Break your spending habits with these simple money smart tips.
If your wallet has been feeling the pinch lately, why not start afresh with a full review of your spending habits to assess where and how you can save money?
Just like a regular dental check-up or a maintenance check for your car, take the time to regularly reassess where your money is going and you’ll be surprised by how much you could be cutting back on.
1. Drop the debt
One of the first things to prioritise when reviewing your finances is to pay off any outstanding debts. Debts can be incredibly draining and you can’t start to save until you’re in the clear, so send these straight to the top of the list to sort out.
How? One way to do this is to get a 0% balance transfer card, and transfer your debts over to the new card so that you're able to repay the debt during the honeymoon period without suffering any interest charged on the debt. They key is to use the account as an interest free loan, pay off the debt and do not use the card for any new purchases.
One of the best deals balance transfer deals around this month is the one from ANZ Low Rate card, offering 0% p.a. on transferred debts for 9 months! (Limited time)
2. Change daily habits
Think about your day and where you spend your money. Splashing out $3.50 on your morning coffee might feel like loose change, yet by doing this every day you will be spending over $1000 a year. Consider having a cup before you leave the house or make one in the kitchen when you get to work. Smoking and drinking can also cost you a small fortune – try cutting down to benefit both your health and your wallet.
A great savings tip is to try and not even open your wallet up to two days a week. For instance make Tuesdays and Thursdays 'no spending days' where you bring your lunch to work and refuse all urges to buy anything. Leave all your cash at home on these days making it even harder to for you to access cash. If you have to expend effort to find an ATM then it gives you time to really think about whether you need the cash for whatever you desire.
Related: How to save money without even trying
3. Stop pricy pampering
Those little treats of a manicure here or a massage there can really mount up. If you’re paying to get your nails done every two to three weeks, consider that you could be spending almost $10,000 over a 10-year period.
It's not very hard to do paint nails yourself, and if you really need a hair cut you could search online for a group buying deal offering a half price hair service.
4. Set a spending allowance
If you can’t resist a strong coffee from the local café or a glass of wine in a restaurant, then set yourself an allowance. Learn to spend within your means and try to set aside a manageable amount each month.
Working within a budget means your spending will be more controlled and you should start to see your savings creeping up rather than endlessly going out. Set up a high interest saving account and start putting something into it each pay day. Opening one is free and owning one doesn't cost a cent. You can set up a direct debit to deposit savings into it on or after each pay day.
Alternatively you could get your whole salary paid into the savings account, then set up a direct debit to pay your transaction account on or after pay day, giving yourself a strict allowance for all your predicted expenses. This helps you stick to a spending budget and save the rest.
Compare high rate saving accounts today at Moneyhound to find the one that pays the highest rates of return.
5. Make a list
Do you regularly find yourself idling down shopping aisles throwing anything you fancy into your shopping trolly? Supermarkets are designed in a way to entice you to spend then you'd planned to.
If you know exactly what you need then write it down on a shopping list and don't buy anything more then what's listed. Alternatively you could give the list and your budget to someone else to do your shopping for you. Swap lists with a friend so that you do each others grocery shopping, that way neither of you will be inclined to buy anything more than what's on the list for the other.
Related: Top 10 financial resolutions for 2013
6. Unsubscribe from mailing lists
How many emails do you receive each week from retailers giving you discount opportunities or telling you about their upcoming sales?
What you don't know can't hurt you, so bite the bullet and unsubscribe so that you stop hearing from the brands you like best. You can always re-subscribe at a later date once you have the savings to treat yourself.
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