When it comes to saving money, every little bit counts. So the sooner you start saving, the sooner you’ll reach your financial goals. Here are nine smart money-saving tips to help you on your way.
It can be hard to save when you’ve got nothing to aim for. So set some savings goals for the future – both short and long term – to help you focus and keep you motivated.
To help you reach your goals you may like to create a budget so you can keep track of your finances and work out how much you can afford to save. Check out our video on how to save money towards your goals. Or you could also go to the Sorted website, which has helpful guides for creating a budget and setting and achieving your goals.
It’s easier to save when you don’t have to think about it. So set up an automatic payment that goes into your savings account every pay-day and pay yourself first. It's a great way of making savings a normal part of managing your money.
You could also name your savings account whatever your goal is ('Holiday' or 'House' for example) to keep your goal more real.
Another way to make savings automatic is Save the Change (see below).
To speed up your savings further, you may like to team up your automatic payments with ASB’s Save the Change.
Save the Change is a clever way to help you save while you spend. It automatically rounds up electronic transactions to an amount you choose, then transfers the difference into your savings account. You probably won’t even notice you’re saving as you’re spending.
Some companies give their customers an early payment discount that saves you money just by paying your bill on time. Others may have a late payment fee – which charges you more for paying your bill late.
You can save money just by paying your bill on time. Simply set up an automatic payment (for regular payment amounts) or direct debit (for irregular amounts) and your bills will be paid automatically every time on the due date.
If you're paying by automatic payment make sure you check your bills each month in case you need to top it up or increase your regular payment amount.
You’ve seen this cool jacket or high-tech gadget and you’ve just got to have it. Or perhaps it's that latest and greatest toy your kids have been pestering you for. It's easy to make the purchase without thinking too much about it, but taking a little extra time is always a good idea.
Avoiding impulse purchases is one of the first steps to good money management. It's a good idea to wait 30 days before you spend. After a month has passed your urge to splurge may have already passed as well, and you’ll have saved money just by waiting.
Or, instead, why not put the cost of the item into a savings account? As you see your savings grow you’ll soon realise how much money can actually be spent on impulse buys.
If you’ve got a few debts – for example a car loan, credit card debt and hire purchase – it may be a good idea to combine them into one. With a debt consolidation loan you have just one loan for all your debts so managing debt becomes easier – and you could save money in interest costs too.
The money you save could then be used to pay down your loan faster. The faster your debt reduces, the lower your interest costs and the sooner you'll have more free money to put into a long-term savings account.
Do you have a gym membership or magazine subscription? If you’re not using that membership or subscription, it may be a good idea to cancel it or find a cheaper plan that better suits you.
Even if you use it occasionally, you may still be better off cancelling and paying as you go. Here’s how you can work out whether it’s worth cancelling your membership or subscription:
Monthly cost of membership/subscription
Average number of times you use your membership/subscription each month
This will give you the price you pay each time you use your membership/subscription. If this amount is more than the casual rate it may be time to cancel that membership or subscription and pay as you go.
Quitting smoking, avoiding takeaways, or passing on that morning flat white could be healthy for both you and your savings goal. One fewer coffee a day could save you about $25 a week, and if you smoke a pack a day and quit you'll save approximately $7,400 a year!
Seeing your savings go up like this can also help motivate you to stick to your health goals. It's a win-win for you.
We know saving money can take a lot of will power, sacrifice and focus. But once you get the hang of it, it becomes easier – and in the future, you’ll be thankful you started saving when you did.
Take time to follow money management blogs and read lots. If you find you've stopped saving or don't save as regularly as you've planned, take a deep breath, figure out where it's not working for you and start again. You will get there.
The above information is a guide only and should not be relied on as it does not take into account your personal financial situation. ASB's lending criteria and terms apply.