From your banking habits to your cell phone and your shopping, a few simple adjustments can save you big time in the long run – and you don’t have to make sweeping changes either!
Try these tips, track your savings, and you’ll be amazed how it all adds up.
1. Start checking your automatic monthly payments
Most of us don’t check our bank statements closely – but you could be making automatic payments for things that you don’t need. For example, you could have unnecessary insurance policies or memberships and subscriptions that you no longer use. Look for expenses you can slash. You could save a fortune in the long run. It can sometimes be difficult to determine what certain deductions are even for. Before you cancel them, check through these with an advisor from your bank.
Look for expenses you can slash. You could save a fortune in the long run. It can sometimes be difficult to determine what certain deductions are even for. Before you cancel them, check through these with an advisor from your bank.
2. Cut your credit card costs
If you use your credit card at all, try to zero your balance every month before interest is charged. And if you already have a hefty credit card debt, try to pay it off faster. Credit card interest is just a useless extra expense that doesn’t benefit you at all. Some banks offer credit cards with no to low interest rates for new customers over a limited period.
If your credit card debt is too high to get rid of quickly, you can get a head start by applying for a new credit card, pay off your old credit card using the new one and get a head start on repayments that way. Before you take this step, talk to your bank to see if they can offer you a better deal – and if you go ahead and get a new card, cancel the old one so that you won’t be tempted to max out two credit card accounts instead of one!
Before you take this step, talk to your bank to see if they can offer you a better deal – and if you go ahead and get a new card, cancel the old one so that you won’t be tempted to max out two credit card accounts instead of one!
3. Look for the best banking deals
A lot of people out there aren’t getting the best possible deal from their banks. Although changing all your payments is a bit of a hassle, you could end up saving a lot through lower bank charges or better interest deals.
Get a list of charges from your bank and enquire as to whether there are any special deals you can take advantage of to reduce your charges. Check your options at other banks too – if your bank’s charges are high, you could save a packet.
4. Pay off your mortgage faster
Once again, it’s a matter of reducing the cost of debt. The lower your mortgage balance, the less interest you pay. If you have a mortgage, put all the extra money you can into your mortgage rather than into a low interest yield savings account.
You will be amazed what a big difference just a little extra in repayments can make. $6 extra per month will save you up to four full instalments at the end of your mortgage. You can use an online mortgage calculator to determine the impact of your extra payments and to get you motivated to change now and save later.
You can use an online mortgage calculator to determine the impact of your extra payments and to get you motivated to change now and save later.
5. Watch your cell phone costs
Compare pay-as you-go options to your current contract, see if you really do use all the data and calls you’re getting every month (you might be able to downgrade if you don’t), use Wi-Fi whenever possible and choose free communication options like WhatsApp.
When you call, try to do so in off-peak periods to save on individual call costs. Your service provider will be able to tell you when calls are cheaper. And for long calls, it’s better to use Skype – for computer to computer calls, it’s absolutely free, and it could save you on landline calls too. By the way, did you know that you can get free apps like Talkatone and Kakotalk that allow you to make voice calls?
6. Get a budget tracking app
If you haven’t worked out your monthly budget yet, start now, and use a budget tracking app to keep you up to speed with your spending. And why pay for an app if you can get a free one?
Billguard or Wally both have excellent ratings from reviewers and won’t cost you a cent. They’ll even help you to develop your budget if you haven’t done so yet.
7. Make take-out food an exception
If you’re in the habit of hitting the vending machines or the fast food outlets for snacks and meals, you’re paying a lot more for food than you need to. Take a little time to prepare home-made snacks and meals.
Not only will you save on fast food, you could end up saving on medical expenses and gym fees as a result of the weight you can lose if you move away from fast foods.
Single people may have difficulty in buying enough foods to offer variety without having a lot of food going off before it is used. Vary your diet by choosing a healthy take-out in a large portion size and instead of forcing yourself to eat the lot, save half the portion for a second meal.
8. Develop a taste for free water
There are some fantastic filters that take out the chemical flavour of tap water along with any dissolved salts, and you may be surprised at how much you save when you cut out bottled water, juices and sodas.
To keep things convenient, get several water bottles and rotate them through your fridge. For extra-cold water, freeze some water in the bottom of plastic water bottles and top up with fresh water before you set out in the morning.
9. Always shop with a list (and stick to it)
If you just browse the aisles looking around for things you might need, you’ll end up buying a lot of non-essential items – and you’ll probably miss some of the things that you originally set out to get.
Next day, you’re back in the store – and faced with temptation once again. The less often you shop and the more purposefully you shop, the less you’ll spend.
Merchandisers are clever, and they know how to get your attention. Before you shop, list the things you need, and buy nothing else. It’s also wise to go shopping after a meal – all those snacks and yummy food items look extra nice when you’re hungry!
10. Stop buying cheap shoes
Good quality shoes often last much longer than cheap ones. Look for good shoes at discounted prices in stores and online. Getting good quality doesn’t have to be expensive. Tip: prices often drop during January and July as stores change over their seasonal stock.
You can get as much as 50% off a pair of excellent shoes that will last you for years. The worst time to shop for shoes or clothes is when the new stock has just arrived and in the run-up to the festive season.
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