Saving money can be hard, especially with inflation and rising costs (hello, cost of living crisis in Australia!). While saving can be, dare we say, boring – and we’d much rather blow our pay-check on a trip to Santorini – it’s a necessary part of life. It lets us enjoy important milestones like weddings, holidays, houses, and retirement comfortably, and sans unnecessary stress. And the key to saving money smartly is to be smart about budgeting.
According to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC), budgeting and saving are “rarely about making one big change; you can start by making a few small changes and building on it over time.”
But what are these changes? Here are our top budgeting tips that will help you start saving more.
Cut the non-essentials
Before you start skimping on avocado and other things that bring you joy, consider if your hard earned-money is going towards things that aren’t benefitting you, and make some changes with these budget saving tips.
“Review your bank statements for the last few months. Highlight anything that isn’t essential, like subscriptions or memberships,” a Moneysmart spokesperson from ASIC says.
“If you have multiple streaming service subscriptions, perhaps you could reduce this to one or two.”
Build a budget
Once you’ve cut the non-essentials, you can then figure out the rest of your expenses and make a spreadsheet to keep track of credits and debits!
“Build a budget so you know how much you need to live off and what your expenses are. You can use the free budget planning tool at moneysmart.gov.au to help get started.”
Set up an automatic transfer
If you struggle to part with some of your pay-check when it’s deposited in your bank account, consider setting up an automatic transfer. That way, you are saving without lifting a finger.
“One of the best ways to save is to set up an automatic transfer to put some money straight into a dedicated savings account on payday – making it easier to save without thinking about it.”
One of our best budgeting tips is this: for those tempted to move the money back over, consider chatting to your bank about a savings account that you can’t access unless you actually go into a branch.
While it may be easier to just press that ‘renew’ button on your car insurance policy, one of the best tips on budgeting is to look around for cheaper options.
“When it’s time to renew things like your insurance, shop around and compare premiums with other providers. You can often get a lower premium.
Set a savings goal
One of our biggest tips for budgeting is to set a savings goal. Whether you want to save $10,000 for a trip overseas, or $50,000 for a deposit on a house, having something to look forward to is a great incentive to cut down your expenses.
“Having a savings goal can help you focus on getting what you want sooner. Having a savings buffer also helps pay for unexpected expenses.
“Use your budget to work out how much money you have for ‘wants’ and then how much of that you’d like to save. Even if you can only save a little, make a start – the more regularly you save, the better. If you put $20 a week into a savings account, you’ll have over $1,000 in a year’s time. That’s the start of a good amount of savings to give you some financial breathing space.”