Save $8000 with 8 simple tips

Save $8000 with 8 simple tips

Are you finding your money isn’t going as far at the moment? Take control of your cash with these eight tips from finance guru Ross Greenwood to help you save thousands of dollars in one year.

“We all know the cost of living is up and saving can be hard, but we’ve done a few calculations and worked out that you could save up to $8000 a year and surprisingly it’s easier than you think,” Greenwood told Nine’s Today show.

Stop paying ATM fees

Australians wasted around $56 million accessing their own money at the ATM at Christmas time last year, simply by using automatic teller machines serviced by a bank that is not their own, according to RateCity calculations.

Agreeing to a non-account holder surcharge of around $2 per transaction may seem minimal at the ATM. But consider the nation’s annual bill for such convenience; transaction account customers racked up almost $660 million in 2011 using the wrong ATMs.

“If you don’t use your own you’re going to be charged $2 or $3 a time. If you do this once a week that’s going to add up to $150 a year,” said Greenwood.

Lotto isn’t a savings plan

If you bought just one ticket in October’s $50 million Oz Lotto draw, your chances of winning were just one in almost 45.4 million. Despite this, around 3.8 million were purchased for the draw.

A lot of people bought a lot of tickets in the hope of changing their lives forever. But is the cost of a ticket really worth it?

“A mega-pick costs $25 a week in Oz Lotto, which equates to $1750 a year. Sure if you can afford it no problems, but if you can’t it’s an easy saving,” said Greenwood.

Coffee is a luxury item

Australia is a nation of coffee drinkers, according to analysis which shows an expanding café culture.

In 2010, Australians spent around $773.5 million on coffee beans and instant coffee for brewing at home – and that’s not taking into the consideration the amount we spend on takeaway coffee or coffee consumed in a café.

“I love a coffee, but the truth is do I really need it or is it something that’s a bit of a luxury? At $3.50 a day during your working life that’s going to be at least $700 a year,” said Greenwood.

Quit and save $2500

“If it’s not all about your health, then certainly it’s a cancer on your budget,” he said.

“Take this for a consideration; a packet of cigarettes these days costs around $16, smoke three packets a week that’s $48 and over the course of a year it’s $2500”.

Unused subscriptions waste $840

“Anything you subscribe to but don’t use is a waste of money. People with unused gym memberships are the worst offenders; most gyms cost about $70 a month, if you never or rarely go you could be saving $840 a year,” said Greenwood.

“The same applies to magazine subscriptions, book clubs and wine offers – these are one area you can cut back.”

Cut your grocery bill

If cleaning out your fridge each week supplies you with a steady diet of frustration and guilt, then consider this: Australians waste an estimated 4 million tonnes of food annually. Up to 40 percent of the average kerbside garbage bin is food; that’s equivalent to 178 kilos, and over $1000, per person every year in the bin, according to the Foodwise campaign.

But consuming food that would otherwise go to waste, or simply buying less, isn’t the only way to cut grocery costs, according to Greenwood.

“It’s all about shopping smart. Take branded flour, for example, at $2.99, yet the generic flour is just $0.95. It’s the same stuff! If you shop smart and generic you can save up to $450 a year.”

Eat out fortnightly and save

If you take a family of four out once a week, even for pizza, it could cost you $60 or $70 if you throw a bottle of wine in as well, he said.

“That could cost you up to $3500 a year! If you want to save $1700, do it once a fortnight.”

Sleep on it

Buying items on impulse is a big money waster, according to Greenwood, who suggests avoiding watching infomercials on TV.

“The message is “buy it now” and the reason is the urgency of the message wants you to part with your cash quickly without thinking and that’s where you’ll waste money,” he said.

By implementing these simple savings tips, consumers could save up to $8000. So what will you do with the extra savings?

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Learn more about bank accounts

Can I find my bank account number online?

Yes, you can find your bank account number by logging into your online banking and clicking on the relevant account.

Do I need to open a business bank account?

Just because you’re in business doesn’t necessarily mean you need a business bank account. You could be a sole trader not registered for GST, and use your personal bank account for business.

If you do want a business account, there are plenty of benefits attached to business transaction and savings accounts, as well as business term deposits.

There are business bank accounts designed for businesses with a high volume of transactions, and those for start-ups with a small amount of trade. You could also include an EFTPOS service with your account.

Some business bank accounts charge for the number of transactions per month, while others offer a pay-as-you-go fee structure, where you only pay fees for transactions you make.

It’s up to you whether your priority is mainly transactions, or earning the maximum amount of interest on your principal. There’s a business banking solution for you if you need one.

