Making small changes in your life can have a big impact on your savings – and even help you budget better. Take control of your money with these eight simple tips from finance guru Ross Greenwood and your bank account will be richer for it.
“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,” he told Nine’s Today show.
Say no to bank fees
Australians wasted around $53.5 million accessing their own money at the ATM in January, 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 as a nation we forked out more than $670 million in the past year, making it an expensive convenience.
“If you don’t use your own ATM you’re going to be charged $2 or $3 a time,” said Greenwood. “Do this once a week; that’s going to add up to $150 a year.”
Slash food bills
Australians wasted an estimated 4 million tonnes of food last year, with food accounting for around 40 percent of all household waste. By letting food go to waste we’re binning more than $1000 per person every year.
To reduce the impact on the hip pocket – and the environment – Australians should plan ahead to consume the food we buy or consider buying less to, says Greenwood.
“It’s also about shopping smart,” he said. “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.”
Reduce restaurant bills
Asking your waiter for a discount on the bill may not be a realistic option. But there are ways to enjoy dining out without breaking the bank. Taking a family of four out once a week could cost you $60 or $70, he said.
“That could cost you up to $3500 a year. If you want to save $1700, do it once a fortnight.”
Lottery isn’t a savings plan
The likelihood of winning lottery is around one in 45.5 million, but those odds don’t deter many Australians with millions queuing up for the chance to win the big prize money.
Most of us would be better off saving the cost of the ticket, according to Greenwood: “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.”
Coffee is an expensive habit
Research shows that Aussies spend around $770 million on coffee beans and instant coffee for brewing at home and that’s not taking into consideration the amount we spend on takeaway coffees.
It’s a big call, but Greenwood suggests cutting out the daily grind to save a bundle – at $3.50 a day your coffee habit is sucking up a whopping $700 a year.
“I love coffee, but the truth is do I really it or is it something that’s a bit of a luxury?”
So are cigarettes
Take this for consideration, says Greenwood. “A packet of cigarettes could cost you around $16. Smoke three packets a week and that’s $48 and over the course of a year it’s $2500.”
“If it’s not all about your health, then certainly it’s a cancer on your budget,” he said.
Paying for unused memberships
Anything you subscribe to buy don’t use is a waste of money. If you pay a monthly gym subscription, for instance, you’ll be spending around $70 per month. If you never or rarely go you could be saving $840 a year.
“The same applies to magazine subscriptions, book clubs and wine offers – these are one area you can cut back,” he said.
Do you really need it?
Impulse shopping is a big money waster, says Greenwood. So sleep on it before you buy.
It’s easy to save money by cutting out or reducing some things you buy – and changing habits. Try one or two of these money-saving tips and watch your savings grow.