How to save money effectively
Saving may not be as fun as spending but it doesn’t need to be difficult. All it takes is a bit of planning and some self-discipline – and you’re on your way to achieving your goals.
How to save effectively
These tips will help you to get your savings started.
Step 1: Set goals
Step 2: Stop unnecessary spending
Step 3: Bank smartly
Step 4: Develop a budget
- Be clear about your goals.
- Make sure they are realistic.
- Set a time limit – list your goals as short, medium or long term:
- short term goals are the things you want in the next year or so, for example buying a new TV or iPad, or going on a holiday
- medium term goals are the things you want in the next two to five years, like buying a new car or saving for a house deposit
- long term goals are the things you want that may take longer than five years – it could be owning a home or having a family.
- There are a few things you can do to help you on the way to achieving your goals.
- Write your goals down and keep them somewhere as a reminder.
- Tell someone about your goals – this will usually increase your chance of achieving them.
- It pays to be patient. If you have a setback, get back on track as soon as you can and don’t give up.
- Maximise the amount of money you save by spending less on unnecessary items.
- Ask yourself if you really need it before purchasing – most of the time, the answer will be no.
- Don’t be tempted at the sales counter – items there are designed to get you to buy on impulse.
- Pay yourself by setting up a high interest bank account for your savings. A good starting point is transferring 10% of your income to this account each pay to avoid spending your whole pay packet. You’ll hardly notice the difference.
- Open a bank account just for your expenses.
- Bank with one institution to avoid being charged lots of account and transaction fees.
- Use you own institution’s linked ATMs to avoid paying extra fees.
A budget is a plan that shows where your money comes from, how you spend it and what (if any) you have left over. It allows you to plan your future based on your current situation.
Here are some tips to help you budget successfully.
- Take time to plan – find out how much you earn and spend
- Work out your income – the best place to start is to check your payslip, but income can also come from other sources like a bonus, or interest on your savings.
- List regular expenses – these could be things like rent, electricity, mobile phone bills or gym memberships. It’s a good idea to look at your credit card statement and bills to find out what you spend monthly and yearly.
- List unexpected expenses – think about other expenses you might have, like car repairs or dental bills (it’s a good idea to have a separate ‘rainy day’ fund).
- Calculate – subtract your expenses from your total income and look at the result.
- Evaluate – if you’re in front, you can put more money into your savings each month. If you’re behind, you need to look at what you spend your money on and cut back.
- Be patient – a good budgeting and saving plan doesn’t happen overnight.
- Review – make sure you review your budget monthly.
The following table will help you to ask yourself a few questions and identify cheaper alternatives.
|Buy your lunch every day?||Buy lunch once a week and take a lunch from home on the other days.|
|Buy a cappuccino every morning?||Cut back on caffeine, save money and be healthy at the same time.|
|Go to the movies often?||Borrow a DVD from the library.|
|Go out for dinner a lot with your friends?||Invite friends over and cook for them instead.|
Check out the following budgeting tool:
For more information on budgeting and saving, read this practical guide:
Tell us about your savings tips
There are plenty of things you can do to help you save. Here are a few – and you’ll be able to think of plenty more.
- Make your own gifts for birthdays and Christmas – they’re a lot more personal and cheaper too.
- Don’t buy things you don’t need.
- Go online to check out some great discounts. (link to shopping online)
- Shop with a shopping list and stick to it.
- Take advantage of sales.
- Register online with your favourite shops so you’re notified in advance of sales and specials.
- Buy your petrol on those days of the week it’s usually cheaper.