If you can, treat savings like an essential expense. If you are on Centrelink payments or low income, you might only be able to put away a little – but even doing that every week makes a difference. Use a jar or piggy bank and put your coins in it every night when you get home. Before you know it, the jar will be full, and you can take it to the bank to deposit.
If you earn wages and are able to save more, consider keeping your savings separate from your everyday money. Keep it in an account with a separate bank or don't link the account to your debit card. If it's harder to access the money, then it will be easier to keep your savings growing. Make your savings automatic by setting up a regular direct debit to occur the day after you are paid so the money is never in your account long enough to be spent. This may mean you earn more interest if you have chosen an account that rewards you for not making withdrawals.
Shop around for the best savings account. Websites like Mozo will show you different types of bank accounts and what interest they are paying. Don't be afraid to move your savings from one bank to another if you can get a better deal. Make sure you check the terms and conditions in case there are fees or minimum deposit amounts.
When you're saving money it's important to set goals and try to stick to them:
- First, you need to determine what your goal is and how much you need to save. Do your research and consider if the amount you need may be higher in the future than today. Your budget will help you with this.
- Second, set a time-frame to achieve your goal, but be realistic. Consider the budget you've prepared – how much can you afford to save? Do you need to save more?
- Finally, stick to your goal – there's no hard and fast rule for how to do this; it's something you learn with experience. Think about the important things you've done in life and how sometimes those have required a sacrifice, like maybe not going out with your friends. Use these skills to help you stay focused on your savings goal and to not get side-tracked.
- Consider sticking your goal on the fridge or wall to keep it in your mind. You may want to share the goal with someone who can keep you accountable.
Further information on savings can be found at the MoneySmart website.
[Article updated 1/12/21]