Whipping your finances into shape is always a good idea, but it can be hard to know where to start. While you might be tempted to rush in and make some big changes to boost your savings, you might want to pause for a moment and just take a breath. You can’t go into a gym and start lifting the heaviest weights – you need to do the prep work first. The same goes for your savings.
It’s good to have big goals like buying a house, or planning a wedding, and it’s the small, sustainable changes you can make in the short term, that will help your savings in the long term – while still living your life.
See if you can weave these 10 budgeting tips into your life to save money without the strain. By going slow and steady you can still get big results.
1. Always make a list before shopping
No matter what you’re shopping for, making a list will help you stick to a budget. Shopping with a list gives you a close estimate as to what you’ll be spending so you don’t go over budget. If we’re talking groceries, try click and collect or delivery so you won’t be tempted by all the possibilities in store.
2. Start selling unused belongings
It’s time for a stocktake of your unused belongings. Whether it be clothes, furniture, or even appliances – dust them off, snap some photos, and sell them online. You likely won’t get them for full price, but every dollar in your savings account helps!
If you find yourself with quite the collection of items you could part with, why not consider a market stall or a garage sale? You’ll have a clear cupboard, and some cold, hard cash to show for all your hard work.
3. Shop smarter by spending more
Fast fashion retailers skimp on quality to produce on-trend clothes cheaply for consumers. After just a few washes, you’ve probably noticed the clothing is no longer in great condition, leaving you with no choice but to buy new clothes again.
Start shopping with this mantra in mind: Quality over quantity. If you consider cost per wear for a wardrobe staple like a pair of jeans, it can help to justify spending a little more. Go for classic cuts and colours that you can make multiple combinations within your wardrobe and keep the fleeting trends on the rack – if you must have them, they’ll be on sale soon enough.
Higher end brands might cost more, but they will last you a lot longer helping your savings account in the long run.
4. Switch up your coffee habits
Australians spend roughly $1.6 billion a year on tea and coffee, according to ASIC Money Smart. As you can see that $5 cup you get every morning adds up quickly. Cutting out store-bought coffee is one of the easiest ways to save. But if that is not on the cards for you, there are ways to still get your fix for less.
Most cafes have loyalty cards, and offer a discount with reusable coffee cups – so buying yourself a Keep Cup could do more for you than just having a cute accessory.
Investing in a coffee machine for home might seem expensive – but think of the time and money you could save making your own latte at home? It would also stop the urge to order a croissant every second day at your local café.
Or if you have a myBOQ savings account, you could grow your savings every time you need a caffeine hit by using the Round ups feature in your myBOQ app. This is where your debit card transactions are rounded up to the nearest dollar, and we put that extra change straight into one of your savings accounts.
5. Make savings dates with your friends or partner
It’s frustrating to feel like you’re missing out just because you’re trying to save. But even those friends who seem to be on a good wicket can benefit from saving some extra money – so consider getting the whole crew involved in saving. Commit to a games, dinner, or movies night at home instead of going out. You can take turns in who hosts each month. You’ll still have fun while keeping your spending to a minimum.
6. Opt in to being designated driver
A night out is always hard to pass up, even if you’re trying to save. But sometimes the cost of getting to and from your party spot can be just as expensive as the night itself.
Do your friends and yourself a favour and offer to drive next time there’s a social event on. You’ll skip rideshare fees, the line for drinks, and the next day’s hangover. Your wallet and liver will thank you.
7. Give meal-prepping a go
Meal-prepping isn’t just for gym bros making chicken and broccoli anymore. It’s an option for everyone to win back more time, money, and energy throughout the week. Pick a quick and easy recipe that you can whip up on a Sunday afternoon, that will last a few days in the fridge.
Some quick options include pasta dishes, a bulk salad you can chip away at, or even roasting some meat or veggies that you can use to make yourself a wrap each day. You could save yourself a lot of money, and time crippled by indecision on what to eat for lunch each day by dedicating a couple of hours on your weekend to meal-prepping.
8. Track your spending
Understanding where your money is going can help you recalibrate and re-evaluate your spending. Set up some time for yourself to go through your bank account, think about your regular payments like bills, appointments, grocery shopping or transport, and jot them all down. Then looking at your income, determine what your weekly budget can be.
But don’t just stop there. Track your spending for a week and see just where that budget is going. There are tools and apps online that will help you do this, or if you have a myBOQ savings account you can use the budget planner in the myBOQ app. The Budget Planner also lets you set spending limits on specific categories like groceries, bills, and entertainment to help track your spending on the go.
9. Turn off appliances when you don't need them
Save on bills (and the environment) by turning off electronics when they aren’t in use. Unless they are fully turned off or unplugged, appliances from lamps to laptops are still using power and that’s costing you money.
10. Get a better bank account
Make sure your bank account is helping you save. If you have a myBOQ transaction and savings account,the myBOQ app takes the hassle out of your everyday banking and gives you complete control over how you use your money.
We’ve made it easy for you to keep on top of your bills, stick to a budget and save more. Because when you get the most out of your banking, you get the most out of your money.
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