Whether it’s spending less on eating out or kicking that pesky online shopping habit, many of us aim to be more fiscally responsible as we roll into a new calendar year. A noble quest- but if you find yourself setting vague goals like ‘save more in 2021’ or ‘stop buying stuff’ without a real strategy, it might be time to double down on the specifics. Luckily for you, we’ve compiled a list of inspo to kickstart your serious savings plan.
Set a savings goal
Set yourself a savings goal, choose a timeframe and commit! Bonus points if it’s an emotional goal- you’re more likely to prioritise your goal over wasteful spending. Locked savings accounts can be your best friend here because you have to give 32 - 90 days notice to withdraw funds. Sayonara, impulsive buying.
The B word… budget
This one’s important, folks. Set a monthly/weekly budget plan (whatever works for you). Make sure to allow room for entertainment and socialising into said budget so there are no nasty surprises. Remember, your budget should be realistic if you’re planning to stick to it. If you cut back too hard, you run the risk of a blowout later. Your budget should prioritise the things that bring you joy and cut out anything unnecessary.
Try spending tracking apps
You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Get a handle on your habits the old fashioned way or with an app which tracks your spending automatically. Some banks offer this or you can download a third party app to do it for you. Now you can sift out what’s important to you, and what you could happily do without!
Separate your Accounts
Do you find yourself squinting at your account balance, mentally calculating how much you have left to spend after your rent comes out, and your gym membership, netflix subscription, and that parking fine you need to pay…? An easy way of keeping tabs on your discretionary spending is to separate it completely from your predictable monthly expenses by opening a separate account and spend gloriously guilt-free knowing you’ve set this money aside.
Declutter and sell
Go on, make Marie Kondo proud. Get rid of what no longer sparks joy, yes that includes those jeans you will squeeze into when you lose weight. Let it go.
Check your KiwiSaver fund
Being in the wrong KiwiSaver fund could be costing you some serious coin- we’re talking potential thousands here. Use BetterSaver to choose a better performing fund that also aligns with your goals and values. Woot woot.
Max out the government contribution!
Did you know for every dollar you put into your KiwiSaver the government matches you with 50 cents? It caps at $521 so as long as you put in $1042 a year you get the maximum amount.
How many hours did I work?
When you want to buy something, ask yourself how many hours of work it would take to buy that. If your hourly rate is $25, then those $150 shoes will cost you 6 hours worth of wages. Yikes.
Check and cancel subscriptions
Subscribed to Audible for a free trial and then forgotten about it? Cull all those subscriptions you no longer need or even downgrade your plans. Use the power of numbers and get cheaper subscriptions by sharing with other people. Split a Spotify family plan ($22.50 a month) with your flatties or siblings.
Set up account alerts
Notifications can be annoying, but less so when they are helping you become a better saver. Use those pings to your advantage.
Set up automatic payments into your savings account
You don’t want to overspend just because you forgot to transfer money over to your savings account. Set up automatic payments for the amount you want to save and let technology be your friend!
Use restaurant discounts
Your pals have invited you out to dinner, but that doesn’t mean you have to fork out the big bucks. There are a whole lot of apps that can help you save on eating out- First Table, GrabOne, eVouch - can all help you get those discounts.
Work out your Gym situation
Health! Fitness! An impressive physique! Working out is important, but it can also be pretty expensive. Try a budget gym, or if you’re super into variety and fancy classes, try a flexible subscription like ClassPass which allows you a certain number of rollover credits at many different workout studios each month.
Sometimes you just want to have a great night out with the boys/gals- but $18 cocktails add up fast. Get your mates together for some cheeky pre-drinks for a fraction of the cost and minimise the number of drinks you’re buying out.
Meal prep your lunches
Buying lunch can really add up over time. Top tip- if you’re not a meal prepper, buy ingredients to live in your work fridge so you can make your own sandwiches or salads on your lunch break.
Eating and buying what is in season can help save you those extra dollars. Frozen fruit and veges are great in those winter months too!
Calculate while you shop
While supermarket shopping have your phone calculator out and add up the cost of your items as you go (or shop online). That way you can make decisions to leave items behind (goodbye Whittakers on sale) before getting to the checkout and deciding it’s too late.
When you need to get your shopping fix, head on over to your local Reduced to Clear or Crackerjack, their excess stock and parallel imports get you some real bargains. Give online discount sites like OnceIt, 1day and Catch a go. They can be significantly cheaper than retail for the exact same item. Cha-ching.
Cut back energy use
Being energy efficient can be better for the environment as well as your wallet. Top tip: throw on the stereo when you hop in the shower and only stay in for the duration of one or two songs.
Top up your hop card and get moving! You don’t have to Uber when there are cheaper alternatives available. Remember the minimum cost for Uber is $5.95 and for the bus/train is $2.
Get Financial Advice
Research says 66% of advised Kiwis say they are happy with their financial position, compared to 47.7% of unadvised. Signing up to the BetterSaver waitlist is a great place to start!
Saving doesn’t have to be miserable, and making a few little changes can all add up to a big difference over time. Your healthy savings balance will thank you.