What if we said, that in a months time, you could have an extra $1,000 in your bank account? And that it’s all money that you otherwise would have flitted away in transactions you can’t quite remember? You’d say what the rest of our team said, “Yes please! Tell me how!” Before we start, note that this saving schedule does not require you to pick up extra work, sell your possessions or stop buying coffee — don’t you hate being told to stop buying coffee?!
So here we go, 12 steps to ending the month with (at least) an extra grand in your bank account.
1. Don’t Buy a New Dress
Weddings, graduations, birthday dinners . . . upcoming occasions can really give you the buying itch. One of the biggest ways to save extra cash this month is to give yourself a shopping ban. If you have an occasion and your dead-set against wearing something you already have, rather than forking out $600 on a new Camilla and Marc dress, or Alice McCall playsuit, rent one instead for a sixth of the price. Your Closet, Dressedup and Rent the Runway are full of new, gorgeous dresses that can be yours for the night.
Potential saving: $500
2. Clean up Your Subscriptions
If binge watching every new series is your guilty pleasure, you probably don’t just have Netflix and Stan but also Presto, Foxtel and HayU. Is that really necessary? Game of Thrones season six is over, so you’re using Foxtel for what exactly? Cull, cull, cull! And if you don’t want to miss anything, plan on rotating through them in the coming months. Don’t forget to check out the freeview streaming services like SBS On Demand and ABC iview.
Potential saving: $51.98
3. Cut the Dormant Gym Membership
If you’re not breaking a sweat in the gym, chances are that membership is making your wallet perspire. Research from ING Direct found that the average gym membership costs $57.40 a month (almost $700 a year). Rather than immediately breaking up with your gym, put your membership on hold for three weeks (which is usually the longest you can hold it for), and test working out on your own instead. POPSUGAR Australia Fitness is full of workouts you can do at home — maybe it’s time to try the Fitness Marshall videos? Who knows, you might like it better, it’s definitely a lot more convenient!
Potential saving: $43.05
4. Stop Wasting Money at the ATM
On average we waste $50 annually on ATM fees — it really is a waste. Either stick to your own bank’s ATMs, or if you’re forever finding yourself paying the $2 fee, switch to a bank that doesn’t charge ATM fees, like ING Direct.
Potential saving: $6
5. Cash in on Your Coffee Habit
Rather than going cold turkey on your takeaway coffee habit, start going to a cafe with a loyalty program. Getting one in 10 brews free of charge can save you $120 a year — more if you’re a two-coffees-a-day kinda gal. Plus, it’s nice to be rewarded for your loyalty.
Potential saving: $10
6. Hit Up Happy Hour
Apps like The Happiest Hour tell you when and where the best happy hours are happening near you. $10 cocktails, $5 beers and cheap eats are just a tap away. The other great thing about hunting down happy hours is you might stumble across your new favourite bar, which is never a bad thing.
Potential saving: $60
7. Play Designated Driver
Are Saturday nights out doing the most damage to your bank balance? You don’t have to cancel your social life, but rather than going out for a “big one” offer to be their designated driver. Not only will this mean you’ll pass on the fancy (read: expensive) cocktails, but you’ll also save on taxi or Uber fares — hell, your mates might even throw some petrol money your way!
Potential saving: $100
8. Do Coffee, Not Brunch
Going out for brunch might be part of your weekend ritual, but that’s $30 a week that your bank account could really use. Don’t cancel meeting your friends, but instead of spending up on food you could have made at home (come on, you can make your own avo toast), eat beforehand and meet your pals for a coffee instead.
Potential saving: $105
9. Do Cheap Movie Night
We’re not going to say you need to miss out on Ghostbusters, but book to see it on Cheap Tuesday when the tickets are $13, rather than $21 at Events Cinemas. For extra savings, bring your own supermarket snacks rather than paying triple at the candy bar.
Potential saving: $25
10. Consolidate Your Debt
If you have debt in more than one place, it’s time to put it in one (preferably interest free) account. Look for a bank that will give you a balance transfer for all your credit card debts into one interest free card, then commit to making larger repayments. “Pay down that one card regularly,” advises Victor Sun from Fox Symes and Associates, “but not just the minimum balance or you’ll never get anywhere.”
Potential saving: $80
11. Do Your Grocery Shopping Online
The five jars of paprika on your spice rack is testament to why you should be ordering your groceries from home. Doing your weekly shop from your own kitchen (where you can check what you do and don’t have) can save you a lot, especially because you won’t get distracted and pick up extra snacks that neither your wallet or waist need.
Potential saving: $50
12. Get Crafty on Birthday Gifts
Rather than throwing $50 into your friend’s birthday fund, put in a little time and get crafty on a present. Replant one of your succulent pups, make a memory book or bake her a cake — DIY gifts make for much more personal presents that your friend will really appreciate.
Potential saving: $45
Total Potential Saving in a Month = $1,076.03