Big cities on a small budget
When people talk about saving it’s often in the context of long term goals and how a little bit saved up over many years really adds up. But what if you have a specific thing you want that’s not far away? Perhaps a wedding? A holiday? A baby? You might be surprised at just how easy it is to save money quickly if you really put your mind to it. We’ve gathered some of our favourite tips for saving and tallied up how much you could end up with in just six months.
Make your own lunch - $533
Here’s an easy $20 per week. Take your entire weeks’ worth of food into the office on a Monday instead of buying a pre-made sandwich. This is more convenient than heading out at lunch every day and it’s easier than making your own lunch before heading to work. An entire loaf of wholegrain bread, pre-cut roast chicken, bag of salad mix, pre-sliced cheese, olive oil spread and a bottle of mayo will set you back about $24 for the week. Compare this to a typical salad bar chicken sandwich at $8.90 for five days per week costing you $44.50 all up. In just six months this alone will save you a whopping $533
Tip: Other food savings
Make a list - If you’re already the make-your-own-lunch type, save money by making a shopping list and sticking to it. If you can avoid being lured into impulse purchases at the supermarket, you’ll likely save hundreds of dollars over the space of six months.
Don’t shop hungry - Before you even think about setting foot in a supermarket, eat. Shopping on an empty stomach is a sure fire way to end up buying loads of food you don’t actually need.
Ride your bike - $1586
People love to make excuses for why they absolutely can’t ride their bike to work, but let’s face it, many of us could do so quite easily. Who cares if you get a bit hot and sweaty? It’s only for a short time while saving. But look at the impact on your wallet -- just by ditching the bus for six months and riding during the warmer summer days, you could rack up a cool $1586 in saved bus fares alone ($6.10 per trip five days a week).
Tip: Other transport savings
Take public transport - If you don’t own a bike and it’s too far to walk, it’s time to bite the bullet, leave the car in the garage and take the bus (or train). This saves on both petrol and parking, plus you get plenty of time to read that book you’ve meaning to finish.
Shop around for cheap petrol - Can’t ditch the car? Then at least scout out the cheapest petrol. Try an app like Gaspy that lets you know where the lowest cost fuel is near you.
Cut down on nights out - $2080
If you find you’re going out every Friday night for drinks and a meal then catching a taxi home, you’ll know that it’s easy to find yourself $160 or more poorer by the end of the night. We’re not suggesting becoming a hermit, but if you cut back by half and go out once a fortnight instead, you might be surprised to hear that adds up to a whopping $2080 saved in six months ($50 for drinks, $50 for food, $60 for taxis). You can always get your fix by grabbing a couple of bottles of wine from the supermarket and having some friends over.
Tip: Other entertainment savings
Movies – If movies are your thing, avoid busy nights and save a few dollars by going on quiet mid-week nights when most cinemas offer reduced ticket prices.
Sober driver – If you are going out, save on taxis by designating a sober driver for your group. Take turns and you’ll only have to sacrifice one night of drinks each month but you’ll save loads on fares.
Bank smarter - $60
This one is more difficult to quantify, but if you’re seeing a lot of bank fees each month, it’s worth taking the time to ensure you have the right bank accounts for the right purpose. A dedicated savings account will earn a higher rate of interest and possibly even bonus interest if you don’t make any withdrawals in a month. However, they’re not great for everyday banking because they’re designed to encourage saving...not spending. For example, even if you’re making as few as three withdrawals per month from certain savings account, that could add up to $60 in unnecessary fees over six months. Simply by changing the way you operate your accounts, you can easily eliminate such costs.
Tip: Talk to your bank
Most banks have a range of accounts that are designed with a specific purpose in mind. Talk to your bank, let them know what you’re trying to do, and chances are they can help you save money quickly with just a few quick changes.