It has been suggested it could take a person nine years to save for a deposit on a home in capital cities and just over seven years in regional areas1? But what if there were small incremental actions you could take in your everyday life to speed up this process?
While some of these tips might be fairly basic, we sometimes forget to adopt good savings habits. But by being reminded of where we can save, you could speed up your home loan deposit savings.
1. Review your subscriptions
Many of us might be guilty of this one. In this digital age, we sign up to online apps and subscriptions for gym workouts, meal deliveries and streaming services. While some of us are quick to sign up to ‘free’ subscriptions, many of these free services often switch over to paid memberships and auto-debit once the ‘free’ period expires. Determine if you use these subscriptions regularly to warrant the expense and if they provide a value-add − if not, cancel. Every small saving adds up.
2. Sell unwanted items
Another guilty pleasure − especially when you have the luxury of space in your home to accumulate stuff. But as they say, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Time to cull! EBay, Facebook Marketplace or Local Buy, Swap and Sell groups are great places to sell your used, unused and unwanted items. And you’ll feel free for having decluttered. Keep your eye on the prize when doubts creep in – living in your own home sooner.
3. Create a second income stream
Almost everyone can create a second income for themselves. It is something many of us dream about and is possible with hard work, determination and innovative thinking. You could live off your primary income and save your second income. You may have a skill set outside of your workplace. For example, if you are a hairdresser, provide mobile hairdressing services out of hours or from a home salon. If you are an accountant, offer book keeping or tax services. If you are a tradie, advertise building repair, maintenance or garden services. You can advertise your services on sites like Upwork, Fiverr, Airtasker or even Facebook groups local to your area of residence.
4. Use cash back apps
The cash back concept has been around for years − think shop-a-docket receipts. But newer entrants such as ShopBack and Cashrewards2 have given consumers more options. These sites give customers a percentage of purchases back when they buy from partner retailers. Many of these cash back apps have no joining fees and savings are generally around 5%, although specials are offered at different rates and outlets.
5. Find the money traps in your utility invoices
It is easy to renew annual charges and services without a thought with many automatically rolling over. But there are savings to find in expenses like electricity, car insurance, green slips and health insurance. Shop around to find cheaper alternatives. Many offer no lock in contracts or discounts for paying on time.
6. Be aware of those sneaky bank charges
Be diligent and regularly skim through your bank statements for unexpected or duplicate admin fees and service charges. These can creep in without your knowledge − question those that seem unusual. It might be worth considering a financial institute that offers little or no account keeping fees, especially given many of us are banking online.
7. Avoid late payment charges with automatic direct debits
Do you find it easy to let a bill slip past the due date? Many service providers charge late fees on overdue payments. Save yourself money by setting up automatic direct debits on or before the due dates.
8. The dreaded ‘B’ word
You are either good at it, or not, but budgeting does work. Whether you track your spending with a spreadsheet or an app or use ‘money buckets’ to allocate money to different types of costs, it pays to budget. Simple strategies of automatic transfers into a savings account, everyday expenses account and ‘play money’ account can help put more structure and restrictions on your spending.
9. Shop at discount stores
You don’t have to live off less to save money. You just need to be a savvy shopper, shop at discount stores and be on the lookout for special deals that can make your dollar go a lot further. By adopting this small habit, money you normally would have spent on paying full price could instead be considered as your ‘spare change’ and moved into your home loan savings account. We’ll say it again − every little bit adds up.
10. Save your spare change with ‘round ups’
Savings round up tools, apps and account sweeps are easy ways to make automatic everyday incremental savings. Many bank accounts have these free built-in savings round up features3.
11. Save with store or credit card rewards
Many people utilise credit or store cards to manage their daily expenses to reap rewards. While frequent flyer rewards are often linked to credit cards, you can also save at your regular retailers. For example Fly Buys points are offered across a broad range of retailers that can be converted into Fly Buys dollars, sometimes with significant savings of out of pocket expenses. Your local café might use Rewardle or similar to give free coffees to regulars. So why not reap the rewards while shopping for your monthly essentials?
12. Become a savvy bargain hunter
Spending only during sales can save you hundreds of dollars on essential or splurge items. Many in-store and online retailers usually offer great bargains. And remember the annual end of financial year sales, Black Friday and Boxing Day sales.
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