Five money savings tips for the modern girl
Whether you’re saving up for a round-the-world holiday, a new set of wheels, that gorgeous dress you saw at the mall, or for something a bit more exciting like your first home, you need a plan to reach your goal. If you are disciplined enough to stick to the tips below, you will get there before you know it!
1. Get a job.
I’m stating the obvious, but saving regularly isn’t going to be possible without a regular source of income. Get into gear, get your resume done up nicely (there are heaps of templates/ideas on the net), and get a job. Whether you’re studying or in between jobs or on the dole, even a part-time job helps to pay those phone bills (& shopping sprees) and will also get you closer to your goal. Plus, it’ll make you appreciate how hard it is to actually earn the humble dollar, which in turn will make you more money savvy.
2. Set-up an online savings account for whatever you are saving up for.
Your bank most likely offers an online savings account that can only be accessed online (i.e. you can only transfer money online between that account and another standard checking account, which is also known as your linked account), and they offer pretty good interest rates compared to the standard account you currently have. Once this is done, start an automatic savings plan/direct debit plan so that every week/month a certain amount gets debited automatically from your ‘linked account.’ Before you know it, a nice little sum will be growing and earning interest.
3. Create a budget.
I know, I know… this word makes most people cringe and conjures the image of a nerdy accountant wearing a vest and thick-rimmed glasses (not all of us accountants look that boring)! Creating a budgetcan actually be exciting. In a nutshell, it should be your ‘money plan,’ which tells you what’s coming in and what your estimated expenses are (groceries, study fees, rent/board, car expenses, insurance, going out, etc). Most people fall into the trap of just taking into account their weekly expenses, and then when the 6-month car registration comes along, they’re stressing as to where they’ll find the money to pay for it. The trick to avoid this dilemma is calculate all your non-weekly expenses such as taxes, annual car insurance, private health insurance, monthly haircuts, birthday presents, etc. and divide it into 52 weeks or, if your budget is a monthly budget, into 12 months. That way you know the amount that needs to be put away each payday into a separate ‘non-weekly expenses savings account’ (this can be a separate online savings account), and when these bills do come along, you don’t need to be taking money out of your savings account to cover for this. After all, you really don’t want to be sacrificing that hard-saved holiday money to pay for bills, do you?
4. Live with your parents.
If your parents are bearable and they’re still happy to have you living at home, take advantage of this rare situation and stay at home as long as feasible… bear with me on this one (I have been there, done that)! The amount of money you will have saved in rent alone in two years is staggering; at least $15,000 – that’s a lot of dough and I can think of a million ways of spending that better than paying someone else’s mortgage off. Obviously, be considerate and contribute if you’re able to towards groceries, electricity bills, etc., as you don’t want to be a burden to them. You don’t want to be leaching off your parents who have sacrificed so much already!
5. Change your shopping habits by bargain hunting.
As the saying goes, someone’s ‘trash’ is someone else’s treasure. There are a myriad of websites where you can find anything from clothing and handbags to fishing boats at more than half the price of what you’d pay for them brand new – it is the era of secondhand shopping. Try swapping your clothes shopping trip at your local mall for a trip through your local thrift store and, like me, you’ll discover much joy in finding cute handbags/scarves/clothes for the price of toothpaste and in pretty good condition!