Saving in a material world

It’s not easy to be thrifty in our consumer society. We’re surrounded by so much temptation that it can be difficult to avoid spending money.

So why not try taking a break from spending this spring. If you can tighten your belt over the spring months, it could help you save for the upcoming Christmas expenses.

Here are some creative ways to cut your spending.

Get smarter with your spending...

Negotiate on your utility bills It’s a competitive market, with energy companies chasing your business. So don’t be afraid to ask your provider for a better deal, or switch providers for a better offer. Many companies also offer ‘bill smoothing’ so you make even payments throughout the year and don’t have to worry about a jump in your bill when the season changes.
Give up the daily latte! For many of us, the morning coffee has become an integral part of our working routine. But just for spring, why not try the coffee machine at work. By the start of summer, you could have saved more than $360.  
Buy in bulk...and get to the market

More Australians are realising the benefits of buying home brands and in bulk. Stock up on daily household staples to make some real savings.

And for your fruit and veg, it’s worth trying the market. Buying directly from market traders can mean less mark-up. Get there half an hour before stalls close and you’ll find that prices go down rapidly as traders sell off their stock.  

Shop online

There’s also a reason marketers pay a lot of money to put their products at the end of the aisle. It’s just too easy to pop them into your trolley.

So why not go online? You might not get quite so many bargains. And you might pay a little for delivery. But you’ll avoid those impulse purchases. And by consuming less, you could spend less.

Leave the car at home Spring is in the air. So with the weather warming up, you could try walking or cycling to work. You’ll save money, get fit and you might even get to work more quickly by avoiding the gridlock. And if your workplace is simply too far away, what about cycling to the nearest train station?

...and get smarter with your finances

Put more into super You can sacrifice some of your take-home salary to boost your super and potentially make immediate tax savings. These 'concessional contributions' carry tax advantages. Contributions are taxed at only 15% (or 30% if you earn over $300,000pa), which for many people is lower than their marginal income tax rate. You can put up to $30,000 into your super at the concessional tax rate (or $35,000 if you’re 49 or over as at 30th June 2014).
Bring your super accounts together More Australians are realising the power of one super fund. We can help you bring your super together for immediate savings if you are paying multiple sets of fees.  
Consolidate your debts Having a number of debts could potentially mean you pay higher interest rates and multiple sets of fees. So think about bringing them together into the debt with the lowest interest rate, which could be your home loan. The lower interest rate means you’ll pay less interest from day one. And down the line you’ll pay off your debt sooner.  
Set up an offset account for your home loan An offset account is a day-to-day savings account typically linked to a variable rate home loan. Your savings reduce the balance of your home loan for the purpose of calculating interest charges. It’s a simple tool that can help you make immediate savings on interest. And over the life of your home loan you could save thousands of dollars.
Get your tax return done! The official tax return deadline is the end of October. And if you’re using an accountant you’ve got even longer. But why wait until the last minute? The earlier you receive any tax return, the earlier you can start getting your money working for you. After all, it’s your money.

Come the start of summer, your combined spring savings on fees, groceries, utility bills, interest and so on could easily run into four figures. And come Christmas you might find you have a bit more in the kitty.

Keep it going!

Of course, we’re all different. So it’s important to find your own way to save and make the sacrifices you’re prepared to make to achieve the outcome you want. At AMP we’ve got some great tools to help you find your own personal balance between saving and spending.

  • Check out our Education Modules on:
    • Paying off debt and taking control of your debt, so that it doesn’t control you.
    • Managing Your Money to get you thinking about your financial choices and actively managing your money.
  • Read all about how to Bust bad debts for good, including the 30% rule and ‘good debt’ vs ‘bad debt’.
  • Crunch the numbers on our budget planner calculator to assess your current financial situation.

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Any advice in this document is general in nature and is provided by AMP Life Limited ABN 84 079 300 379 (AMP Life). The advice does not take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Therefore, before acting on the advice, you should consider the appropriateness of the advice having regard to those matters and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement or Terms and Conditions before making a decision about the product. AMP Life is part of the AMP group and can be contacted on 131 267. If you decide to purchase or vary a financial product, AMP Life and/or other companies within the AMP group will receive fees and other benefits, which will be a dollar amount or a percentage of either the premium you pay or the value of your investments. You can ask us for more details.