Research has found that almost three quarters of Australians surveyed save by putting spare money into a savings account, whether they do this themselves or via an automatic transfer. Other popular savings methods include keeping savings money in an account they can’t touch, building up extra savings in their transaction account or depositing savings into their home loan offset account.i
But everyone is different and just as your strategy for how to save money might be different to these, so might your savings goals.
Recent research indicates that the most popular things Australians are saving for are a holiday, a rainy day, and to buy or renovate a home.i
Whether it’s one of those, or something else, the first step in saving is to figure out what your savings goal is. Then you’ll need to work out how much you’d like to save, and by when.
Once you know your goals and timelines you need to work out where the money will come from. For some people, this might be the entire surplus between their pay and what they spend each month.
If you’re spending every cent that comes in, you’ll need to identify extra income you might be able to earn or think about cutting back spending to free up money for your savings goals. The following tips could help:
Creating a budget can help you track expenses you can avoid or reduce, such as expenditure on non-essentials like pay tv, gym memberships, buying your lunch at work, entertainment and eating out. Cutting back a little on expenses could make a difference.
Unfortunately, bills are a part of life, but it’s possible you may not be getting the best deals available in the market, especially if it’s been a while since you last contacted your providers. You can contact them directly or make use of the many product and service comparison sites available online
If you find you’re throwing out food at the end of every week, you might be able to reduce your grocery spending. Instead of replacing household goods consider whether items can be repaired, reused or upcycled.
Having multiple debts such as credit cards, personal loans and a home loan could mean you’re paying more in interest rates and fees than you have to. Not only could combining your debts help make money management easier, it could save you money.
Once you’ve identified your savings goals and found some money to save you’ll need to work out the best method of saving for you.
When looking for a suitable savings product you’ll need to consider many things, including the fees charged, interest rate, how accessible your money is, whether you can set up an automatic direct debit, and whether there’s a minimum amount you need to deposit each month.
We look at some of the key features of common saving product options below.
Standard savings accounts are usually low fee, and your money is readily available, but they can pay a lower rate of interest. High interest savings accounts offer you the opportunity to earn a higher rate of interest on your money but there may be penalties for withdrawing your money before a set period of time has passed or ongoing minimum deposit requirements.
An offset account can help you save money by minimising the interest you pay on your home loan. Putting any extra money you have into your offset account can help accumulate savings and also offset your home loan balance. This means you only pay interest on the remaining portion of your loan.
Term deposits lock your money away for a certain timeframe in return for a guaranteed interest rate return during that time. A general rule of thumb is the longer the timeframe, the higher the interest rate. Term deposits are generally low in fees, typically require a minimum initial deposit, and can sometimes require a minimum ongoing deposit.
Investment bonds can offer a tax-effective way of saving for the long term (longer than 10 years). They typically require either a minimum deposit or minimum ongoing deposits, and you can choose how your money is invested.
We can help you get started on saving. Give us a call today.
Article by: Paul Clitheroe AM.
i ASIC Moneysmart, How Australian’s save money.
General Disclaimer: Paul Clitheroe AM, co-founder and Executive Director of ipac securities limited, Chairman of the Australian Government Financial Literacy Board and Chief Commentator for Money magazine. This article contains information that is general in nature. It does not take into account the objectives, financial situation or needs of any particular person. You need to consider your financial situation and needs before making any decisions based on this information. Please seek personal financial advice prior to acting on this information.