Can a debt collector garnish my bank account?

A debt collector can garnish your bank account, but only with a court order. This drastic action is usually taken only if you’ve ignored several notices asking you to pay the debt.

If this happens, there is nothing you can do to stop it other than immediately pay back your what you owe in full or make arrangements to pay it off in installments.

Once a garnishee order is issued, your bank will put a freeze on your account as it processes the order. This usually takes two to three days and you won’t be able to access any of your money during this time.

If you have Centrelink payments, they may be protected, depending on what the court order says.

Are bank accounts frozen when someone dies?

Yes, Australian bank accounts are frozen when someone dies. If you want to close the account of somebody who has died, you might have to provide proof of death and a copy of the will. You might also have to prove your relationship to the deceased person.

If you have a joint bank account with somebody who has died, you will generally be entitled to all the money in the account. Again, you might have to provide proof of death if you want to change the bank account from a joint account to a one-person account.

Can I start a bank account online?

Yes, most lenders that operate in Australia will let you set up a bank account online. The process is usually simple and takes five to 10 minutes. You will probably need to provide a passport or birth certificate, as well as a driver’s licence, Medicare card or another form of secondary identification. Requirements differ from lender to lender, so some institutions might ask for more or different forms of ID.

Can you deposit money into somebody else's bank account?

One of the easiest banking tasks in the world is depositing money. You can even deposit money into someone else’s bank account if you wish.

The basic information you need to deposit money into a third-party bank account is:

  • Payee’s name
  • Bank, building society or credit union (though this isn’t necessary)
  • BSB (or bank code, which is the branch identifier)
  • Account number

Including the name of the financial institution isn’t necessary – particularly with online banking – because the BSB will identify this for you.

A handy tip is to record yourself (or add a personal message) in the transaction description or reference. This will show up on the recipients account, letting them know who’s paid them the money.

How can I find bank accounts in my name?

To find ‘live’ bank accounts in your name, you’ll have to ask individual lenders, which involves contacting them one by one and proving your identity each time. To find ‘unclaimed’ bank accounts (those that have been inactive for at least seven years), you can use this website.

Can you open a bank account at 16?

Yes, you can open a bank account at 16, or even younger. If you’re 13 or under, you will probably need a parent to accompany you to a branch.

How do you find a bank account number by name?

For privacy reasons, Australian banks won’t hand out account numbers or other details about their customers. However, if you provide a bank with a BSB and account number, they should be able to confirm if those numbers belong to one of their customers.

Can I close my bank account over the phone?

In most cases, you can close a personal or business bank account over the phone. In fact, this is the best way to ensure you’ve closed an account properly.

By speaking to a banking representative, you can capture and close out any pending transactions, or interest owing/payable on the account being closed.

In the instance where the account is a joint account, or you have multiple bank accounts you want to close, your bank may send you a form that you need to fill out and return.

Either way, you would be advised over the phone of the steps you need to take. Calling your bank ahead of closing an account is often a smart course of action.

Can I open a bank account in another country?

Despite having a bad rap for facilitating tax evasion, it is possible and legal to open a bank account in another country, also known as an ‘offshore account’.

Some people choose to open a bank account in another country to invest overseas, for higher interest-earning potential or to access foreign banking services.

The process for opening an offshore bank account differs depending on the financial institution and country in which you’re opening the account.

Typically, you will need to provide identification such as a passport, a local bank statement and a signed declaration proving the source of the money being used to open your account. Usually, deposits into offshore accounts can be made by international money transfer.

Can Centrelink access your bank account?

Yes, Centrelink can access your bank account, but only if you give them a reason to. Centrelink uses data-matching software with other federal government agencies to help it crack down on welfare cheats.

This is why it’s important to give true and matching information to all government agencies.

For example, if you report to Centrelink your annual income is $25,000, but at tax time you report your income as $50,000 with the ATO, it’s likely you’ll be ‘red flagged’.

At this point, Centrelink can legally request that your bank hand over your personal bank account details, to review your finances.

In most cases, Centrelink does not have the authority to take money out of your account. You will usually be given written notice to repay the debt.

However, Centrelink can also reduce your benefits until you’ve paid back what you owe. In extreme cases, Centrelink can garnish your wages and assets (including money in your bank account) until your debt is repaid.

How do you delete your bank account from PayPal?

Deleting your bank account from PayPal is a simple three-step process:

  • Go to your Wallet
  • Choose the account you’d like to delete
  • Click ‘Remove bank account’

How can I check my bank account balance online?

Checking your bank account balance online is a simple process. Once you’ve logged in to your online banking, clock on the relevant account and the balance should be visible.