5 easy ways to save hundreds by Christmas

5 easy ways to save hundreds by Christmas

With Christmas only a month away, now is the time to buckle down and save. However, unless you’re expecting extra cash to fall out of the sky, you may need a little help filling up the presents piggy bank.

Here are a few ways you can inject some extra cash into your savings account this holiday season.

1. Ditch the smokes and save $1,110

If the obvious health benefits aren’t enough of an encouragement, giving up smoking for just 30 days may save you $1,110 by Christmas.

According to Tobacco in Australia, a 25 pack of Winfields costs $37.00. On a pack a day habit, this would cost you $1,110 over 30 days. If you’re able to curve the cravings, even to one packet every two days, you could save big for the silly season.

2. Cut out one coffee a day and save $120

Most of us know that going without coffee wouldn’t see us lasting until Christmas. However, if you’re a multiple-cups-a-day drinker, cutting out one $4 coffee a day could save you $120.

If your office has as coffee maker, consider giving it a go to get your afternoon caffeine fix. It won’t be the same, but it’ll be worth it for the extra savings.

3. Switch UberEats for home cooking

It’s no surprise that eating out or ordering takeout can quickly get expensive. If, for example, you and your partner order $50 worth of takeaway once a week, this would cost up to $200 over four weeks. Cooking at home is far cheaper, and you can easily put those savings into your present piggy bank.

4. Install a discount code extension

If you’re planning on doing some of your Christmas present shopping online, consider installing a discount code browser extension, such as Honey. It automatically finds discount codes that you can apply on checkout.


Screenshot of website The ICONIC with Honey extension running

5. Follow a money saving challenge

If you’re not prepared to give up any of your vices, consider following one of many money challenges you can find online.

For example, here’s a guide to save $465 in 30 days:

1 $1 $1 16 $16 $136
2 $2 $3 17 $17 $156
3 $3 $6 18 $18 $171
4 $4 $10 19 $19 $190
5 $5 $15 20 $20 $210
6 $6 $21 21 $21 $231
7 $7 $28 22 $22 $253
8 $8 $36 23 $23 $276
9 $9 $45 24 $24 $300
10 $10 $55 25 $25 $325
11 $11 $66 26 $26 $351
12 $12 $78 27 $27 $378
13 $13 $91 28 $28 $406
14 $14 $105 29 $29 $435
15 $15 $120 30 $30 $465

High interest accounts to boost your savings

With interest rates so low at the moment, you won’t see your savings grow much at all in 30 days. However, if you get on top of things now, by next Christmas you could seriously boost your savings.

A good rule of thumb to follow is trying to keep your savings account rate above the rate of inflation. According to The Reserve Bank of Australia, this is currently sitting at 1.70 per cent.

If you have a conditional savings account with a max rate below 1.70 per cent, you may want to consider switching to a more competitive account.

Market leading conditional savings accounts:

Company Min. rate Max. rate Conditions
86 400 0.40% 2.25% Monthly deposit of $1,000
Up 0.50% 2.25% 5 card transactions per month
Bank of Queensland 0.35% 2.15% Monthly deposit of $1,000
UBank 1.04% 2.10% Monthly deposit of $250
ME Bank 0.35% 2.05% 1 Tap&Go purchase from everyday account

Source: RateCity.com.au

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Learn more about 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.

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 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 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

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

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.

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 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.

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 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 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 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 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.