Are these the world's wackiest ways to save?

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.

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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.

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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 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.

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.

What are the requirements of an ING Bank locked savings account?

An ING bank locked savings account - also called a term deposit - offers you interest in exchange for holding your money for a period of time.

The terms offered include as little as 90 days or as long as two years. Generally, the longer you lock your money away, the higher the rate of interest. 

The minimum deposit amount for an ING locked savings account is $10,000. 

To be eligible to apply, you must: 

  • Be an Australian resident for tax purposes
  • Be aged 13 years or older
  • Hold the account for personal use (ING offers business term deposits as a separate product). 


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.

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 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.

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.

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.

Do I have to claim interest on my savings account?

When you lodge your income tax returns, you must include in the documentation all your sources of income, including bank interest. Your bank will report any interest you earn on the funds in your savings account to the Australian Tax Office (ATO). When the ATO then compares this information with your tax returns,  you also need to have mentioned the interest earned. If there is any discrepancy, you’ll receive a letter from the ATO. 

Avoid this situation by ensuring you receive your bank statement with interest noted. Then declare the interest in your tax returns and pay the tax that’s applicable based on the income tax rate.

You only need to claim your share of the interest earned for joint accounts. If you manage an account for your child and receive or spend money via this account, you will also need to report any interest earned from said 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. 

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.