9 DIY ideas that will save you money

9 DIY ideas that will save you money

If you find yourself with more time on your hands than spare money, it may be worth learning how to DIY some of your daily essentials to help boost your savings.

Making things that you usually spend your disposable income on for less money than if you had purchased them will not only help your bottom line but give you a great sense of accomplishment.

While taking on DIY projects is an investment of your time it will free up your cash to put towards longer term savings goals. Here are nine things to start making or doing yourself:  

Cleaning products

Not only will making your own cleaning products save you a whole lot of money in the long run, it’s also a great way to eliminate harmful chemicals from your household and replace them with something a little more natural. There are recipes online to make everything from toilet cleaner to wool wash and most of them use everyday household products such as bicarbonate soda and vinegar as their base. The best part is that you can customise your products using essential oils for different scents, depending on what you like.  

Beauty masks

Before there were reasonably accessible day spas and Sephora stores across the world, women would use natural remedies to keep their skin fresh, blemish free and young. There’s no reason that hundreds of years of natural wisdom should go to waste now, especially when making your own home face masks is just as effective and way cheaper than what’s available in stores. Common kitchen ingredients such as yoghurt, honey and avocados double as beauty basics that will help keep your skin soft and clear.

Haircuts

This is a risky DIY project but for those of us who have relatively easy haircuts to maintain, and a loved one who’s willing to help out, a home haircut could help save hundreds of dollars a year, if not more. This DIY project is particularly good for people who have a fringe that needs constant maintenance or a shaved hairstyle that can be kept clean with a pair of clippers at home.

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Lunches

The temptation to buy a delicious takeaway meal for lunch can be very real for many workers who look forward to it as the highlight of their day. Even though we know that a DIY lunch will save us money, and most likely help our waistline, it might just never seem worth it. The answer to this dilemma is simple: spend time planning lunches that you actually want to eat. If you put in the effort to make meals that you like at home, rather than slapping together something at the last minute that you aren’t interested in eating, you will find that taking your own lunch to work isn’t such a bad thing after all.

Gifts

If you have a skill that can be turned into a gift then you should count yourself lucky and make good use of it. Whether it’s sewing, woodwork, photography or whatever else, making a personalised gift for a loved one is a great way to show you care. While you may end up saving some money as a result, the gift will still take up your time and effort which is a great way of showing the thought and love that went into it.  

Vegetables

A DIY veggie patch is a great way to reduce your weekly grocery bill and minimise your impact on the environment. By getting back to nature and growing in-season vegetables you’re reducing your ecological foot print by cutting out the travel emissions of your food coming to you and the packaging involved. If starting a full blown veggie patch seems a bit beyond you then you can always pick up a variety of herbs from your local nursery and start there.

Coffee

If you made your coffee at home or work every morning, how much would you save? Depending on your level of coffee addiction the answer will vary but for most people, investing in a coffee machine set up could lead to serious savings over time. While it is often the ritual of going out for a coffee in the morning that keeps us going back to the habit, replacing this with a short walk could help with undoing this purchasing routine.

Fertilizer

Once you’ve established your DIY garden and are making DIY coffee at home, you will have unknowingly started your own coffee grounds fertilizer factory. The left over grounds from your machine are great for use in compost or in the garden as they help to improve drainage, water retention and attract microorganisms like earthworms to your veggie patch.

Soda

If you have a soda water or soft drink habit, chances are you’re spending a good chunk of money a month paying for it. Much like coffee, switching to a DIY soda maker that you can keep in the office or at home will be an investment that will pay itself off quicker than you may think. 

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Learn more about savings accounts

How to make money with a savings account?

Savings accounts make you money by earning interest on your savings. The more money you deposit, the longer you leave it in the account, and the higher the account’s interest rate, the more interest you’ll be paid by the bank or financial institution, and the more your wealth will grow.

To make sure your savings account makes money and doesn’t lose money, it’s important to maintain a large enough minimum balance that the annual interest earned exceeds any annual fees charged on the account.

Can you have a joint savings account?

Yes. Joint savings accounts can be useful for two or more people wanting to combine their savings to meet shared financial goals, including spouses, flatmates and business partners.

Some joint savings accounts require all parties to sign before they can access the money. While less convenient, this extra security can help encourage all parties to meet their shared financial goals.

