Spending can definitely seem easier than saving...but saving might just give you the money to spend when you need it! Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
I don’t know about others, but for me saving money is an inherently difficult achievement. There are just so many fantastic items to buy. Everywhere I go, I am faced with clothing, jewellery, digital items designed to make life easier. However, if I did spend money with reckless abandon, the repercussions would be difficulty in paying my rent, bills, groceries and feeding my beautiful cat. So here are ten top tips to save money.
1. Write a list of what you need versus what you want. For example you need food, to pay the bills, and other expenditures which are quite self-evident. You may want that gorgeous skirt, but you don’t really need it.
2. However, this is not to say that we should never spoil ourselves. I believe that if we have a ‘scrooge’ mentality for too long, we are at risk of one day diving in the deep end and may have a crazy spending spree. Of course we may not! However, what’s great about saving money as in 1. is that over time, we do have money to spend on what we would like without the attendant guilt. We can fully enjoy the pleasures of our purchases.
3. Invest in a savings account with a decent interest rate. This may take some research. You may even want to look at other banks to invest in, which may feel uncomfortable if you’ve been with the one institution for years. Different accounts are designed for people with different needs – whether you are a frequent withdrawer or wish to keep your savings put for a long time.
4. Pay your bills straight away. I know from painful example that when I leave my electricity bill, there is always a surplus to pay for my lateness.
5. Keep a budget book of your income and expenditures. At first glance this might seem like a painful and time-consuming process. However, since doing this, I feel clear about ‘where I am at’ with my finances, and so much more in control.
6. See a financial planner regularly. They have had years of experience in the budgeting business, and have spent many years seeing all kinds of people. They may be particularly helpful for long-term plans such as superannuation and retirement.
7. Invest a certain amount of your savings, which you don’t touch. This may come in handy for when you least expect it. Don’t just make sure for what will ‘probably’ come up. It may also be worthwhile for your health future to belong to have health insurance. If you have pets, you may also consider pet insurance.
8. Be careful of loans and credit cards. The interest you have to pay back can be a hundred percent of what you borrow in the case of loan sharks: for example cash converters.
9. Every penny counts. When you go shopping, always look for the brand the supermarket is selling for cheaper, for example “coles milk” is much cheaper than other brands.
10. In summer, watch for how long you have on fans, and air conditioners. Turn off lights when you are not using them. In winter watch out for heaters. However, we all need these appliances from time to time, so use them judiciously.
The best way I'm using at the moment to build up my savings is to have money taken out of my fortnightly payment and put into a higher interest account. I'm trying really hard to build up the amount of saving there so I can then invest it into an even higher rate account.