Easy ways to save money every day
7 January 2019
If you’re a 9-5er, chances are you have a pretty solid routine and a schedule. Your day might have familiar patterns, like travelling to work by car or public transport, and eating lunch at the local café.
During a typical workday, however, it’s easy to spend your hard earned money on unnecessary expenses if you’re not paying attention. But don’t worry, we can show you how to find the leaks in your cash flow and what to do to start saving money – without interrupting your workday.
Let’s put a magnifying glass over a typical Aussie workday. You might be surpised by what we find!
It actually starts before you get to work
According to ASIC*, in 2016 Australian households spent $666 billion on living costs – that’s a lot of money for things like groceries, transport, personal care and gadgets! What’s happening for you and your family at home is a good place to start. You’ve probably heard about the importance of budgeting already, so you might like to check out our 4 brilliant budgeting tips for families for a few ideas.
There are the obvious things – like packing your own lunch and skipping that morning latte – to help you cut down costs. But what else can you do to increase your chances? Let’s take a look, starting with your morning commute.
During your workday
If you drive to work each day, you’re probably facing a bunch of costs, such as petrol, car rego and parking, just to name a few. If you rely on your car to get you from point A to B, public transport might not be an option. So why not give ridesharing a go – you can compare the cost of using a rideshare service to what you spend on owning a car. It’s worth noting that the cost of car ownership in Australia adds up once you factor in everything you need to keep the car running, so it might work out better for you to rideshare for part of your week.
If you need to get the kids to school as well, a great use of time in the morning is riding a bike. Once you’ve dropped the kids off at school, you can continue your commute to work. It’s good for your health and could save you $50 a week if you live close to work and it’s a viable option.
You’ve no doubt heard that bringing your lunch to work can save you money. But what you might not realise is exactly how much and what that might equate to. For example, if you buy lunch twice a week and spend an average of $15, that’s $120 a month – a whopping $1440 a year! That’s a holiday or money to put towards your mortgage (or a deposit).
It does pay to be organised and make your lunch the night before by doubling your dinner recipe. Also, instead of just patting yourself on the back for making a meal, send $15 straight into a high-interest savings account. If you don’t see it, you probably won’t spend it!
3. The afternoon slump
If you work in an office, you’ll be aware of the dreaded afternoon slump. Once 3pm hits, energy levels drop and concentrating can become the hardest task. This is the danger zone for unnecessary spending, often involving coffee, chocolate and other sugary treats. This is where being prepared can save you.
For snack-attacks, keep a container of something nourishing in your desk drawer, like tamari almonds or a protein ball. That way you won’t get caught out when hunger strikes.
Similarly, instead of buying a coffee everyday from your local café, you could bring a French press to work and make your own. Buddy up with a colleague and take turns buying different flavoured coffee – that way, you can share the costs and expand your coffee palette.
After a long day at work, saving money might not be at the forefront of your mind. It doesn’t have to be if you’ve planned ahead and done your research. Remember this is about paying attention – to what you do and how you spend your money.
First, be like your dad and turn off the lights in any room you’re not occupying. You’ll save money on your electricity bill plus your lightbulbs might last a little longer.
Next, plan a ‘money date’ with you and your finances every week. Use this time to do a health check on your funds and plan out what spending priorities you have for the coming week. That might be a bill, knocking out a small debt (like a parking fine) or simply just allocating cash for groceries. This is also an opportunity to introduce the concept of bucketing your money into your financial vocabulary.
If you’re not familiar with the lingo, the term ‘bucketing’ refers to separating your money into different piles, rather than having it in one place. You can bucket your money in your bank account – especially if you have a Suncorp Everyday Options Account – and create a sub-account called ‘groceries’. Set up an automatic payment each week into this sub-account and you’ll have funds for your weekly shop without unknowingly blowing your budget.
Play the long game
There are a lot of easy ways to save money every day. Paying attention to the little habits that develop can help you make better informed decisions down the track. Saving money doesn’t have to involve large sums of cash or living off staples and depriving yourself – it can be fun, incidental and part of your daily routine.
* Australian Bureau of Statistics Household Expenditure Survey, 2015-2016
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