more interest you pay. Make it a priority to pay off your credit card debt as soon as possible. If you have multiple credit cards, with varying interest rates and fees it’s a good idea to merge them all onto one card (the one with the best rates) so that it’s easier for you to manage mentally. Receiving one bill instead of three will go a long way in terms of how you are feeling about saving.
- Down Size your Plans
Analyse all of your payment plans that you’re locked into. Uncover what you can go without entirely and what you can comfortably reduce. Think Spotify memberships, phone plans, pay TV accounts and other memberships you’re currently paying for. Chances are, you’re currently paying for services that no longer fit within your lifestyle needs. Review all of your plans and the more you can reduce or remove entirely, the more you will be able to put away to your trip savings account each month.
- Plan your Meals Weekly
If you plan your meals weekly, you will reduce the need for purchasing last minute take away meals and trips to your local restaurant. Organisation is paramount when it comes to saving money. If you plan your meals weekly, you will be able to buy everything you need from one grocery shop visit – which means you will have less opportunity to buy those impulse items you don’t actually need. It also helps if you cook the same sort of meals on rotate each week, fortnight or month. Why? Because it means you are not buying ingredients that only get used once and then sit in your pantry unused until they hit their expiry date.
- Monitor Your Usage
It can be so easy to be oblivious to how much of something you are using. Think water usage, electricity and even your data on your mobile phone plan. It can be as simple as turning off lights when you leave a room, only using the internet when you have to on your phone and using a timer when you go to have a shower. It just takes a bit of common sense to save a few cents here. It may take a bit of discipline to begin with, but when you’re truly committed to saving every dollar you can, it’s easy to start here.
- Watch International Spending
When shopping online or paying for any international monthly memberships beware of the currency conversion. It’s so easy to fall into the ‘It’s only $19.99 a month’ trap, when it’s in USD that’s actually $26.51 in AUD. The Australian Dollar is weak (and has been for a while) so be aware of what this means for your purchases so you’re not blindsided when you look at your next bank statement.
- Minimise visits to the Shopping Centres
Need to buy birthday presents? Why don’t you research and brainstorm online? While it has been said you spend more when you shop online, it its also easy to spend more money than you needed when you physically visit shopping centres. Unless you go to a shopping centre with a plan of attack, walking around aimlessly is asking for bank account troubles. Don’t go to shopping centres to just window shop or fill in time on the weekend. You will find things you need that you didn’t know you needed before walking in there. Shopping centres are a money spending trap. Simple as that.
- Cut back on the Unnecessary Luxuries
Now we are talking take away coffees, trips to the movies, those new runners. Whatever it is, when you’re tightening the spending the reigns you have go without some of the things you’d normally justify spending on. It’s not forever, but while you’re saving for your trip unfortunately there has to be some sacrifices. If you are unsure what you should and shouldn’t spend money on, perhaps create your own checklist or criteria to help you determine whether in fact you should buy something or not.
- Refinance Your Mortgage or Rent a Cheaper Home
Look into some refinancing options for your mortgage. Interest rates are at an all-time low so if you shop around you may be able to reduce your monthly repayments which means you will be able to capture more savings each month. If you are renting, perhaps you could re-evaluate whether or not you could save some money by down-sizing or moving to a more economical suburb. Both of these options totally depend on your personal circumstances but if you are looking at moving from your rental to save money, consider moving to a suburb where you can use your car less.
- Points, Rewards and Coupons
You have heard this tip before, and there is a reason for it. You can save lots of money by signing up to receive coupons, points and rewards for your various purchases. This doesn’t mean you should spend money on things you wouldn’t normally be purchasing but on the items you would be buying regardless of the coupons (fuel and groceries for example) then this is a good way to capture those extra dollars for your savings account. Where lots of people go wrong is they use these savings as an excuse to loosen the reigns on something else. Try not to forget that every dollar helps when it comes to saving for your trip, and treating yourself to that Mars Bar at the cash register, probably isn’t really worth it.
- Take Care of Your Things
It goes without saying, look after your things and you won’t have to replace them as often. This applies to everything from your iPhone to your car. Being careless with your belongings results in a lot of unnecessary purchases that are often not allocated for in the budget. Sometimes it’s as simple as spending an extra thirty seconds making sure something is put away properly or perhaps spending $10 extra for a protective case – whatever it is, be wise so you don’t have to fork out lots more later.
With all of these money saving tips, you are bound to reach your savings goals quicker. Nothing changes if nothing changes, right? It does take a lot of discipline to save money, but there is no doubt that it’s worth every ounce of effort as soon as you’re backing your bags ready to leave the drive way for your big trip. Happy saving and more importantly, happy travelling!