We all know that money doesn’t grow on trees and the sad reality is that saving money can be an absolute nightmare. You earn some money, and then by the time you pay your taxes, rent, bills, and daily expenses, there’s barely anything left for your savings. And then there are those splurges every once in a while too…
Here are five tips for how you can get rid of that notion that you’re a terrible saver, and start to add more to your savings account every month. Holiday in the Whitsundays, anyone?
It’s A Little Psychological
Now, I’m no expert in psychology, but first, when it comes to saving money, you need to tell yourself that you can save. If you’re constantly in the mindset that you’re a terrible saver, however true that may be, it’s going to be incredibly difficult for you to escape your negativity and actually build up your savings. As you consider the next four steps, remember that attitude is important. Reinforcing the belief that you can save will go a long way – I can assure you of that.
Budget Budget Budget
Having said that, let’s turn to the most basic way you can start saving more: budget. Clear at least a few hours of an afternoon, sit down with all of your bills, expenses, and other documentation, and start collating together all your monthly income and expenditure. Once you’ve totaled how much you have coming in and coming out, you can work out how much you should be saving. If you’re not saving as much as you want (or nothing at all), there are obviously some expenses that you will need to cut down on.
On the note of expenses: I don’t want to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s likely that there are some things you will just need to cut down on. Perhaps it’s your extra two coffees a day – that’s at least $40 a week that you could be saving. Be tough on yourself and figure out what are your needs and what are you wants. However, remember that no one demands you go cold turkey. Feel free to take it slowly, for example, cutting down from five coffees a week to three.
Investigate Your Credit Card
If you notice during your budgeting that credit card payments are sucking a lot of your income, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate your current credit situation. How many credit cards do you own and are they offering you the best rate on the market? You might discover that you need to consolidate your finances and just have one or two credit cards instead of five.
Pay your credit card bill on time because if you don’t, the interest cost will be huge. Remember to always read the fine print – you don’t want to be caught out.
Keep A Watchful Eye On That Super…
Lastly, I want to warn you to keep an eye on your super. Sure, you might not be able to access it for another couple of decades, but it’s worth investigating how exactly your super fund is running and what you can do to ensure you’ll get the most benefit out of it. For some, that might mean starting a self managed super fund, for example, with Clime. For others, you might want to leave things in the control of your accountant. Either way, it’s good to be sure of where your money is going.
Heather Shaw is a freelance writer who is interested in personal finance and smart choices. She’s been slowly saving up after going on a holiday and knows that it’s the little sacrifices that will lead to her savings building up!