1. Print your bank statements or keep all your reciepts for a fortnight or month and find out what your money is really being spent on. Coffees, snacks, taxi fares you may be shocked.
2.Set up a table income vs expenditure to find out if you are actually saving or just making ends meet.
3. Work out where you can save money. Consider; The day you fill up your car Where you buy your food from Latest product offers available eg car insurance Interest rates and fees on credit card
Bank fees for savings accounts Home loan comparisons Takeaway food
4. Put the necessary changes in place and set yourself a budget. You might find it easier to deduct fixed automatic costs first such as mortgage/rent then calculate what is left to pay the rest of your living costs and work from there. eg Income $500 a week, rent $100 a week so $400 leftover in a budget each week to buy food, petrol etc.
5. Organise your wardrobe and pantry. If you can clearly see what you have you won't end up buying things that you do not need.
7. Menu plans your meals from pay to pay. Write a list and stick to it so there is no food wastage or impulse buying.
8. Buy in bulk and freeze food. Get your groceries through wholesalers who deal in large portions and cut up into meal portions yourself and freeze. You'll save a tonne of money.
9. Familiarise yourself with discount buying sites such as Groupon or Scoopon. You will save big on holidays, electrics and other big bargains. There are so many sites, just sign up to a newsletter via email and have daily deals sent to you.
10. Pay your bills on time. Most companies, particularly utilities such as gas and electricity, will offer a discount for accounts paid on time. Consider paying a bit each pay direct from your account so you don't have to find a lump sum at the end of the quarter.
11. Find your money. Lot's of people have unclaimed money in dividends and super. Do a search of your name on Money Smart to see if there is anything owing to you.
12. Re-evaluate your lifestyle. Does your car serve its purpose? eg. You have a 4wd for driving to and from the city but never go off road? Would a more economical smaller car suit your lifestyle? How much alcohol and what type do you drink on the weekend? Would you benefit from joining a team sport for social interaction and better health?
13. When not in use turn all appliances off at the powerpoint and where you can UNPLUG them. It could save you up to $200 a year.
14. Get any leaking taps fixed. It may be a drip, but it all adds up at the end of the quarter.
15.Smart savings.If you have a home loan keep your savings in an offset account. It will help reduce the interest on your loan.
16. Where possible make extra repayments on your homeloan. Even most fixed rates will allow a certain amount extra paid off over the year. Use the bank's online extra repayment calculators to help you work out how much you can save in interest and how many years you can knock off your loan. Check that you have a redraw facility with your bank so that if you fall into hard financial times you can get the money back without penalty.
17. Learn to say no. It's often hard to save when you have offers of birthday parties, nights out on the town or you are desperate for a holiday. These are only short term problems and a week later will be forgotten about. There is nothing wrong with taking care of yourself. For cheap gifts see my other article Gift ideas on a budget.
18. Share house. It's a daunting thought for some people but all in all it's hardly ever that bad provided you start out the right way. There are plenty of sites such as Gumtree or Easy Room Mate or Share Accommodation where you can set up a profile to dictate exactly what you are offering or looking for in a potential housemate. Make sure you are clear about it. Don't try and dodge people's feelings as it will only flare up later when tensions are already possibly high. I have done this many times over the years and only two flatmates (out of thirty odd) turned out to be not so wonderful.
19. Clear out your spare room or shed. Remember your trash could be someone else's treasure and earn you some extra dollars.
20.Change your credit card. If you have credit cards with balances, look into rolling them over on to another card as a balance transfer. You will be charged a dramatically reduced interest rate over a longer period of time and save a lot in interest charges. Do a comparison of cards over the net. Some are currently even doing a 0% interest balance transfer for 12 months. Just make sure you cut up the card you transfer it from to avoid further debt.