Other joint savings accounts allow any of the account holders to access the money. These accounts can be convenient for financially responsible couples that trust one another implicitly. 

How do I open a savings account?

Opening a savings account is a relatively simple process. If you’ve found an account with a suitable interest rate, you’ll just need to get in contact with your chosen lender via a branch, phone call or hop online to begin the process. 

You may be required to provide:

  • Personal details, including identification (driver’s license, passport etc.)
  • Tax file number
  • Employment details

Can you set up direct debits from a savings account?

It’s not usually possible to set up a direct debit from your savings account to cover ongoing expenses or bills, as savings accounts are structured around growing your wealth by earning interest on regular deposits, and discouraging withdrawals.

Some transaction accounts allow you to set up direct debits and also earn interest, though you may not enjoy as much flexibility as a dedicated transaction account, or get as high an interest rate as a dedicated savings account.

How can I get a $4000 loan approved?

While personal loans and medium amount loans don’t offer guaranteed approval, there are steps you can take to help increase the likelihood of your application being approved, including:

  • Fulfilling the eligibility criteria (providing ID, proof of residency, proof of income etc.)
  • Checking your credit history (you can order one free copy of your credit file per year, and make sure that there aren’t any errors that may be bringing down your credit score)
  • Comparing carefully before applying (making multiple loan applications can mean having your credit checked multiple times, which can look bad to some lenders and reduce your chances of being approved by them)

What is the interest rate on savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to look at interest rates on savings accounts is to use a savings accounts comparison tool. When you look at the savings rate check what the maximum and minimum rates are. Often banks will offer you a promotional rate for the first few months which is competitive, but then revert back to a base rate which can sometimes be less than inflation. Ongoing bonus rates are often a safer bet as they will keep rewarding you with the maximum rate, provided you meet their criteria

Can you direct deposit to a savings account?

Yes. You can make one off payments or set up regular direct deposits into a savings account. This can be organised easily through online banking or by making deposits in a branch. Talk to your lender to find out the easiest way for you to set up direct deposits.

Who has the highest interest rates for savings accounts?

As banks frequently change their rates, the most accurate way to know who currently has the highest interest rate is to use a savings account comparison tool.

How much money should I have in my savings account?

A good rule of thumb when working out a minimum balance for your savings account is to make sure that you’ll earn more in annual interest on your savings than what you’ll be charged in annual fees.

If you’re saving with a specific goal in mind, prepare a budget so the interest you earn on your deposits will help you efficiently reach this goal. Online financial calculators may be helpful here.

How does interest work on savings accounts?

The type of interest savings accounts accrues is called compound interest. Compound interest is interest paid on the initial deposit amount, as well as the accumulated interest on money you have. This is different from simple interest where interest is paid at the end of a specified term. Compound interest allows you to earn interest on interest at a higher frequency. 

Example: John deposits $10,000 into a savings account with an interest rate of 5 per cent that he leaves untouched for 10 years. At the end of the first year he will have $10,512 in savings. After ten years, he will have saved $16,470.

What is a good interest rate for a savings account?

A good rule of thumb to keep in mind with savings accounts is to look for a rate that is higher than the CPI inflation rate. This number is constantly changing, so check the Reserve Bank of Australia’s page. If you aren’t earning interest above this then the value of your money will go backwards over time.

Can I overdraft my savings account?

A lot of savings accounts won’t let you overdraw. Some will allow this feature but you’ll need to apply first. It’s best to read the fine print and check with your lender whether this is a feature they offer. It can be a helpful addition, but as your lender can charge you a fee as well as interest for going into negative numbers, it’s best to avoid overdrafting when possible.

Can you set up a savings account online?

Yes. Several large and small banks offer online applications for savings accounts, and there are also online-only financial institutions to consider.

Online-only savings accounts are often less expensive than other savings accounts, though they may not offer the same flexibility, features, or face-to-face service as more traditional savings accounts.

How to open a savings account for my child?

Some banks and financial institutions allow parents to open a bank account for their child as soon as it is born, and start depositing funds to go towards the child’s future.

Children’s savings accounts generally don’t have fees, and are structured to help develop positive financial habits by limiting withdrawals, encouraging regular deposits, and earning interest on the savings, similarly to standard savings accounts.