The secret to saving money is to find ways to save more. While your income level can help, it’s not something you need to rely on to save money. Instead, saving relies on your ability to be smart with money; cut costs, get better deals, and pocket the savings you make into a separate online savings account.
Here are some actionable examples and ways to start saving money when you might feel as though you’re living from pay cheque to pay cheque.
- Start saving money today
- Automate your savings strategy
- Sell your excess stuff
- Always save your tax refund
- Cancel a few daily expenses and save
- Get an auto-rounding account to save money
- Start using coupons more
- Reduce your social life and save
- Always buy the least expensive item at the supermarket
- Learn the difference between needs and wants
- Start saving your coins
- Assess your life and living situation
- Start an herb garden and save $10 each week
- Start a side-business to make money
Save today and earn interest tomorrow
It’s the simplest way to get a savings system happening. Start immediately. Even if you deposit a mere $5 into a high-interest savings account, it’s better than constantly making excuses and delaying your start.
Don’t set up to starve yourself next week to make up for not saving today – instead, just start small and work your way upwards - while a few dollars saved may seem like a drop in the ocean, it will start a savings routine that will be hugely beneficial in the future.
Automate your savings strategy
Automate your savings so that you never really notice the money missing. You can do this two ways:
- Organise a direct debit with your high-interest account
- Ask your employer to deposit a percentage of your pay to a different account
It’s easier if you don’t have to be the one responsible for moving the money. However, some of us can be tempted to withdraw our savings. If you find yourself in this position, it might be wise to consider the benefits of term deposits to avoid digging into your savings.
Sell your old stuff and save
Think about things you own that you rarely used. You might have a stash of old electronics:
- Old smartphones
- Digital cameras
All of these might just sit in boxes at home. Why not sell these items online and release the cash from these items so it can earn you interest?
Always save your tax refund
Your tax return can be relied upon for nothing more than to bolster your savings. Focus on a year-long plan to not require the tax money that may be coming. Budget better for bills, find ways to save - just never rely on a tax return to buy anything.
This will leave you free to save your refund and use it on something you really need further down the track. All you need to do is promise yourself to save your tax refund every single year.
Cancel a few daily expenses and save
Look at what you are spending money on, and try and cut one daily expense out and save the money instead. Don’t sacrifice your one, tiny luxury and submit yourself to a life of total misery. Instead, track your spending and look for unnecessary financial burdens.
Examples of things you could cut out or cut down on include:
- Cancel Foxtel
- Reduce your mobile plan
- Stop paying ATM fees
- Get a bank account that is free of fees
- Try and reduce your food intake
- Start to investigate cheaper commuting options to work
- Opt for a cheaper broadband plan
- Stop buying entertainment items (e.g. movies, junk food, video games)
- For those with mortgages or other debts, opt to pay a few dollars more (or as much as you can) to help you save money when you don’t have any
Some may struggle to set aside cash for a high-interest account, though increasing your minimum repayment by $5 or even $100 per repayment is a great way to force your savings and save money on interest.
Remember, an extra $5 now will save you many times that in interest.
Technically, you are repaying debt faster and saving money when you don’t have any, just by reducing your interest payable.
Auto-rounding accounts save money
You can set up a transaction account that rounds up every purchase you make and deposits the remaining money into a savings account automatically. A purchase for $15.60 could be rounded up to $16 or perhaps even $20 - automatically depositing savings of either $0.40 cents or $4.40.
Start using coupons everywhere
Coupons are increasingly available for just about every business, service and website. If you are struggling to save money, hunt down deals and vouchers for purchases you regularly make. The savings you achieve from using a coupon or voucher can then be added to your savings.
If you are wanting to buy from an online store, do a Google search for the name of the store followed by ‘coupon’ or ‘voucher’ or ‘discount’. Odds are you will find some coupon codes that achieve a discount or special offer on the purchase.
Reduce spending in your social life
Got no money and feeling broke? Stop living like you do have money and aren’t broke.
The first thing that has to go is your expensive social life. If you have no money and want to save money – not going out will put a few hundred dollars a year back in your pocket (or for some, a few hundred a week!).
Opt instead to do activities that are fun, healthy and cost no money. Going for walks with the family to get fit, playing sports at a local park, entertaining with board games, re-watching movies you purchased - the list goes on.
Cheapest products to buy at the supermarket
Make it a game when you shop to always buy the cheapest item. You’d be surprised at how little difference you can notice - the cheapest pasta and the cheapest bolognese sauce can not only be cheaper, but healthier!
Needing quick wins to save money? Try these ideas for inspiration:
- Toilet paper
- Cleaning products
- Canned foods
This will give you a really good rounding of products that can save you money by opting for the cheaper option.
Learn the difference between needs and wants
If you are trying to save when you don’t have money, you really quickly need to understand the difference between Needs and Wants. Adjusting your mindset will allow you to save and prevent you from feeling miserable about not buying as much stuff anymore.
Start saving your coins
Save your coins. This is a simple step you can make toward building a cash stash, and will be a visual reminder about how a little bit here and there can quickly add up to a great savings amount.
Assess your life and living situation
Is your rent too high? Find a cheaper place. Mortgage too much? Maybe your house is too expensive. Grocery bill too high? Perhaps you need to eat less or strategise what’s going wrong? Car repayments killing you? You’ve bought a car you can’t afford.
While the rising cost of living is partly to blame for just about everything that costs us money, there is still a lot of things we can do to really save money if we wanted.
Herb gardens can save you $10 a week
You might be spending around $10 each week on easy-to-grow herbs like dill, mint, basil and more. These tiny little bunches of herbs that we love to cook with can often set you back $2 or $3 a bunch.
Take a trip to Bunnings and purchase some seeds, a pot, and some soil. Six weeks on and you’ll have so many herbs you’ll be looking to find extra ways just to incorporate them into meals. That’s a saving of $520 a year and benefits you can continue to see for as long as you keep your garden healthy.
Start a side-business to save money
Why not consider starting a side-business and look at passive-income opportunities in your local area? Everyone has at least one skill that they can market, and you can use this to both make money, and improve the lives of those around you.
- Mow Lawns
- Offer writing services
- Paint houses
- Walk Dogs
- Give guitar lessons
Final thoughts on saving money when you’re broke
It’s not an easy thing to start saving money when there are so many demands on your income, and especially if it’s not as great as you’d like it to be. Remember - and remind yourself - that any amount of savings, no matter how small, is a step in the right direction.