Needing some inspiration to save money in 2017? Here are the best tips and tricks to easily save money this New Year.
It’s a New Year and hopefully a new you. Now is your chance to get ahead and plan the ways to save money this new year.
You probably spent last year trying to save money, get out of debt and free yourself from the compulsion to spend money. While some may have succeeded, many (myself included in some areas) did not.
It’s amazing however that over the course of a year, we all tend to ease up on our goals, forget the bigger picture and it’s not until a new years resolution comes into our mind that we start to want to save money again.
I want this post to serve as a kick start to your new years money goals. Here are some ideas to kick start this new year with a bang and get ahead financially – these saving money tips range from the basic to the strange and will all add up to put money back into your bank account this year.
Consolidate your credit cards and pay 0% interest on your debt
Don’t waste another year; consolidate your credit card debts with a long term balance transfer deal and use the time to repay them in full.
Save little, save often this year
Forget stretch goals/targets. Focus on little savings everyday. If you get something for a dollar cheaper, add that $1 into your savings account.
Don’t try and save $100’s of dollars each pay cheque if you are only going to withdraw it later.
‘Save little, save often’ is the mantra for this year.
Start a budget spreadsheet
You can download a budget spreadsheet here.
Swap an expensive habit for a cheaper one
Forget giving up things you like this year. Just look to make them cheaper instead. Don’t want to give up coffee and save $3.50 per day? Why not go to the ‘other’ coffee shop that sells it for $3.00 and save $0.50cents per day instead?
Bank the pay raise or bonus
Did you get a pay raise this year? Perhaps you were fortunate enough to get a bonus? If you got either of these things, split the ‘new money’ you receive in half, invest one half and bank the other (either into your debt or savings account).
So say you got a pay rise of $100 per fortnight. Put $50 into an investment (like a term deposit, shares or managed fund) and put the other $50 into debt or into your savings account.
Use an accountant this year
So many people I meet opt to do their tax returns themselves. They think the ATO’s eTAX system is the best thing since sliced bread. Well they are partly right, however getting an accountant to do your tax return can help free up your time and often they will find deductions that you never knew existed.
If your situation is a little more than basic (e.g. you are employed, have some investments and perhaps run a business on the side) – pay up to $150 for your tax return this year and watch the savings you will make. Often the investment in a tax return nets far more than $150 in return.
Open your first term deposit
Don’t rely on a term deposit to make you rich, but try and sneak away a cool $1,000 or $2,000 into a term deposit for motivation this year. There is something amazing about having a sneaky couple of grand set aside in a term deposit. It simply makes your money feel ‘right’.
Shop around for a good term deposit using a site like Mozo or ask your local bank manager for a special rate.
Cancel a direct debit
Cancel your gym membership, Foxtel or perhaps an over the top phone/internet plan. The goal is to remove 1x direct debit and calculate how much you will save over 12 months and use that money to repay debt or create your first term deposit.
For me I could reduce my home phone and internet plan by $30 per month. This would equate to a saving of $360 per year for one direct debit change.
Sell as much junk as you can – invest the proceeds
Search your home for things you no longer need. The goal to selling junk is to sell it before it becomes worthless. Odds are items in our house sit there until the day we clean up and throw them out.
Try and sell them before this day. Make a piece of junk that is earning you nothing, turn into a lump sum of money that you can save this year.
Read more about de-cluttering your home to save money.
Open a high interest saver for small deposits only
This year, open a high interest savings account that you use to put ‘micro’ deposits in. This means when your account has a few spare cents or dollars, you can transfer to your savings account. I do this with my St.George Maxi Saver account. The interest is average but it allows me to transfer small amounts of money, as and when I save money, into a separate account.
At the end of each month, I withdraw that money and put directly onto my mortgage.
This is also a useful strategy to implement for when you make a real life saving. So for instance, you find a way to save $5 on a purchase one day at the shops. That $5 was otherwise going to a retailer, so why not add to your savings account?
Get a cork board and start to visualise your money for the year
At my place we have a Kikki.K cork board (you know that fancy stationery shop in Westfield?) and we use it for pinning upcoming bills, events that cost money and inspiring new ways to save money for the week.
Use a cork board to prominently hang in your kitchen or living area and use it to motivate yourself to save money this year.
Start to batch process tasks to save money/time
I say this every year. Time is money, pay your bills all at once – not one at a time. Find ways to batch up meaningless tasks (like paying bills or sorting receipts) so you only have to do it once a month or similar.
If you do the same task multiple times over multiple days, it doesn’t serve to give you more time. Instead it takes up a huge amount of time, and in turn money. Use your time wisely this year and opt to make money or save money in your time, not waste it doing the same task 20 times per month if it can be avoided.
Start a drawer of snacks and food at your place of work
The old bring your lunch to work tip. Forget it. Just keep nice and healthy snacks readily available in your drawer in case you wish to skip lunch one day or simply eat at your desk.
I have Tuna and Beans in cans that taste great and they only cost me $3 or so per lunch. This means that on days you don’t bring your lunch, have money for lunch or simply want to save $15-$20 – you can eat from your snack drawer.
Contribute extra into superannuation
This year you need to consider your Superannuation. Even small amounts add up over the long term. Perhaps you could do an extra $100 per year (divided by 12) which is less than $8.33 per month. How easy is that? Depending on how long you have until retirement, even the smallest extra deposit will make a huge difference to your retirement cash.
Use a fuel docket every time you refill this year
This year, never fill up petrol without a Coles or Woolworths shop-a-docket to save 4 cents per litre.
I have only recently started to religiously put the dockets straight into my wallet for the next time I fill up. I am saving a good $5 every tank which isn’t huge but better than nothing.
Once you do your shopping, rip the fuel saving element off and place directly into your wallet.
Refinance your mortgage; continue to pay the old rate
Stop being lazy. Your mortgage rate isn’t the best and you know it. This New Year, you need to refinance your mortgage for a better deal. Be careful of break costs and exit fees but weigh up whether a new mortgage, with a lower interest rate would indeed help you save money.
A perfect example of this is my current loan. It is 1% higher than another loan on the market. All I have to do is make the effort to switch my home loan over to this new provider and I instantly have a couple of hundred dollars a month in extra cash.
That is money I currently don’t have and if I did have it, I could boost my savings or repay my mortgage at a rate of over $1200 extra per year.
Start collecting frequent flyer points for end of year freebies/vouchers
Don’t ever change your spending to earn Frequent Flyer points. Nor take up credit cards to simply earn points. Do however find ways to earn points from what you already spend on.
I did this with my Optus bills. I realised that every dollar you spend with Optus earns you a reward point, all you have to do is add your frequent flyer number. So I did, and this year I had enough points for a $50 David Jones gift voucher. Not bad right?
You can see ways to earn frequent flyer points by visiting the official Qantas website.
Stop buying books, use your local library instead
I am typing this post at my local library. Why? Because it is quiet, free Wi-fi and I can borrow books for free (oh and DVDs now too!).
Use this year as a chance to start going to the library more. They often have TV shows for rental and amazing new books. Don’t buy or pay for a book or DVD this year, instead use the library.