Are these the world's wackiest ways to save?

From the sensible to the quirky, everybody has ways they try to save to reach goals or bring themselves those little moments of joy, such as the moment you’ve earned that free coffee from a loyalty card!  

Latest research from ING Direct shows that we’ve become a nation of savers; Australians are saving more than ever, with the average household managing to triple savings in the past two years.

With that in mind, RateCity asked Australians to share their best money saving tips and the responses ranged from the wacky to wonderful, here are some of the best. 

Visual reminders of a goal can help

A holiday? A special purchase? A surprise gift? RateCity user Malcolm suggests pining pictures of whatever he is saving for around the house as constant encouragement for prudent saving.

Setting a goal with visual reminders was a popular motivator to save among respondents. Kim added, “I’ve stuck a photo of my dream holiday destination onto the front of my credit card. It’s helped me think twice about unnecessary purchases!”

Christine agrees, “Every time I’m tempted to buy lunch at work I put the money in a jar decorated with a picture of what I’m saving for.”

Get thrifty in the kitchen

One area of the home where many respondents found big savings was in the kitchen. It may not come as a huge surprise though, given that not-for-profit group DoSomething – organisers of the FoodWise campaign, found that Australians throw out about $8 billion worth of edible food every year.

To curb this waste, Geoff told RateCity he reuses teabags by storing them in the fridge, while Jeff pours leftover milk from his breakfast cereal back in to the bottle.

Some other practical ways to save money on groceries included Alison’s tip to shop online and avoid unnecessary impulse buys.

Katrina adds, “Never go shopping on an empty stomach, otherwise you always end up buying things that aren’t on the list.”

Russell eats more vegetarian meals to save money spent on meat, while Elizabeth suggests eating food sourced from your pantry and freezer only for one week every month.

Lots of respondents also told RateCity they save money with homemade lunch and coffees during the working week.

Related stories

Set some rules…

Setting a few simple rules for how you spend money can have a big impact on how much you save. For example, Avery suggests waiting 30 days before committing to a purchase she is considering. “I ask myself if I still want it [the purchase]. The urge usually passes.”

Other ways to avoid temptation include freezing credit cards, according to Rachael. “If you really want something you have to come home and thaw them out first. Most times, you don’t end up buying,” she adds.

Kimberly’s top tip is to treat saving as if it’s a regular bill that you must pay, “deposit it into a separate savings account that doesn’t have card access.”

And of course, every cent counts when it comes to saving for big ticket items. Hollie’s tip is to never spend $5 notes. “It’s amazing how placing these aside adds up to a huge amount – it makes an awesome Christmas fund.”

While Rachel offers this thrifty tip, “When I get my shopping receipt, at the bottom where it says the amount saved [from discounts on grocery items] I put that amount into a money box – it soon adds up!”

…And break a few

Some of the more cheeky savings tips from Australians included using the free Wi-Fi connection at a local library or café for any mobile downloads.

While Karen collects free toiletries from hotels during a holiday, Ryan suggests checking between the cushions on a couch at friends’ and relatives’ houses for loose change!

If you’re an obsessive saver and have a clever savings tip to share, let us know, or check out other great savings tips on Facebook.

Related links


Did you find this helpful? Why not share this article?



The money talks which you don't need to avoid any more

Subscribe to our newsletter so we can send you awesome offers and discounts


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.

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.

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. 

What is a savings account?

A savings account is a type of bank account in which you earn interest on the money you deposit. This makes it one of the easiest and safest investment tools.

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)

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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

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.

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.