Saving money is easier said than done, here are some tips to help you develop savings into a regular habit.
There are many benefits to saving money: emergency funds, making that big purchase, or using it as a deposit for your first home. Whatever your reason is, finder.com.au will help you get there.
Step 1: Pay yourself first
One of the easiest ways to save money is to never see it first. Organise with your payroll or accountant to have a portion of your money immediately deposited into an account that's hard to access. Some of our suggestions are:
- Straight into your home loan, personal loan or credit card account. If you currently have debt, you should already have organised for a portion of your pay to go directly into this account.
- A notice saver. Notice savers require at least 30 days notice before it releases your money. If you're currently savings for something big, you may want to consider a notice saver.
Decide on a portion that you'd like to manually deposit into a savings account each – make sure you stick with it!
Step 2: Avoid taking on anymore debt
Small amounts of debt are unavoidable – like that bit of credit card debt that carries you over until payday, or a home loan for your main residence. However, in general, if you can avoid going deeper into debt, like taking that personal loan to go on a holiday, do so. Try and master the 30-day rule. The 30-day rule challenges you to wait 30 days before making a purchase. Often, you'll find if you wait a month to buy something, that urge will have dissipated by then and you'll save money. If you're on the fence about a purchase, waiting a while will give you a fresh perspective and will get you to question if that purchase is really worth the money.
Try and make more than the minimum repayments. Since interest is calculated based on your daily amount, the faster you can reduce your principal, the less you have to pay.
Step 3: Make a savings goal
Start off with a few short term goals first and then develop these into long term goals. Set yourself goals that are achievable to start saving responsibility, and then move onto goals like saving a deposit for your first home, or a car. One of the best ways to develop a savings goal is to form a budget. Budgets are easy ways to keep track of your money and what you purchase.
Step 4: Regularly check your bank and superannuation accounts
Checking you bank balance regularly is a good habit to get into. Knowing how much money is in your account is useful when formulating a budget. Coordinate when you get paid with what you will put aside for savings so you can work your budget around this. A simple deposit into an account can help you receive bonus interest and boost your savings.
Similarly, with your superannuation account, you should check this regularly as it is an investment and any investment can go sideways if you don't keep a watchful eye on it. Plus, a small deposit or even regular deposits could make all the difference when it comes to your retirement.
Step 5: Get financial advice
Getting the right kind of financial advice can really make a difference and give you the confidence you need to meet your financial goals. So how can professional financial advice help you? Financial planners can help you:
- Set and achieve your financial goals.
- Make the most of your money.
- Get any government assistance you're entitled to.
- Feel more in control of your finances and your life.
- Avoid expensive mistakes.
- Protect your assets.
Paying with credit
For some people, they do not see the value of stocking away savings. Many financial companies and banks give you the option to borrow from them in cases you need something. Credit cards are there to pay for purchases or services. You can take out loans for bigger purchases like cars, homes, properties and even a start-up fund for your business. The concept of “buy now, pay later” is attractive, simple and convenient.
Disadvantages of credit
Credit cards and loans are advantageous for you as they provide the funds you need for your expenses even when you have no money. Credit and loans are paid back over a set period of time, with the whole amount divided into smaller and more affordable amounts.
The downside of credit and loans are the various charges that come along with them. Your monthly payment has an added interest, a certain percentage from which the banks and financial institutions gain profit. When paid on time, the interest is minimal. But if you delay payment, the accumulated sum of the monthly due with the interest and the late payment can become too much for your finances. Paying with credit is a sure way of losing track of how much money you have spent. If you go and "hit the town", a night out can become very expensive if you don't know how much you have spent. Instead, carry cash so you know how much you have used. It's okay to have a credit card for emergencies, but avoid using it if you can.
Setting aside money for future use is a slow process. As you whittle away small amounts of money, you are unable to purchase what you want now. However, many people do not realise that this process saves you more money because you do not have to pay for any interest charges and other fees. Interest fees may seem like a small charge, but if you total the amount it would run to up to thousands of dollars.
Investing in your savings
Savings generally means setting aside money to be used in the short term. After all, there is only so much you can set aside with your earnings, while still being able to provide for your daily needs. However, by properly utilising your savings, you can increase the amount you set aside and it can be used later on.
Here are a few things you can do to increase your savings:
- Spend less than you earn. One of the biggest downfalls of most people is using more money than they have. Even those people with no credit cards are still able to get into debt by borrowing from others, or lending institutions. By creating a simple budget and living within your means, you cut back on unnecessary expenses. The money you save up can be added to your savings account.
- Be consistent and save regularly. Create a habit of setting aside money in regular intervals. Even small amounts set aside habitually can create a comfortable nest egg for you.
- Open a savings account. Increase your savings by opening a savings account with your bank. Certain accounts are set up with high interest rates so you can get a good return on your investment.
When you invest, you put your money in certain things that will let it grow in value. This is usually a long term plan of growing your wealth, with a degree of risk involved. However, investing your money will give it the maximum growth in the shortest amount of time possible.
You can invest in various things. For starters, you can use it to invest in stocks of other companies. Buying shares can net you a substantial profit from the interest as the market grows.
- Invest in things that increase in value over the years. Many people purchase jewellery, land or buildings that have a high resale value. In a more niche market, people collect toys or memorabilia.
- Invest in a business. Many people who are tired of the rat race but still need to generate income decide to take the risk of establishing a business. It allows them to be their own boss, giving them the freedom to implement ideas that will generate profit. Once a business has become established, it very nearly runs on its own, giving you the time and the wealth to enjoy the rest of your life.
- Invest in yourself. You can help increase you market value by taking time to learn more. You can go back to school, or attend classes that can help you be more knowledgeable on your chosen field.
Saving does not mean that you have to give up on the good things in life. While some sacrifices are needed if you want substantial savings, a proper balance between spending and saving will result in extra money for you and greater financial security for your family. A few solid investments and you are set for life.