Finding money leaks in your budget

Find out how you can save money simply by changing your spending habits.

Do you ever wonder where all your money goes?  

The average household in Australia spends about $70,000 a year on general household items1. But it’s not only big ticket items, like rent, groceries or bills that eat into our bank balances. It’s the little items that really add up.

Most of us have ‘leaks’ from our wallets every day that we rarely budget for, such as coffees, magazines, takeaways, cash withdrawals, unnecessary fees and charges or ‘set and forget debits’ which can be a real drain on our savings over time.

So what can you do to plug these money leaks and make sure you’ve got enough to last until payday? One approach is to track and review your spending and then change your habits. If you follow our tips below, it could be easier to do than you think.

1.    Keep track of every dollar you spend

Keep receipts for every purchase you make and then add the details to a spreadsheet or notebook at the end of each month.

If you want to do this on the go, use the MoneySmart app TrackMySPEND or the Money Manager located within My AMP, to keep track of all your spending in one place.

At the end of the month, tally up your receipts and compare them with your bank statements to jog your memory on where you spent your cash withdrawals.

2.    Review your statements

Identify where you are paying unnecessary fees and charges, such as for a home telephone line or a gym membership that you rarely use.

And check what money you have spent at bookstores or games shops that you could have borrowed from a library or downloaded for a better price.

3.    Change your spending habits

Once you’ve identified your money leaks, you can start taking steps to reduce them:

  • Work out how much you are spending on the little things. Set yourself a daily limit and make sure you don’t go over it.
  • Check the back of your shopping list for discounts at local stores or cinemas.
  • Buy in bulk when sales are on.
  • Try a new recipe at home rather than get takeaway.
  • Read a book or go for a walk rather than go shopping when you’re feeling like you need a mood lift.
  • Only buy what you need at the supermarket, so you don’t waste food and money.

By being aware and mindful of how much you spend on impromptu purchases, you’re more likely to stem any leaks before they ruin your budget plans.

4.    Set up a budget

You need to have an annual budget, so you can plan how much you intend to spend and how much you can afford to save for things like holidays, renovations or even school fees. Check out our budget planner calculator to help you get started.

5.    Have an emergency savings plan

We all need to put aside money for emergencies or unexpected events. With the money you save in reducing your money leaks, you could set up an emergency savings account for when your fridge needs replacing, your car needs repairs or when you have an unexpected trip to the doctor.  

By having this fund set up, it will give you peace of mind that you have some rainy day money to draw on when your leaks dry up!

Need more help?

Why not sign up for an AMP Bett3r account to help you manage your money, save more and be rewarded for taking control of your finances.

If you need further assistance, speak to your financial adviser. If you don’t have one, call us on 131 267 or use our find an adviser tool.

1. https://www.moneysmart.gov.au/managing-your-money/budgeting/spending/australian-spending-habits

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Any advice in this page 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 this advice, you should consider the appropriateness of this advice having regard to those matters. AMP Bett3r Account is issued by AMP Bank Limited ABN 15 081 596 009, AFSL 234517. Consider the terms and conditions available on request by calling 13 30 30 or at amp.com.au/bett3r and whether this product is appropriate for you. Fees and charges apply.