Saving money when you're living paycheck to paycheck

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Since the 1980s, the per capita disposable income for national households has gone up by 2 per cent a year. However, the cost of living is also rising and this can make savings pretty hard to achieve.

It’s a difficult task when you’re trying to save money and budget carefully for a home loan or other big-ticket purchase – emergency costs can arise out the blue and throw you off track. It is even more difficult when you’re one of many Australians living from paycheck to paycheck. So how can you turn your lower income into a higher savings account balance? 

Cut down on the fees

Whether you use a high interest savings account, low rate credit card or regular checking account, it’s likely that you incur bank fees. One way you could save money is by lining your finances up with a spending method that suits you. For example, using a card that is charged per-use might not be ideal for someone who spends most of their money using it.

Likewise, it could be a waste to have an unused transaction account drawing fees. Speak to your bank about what kind of savings account works for your habits. 

Smooth out the bills

According to the Australian Communications and Media Authority2, 34 per cent of post-paid telco customers experienced bill shock in the 12 months between June 2014 and 2015. Furthermore, 20 per cent of these people got a bill that was at least $200 more than they thought it would be.

This can happen across power and water bills as well, and really strain a tight budget. However, by contacting your power provider or telco and organising a regular payment plan, you may be able to plan out regular payments that keep you on top of your bills, without surprises breaking the bank. 

Take advantage of what’s offered

Depending on your financial situation, you may be eligible for entitlements from the Department of Human Services. Contacting them and making enquiries and applications could see you receive government assistance that drastically improves your bottom line.

Living paycheck to paycheck can make it difficult to achieve significant change in your savings account balance. However, with the right planning, putting aside even a little bit of money each week can add up. Use our home loan comparison tools to see how much you need to put together and how much you might need to set aside. 


^Words such as "top", "best", "cheapest" or "lowest" are not a recommendation or rating of products. This page compares a range of products from selected providers and not all products or providers are included in the comparison. There is no such thing as a 'one- size-fits-all' financial product. The best loan, credit card, superannuation account or bank account for you might not be the best choice for someone else. Before selecting any financial product you should read the fine print carefully, including the product disclosure statement, fact sheet or terms and conditions document and obtain professional financial advice on whether a product is right for you and your finances.

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