Saving doesn’t always have to be a battle. There are plenty of ways you can help save, whether you’re aiming for a first home loan or a holiday. Here are just a few ways you can add to your savings every single day.
1) Cook at home
Making your own food seems to be going through a bit of a renaissance at the moment in Australia. Almost a third of those in Generation Y have increased the frequency at which they cook at home, while social dinner parties and cooking for guests has also made a resurgence, says a recent McCrindle study. Cooking at home grants you more control over what you put into your body as well as more cash in your pocket – buying your lunch rather than taking the time to make it could be creating a huge dent in your savings.
On the other hand, the majority of millennials eat out at least once a week, according to Nielsen research. That’s more than every other recent generation, meaning that first home buyers are chucking a pretty significant chunk of change at the convenience of eating instead of cooking. These two results seem to indicate that while young Aussies are cooking more, they aren’t necessarily saving more on food either.
Do yourself a favour and cook a batch of lunches rather than rely on a local cafe or fast food takeaway to satisfy your cravings.
2) Carpool to work
There’s no good reason not to car pool if you’re capable!
Chances are, there will be someone at your workplace whom you could share a ride with. The running costs for even an efficient vehicle is about $100 a week, according to National Roads and Motorists’ Association data. Rather than battling the traffic on your own, consider trying to carpool. By taking two or even more people in to work, the car owner can cut their own running costs (through contributions from passengers) while also removing another greenhouse-gas-producing vehicle from the road.
One paper from the 29th Australian Transport Research Forum describes how carpooling would also increase staff retention for businesses due to improved accessibility and reduce stress for passengers due to decreased time behind the wheel. People who run their own business might want to investigate implementing an enterprise-wide carpooling scheme to help their employees save money every day too!
It’s economical, sociable and environmental – there’s no good reason not to car pool if you’re capable!
3) Power down
Many appliances in Australia have a standby mode which they will switch to when not being used for a while. Computers and televisions are particular offenders, but nearly any electronic appliance could have some form of “sleep mode”. While this does reduce their power usage, it does not remove it entirely: the South Australian government demonstrates how even a single watt of standby power would add over $2.50 to your annual energy bill.
Now imagine that with multiple appliances, most with more than a single watt being used at standby. Instead of paying this convenience fee every year, just switch things off at the plug. Timers can also be extremely helpful for certain systems, automating the powering down so that you don’t have to rush around the house clicking switches before you leave for the day. The savings should more than make up for the small initial buy in, allowing you to put more into your mortgage and achieve financial freedom faster.
Do yourself a favour, switch on to switching off.
4) Monitor your spending
You can’t keep a real track of your saving goals if you don’t monitor yourself. Keep receipts or make simple notes of how much you spend in a single day, then set a goal for reducing that spending and putting it into saving instead. There are plenty of systems, methods and even apps to help you with this. Make a weekly and monthly budget too, set some long term financial goals – ensuring that you can make your home loan repayments consistently will relieve a great deal of the stress of your mortgage.
Furthermore, ensure that your goals are realistic but still challenging: specific, difficult achievements tend to result in better performance than no goals or “do your best” challenges.
5) Sleep on it
Do yourself a favour and sleep on the decision.
It’s an old adage, but a good one. When you find yourself tempted by some new gadget or appliance, do yourself a favour and sleep on the decision. One study from the University of Amsterdam found that while simple choices were able to be handled perfectly well by the conscious mind, more complex decisions were helped along by the unconscious mind after a good sleep. Worrying over it and over-thinking tended to result in poorer decisions over all, so don’t stress – just sleep!
So if you find yourself tempted by a snap decision on a big financial commitment (or even a small one), take the time to let your unconscious mind work it out for you.
Of course, if you want to take more control over your mortgage, make sure you speak to a local finance or mortgage broker and ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible!