You’ve decided you want to buy your first house. Take a three-month sabbatical to Sri Lanka. Adopt a fur baby. Zoom around in a new car. Replace your washing machine with one that doesn’t rip tiny holes in your clothes. Whatever’s sitting up top of your ‘want’ list right now, you’ve put it there for a reason – and now you need a plan to reach it. So what does ‘getting on top of my money’ look like in practice? We spoke to four people who’ve changed their money habits to save for something they want. They share their stories below so you can read (and/or steal) their tips for yourself.
Jessica, 36, Melbourne
I’m currently saving for a five-week holiday to the US and Mexico with my boyfriend in September. I’d love to stop spending so much money on food, but I really love eating and I get tempted too easily. I bought my apartment five years ago now, so my other goal is to pay off that mortgage. I buy a lottery ticket about once a month, too. The most I’ve won is $24.
To save for the trip, my boyfriend puts his share of rent into a high-interest savings account, instead of paying it to me. This forces me to save and put money away – out of sight, out of mind. Another way we’re saving is having a bottle of wine at home instead of going out. Plus, I’m walking home from work – public transport is expensive, when you add it all up, and because I freelance, I just top up my public transport card when I need to.
We’ve saved about $3,000 so far – not bad for three months. Our aim is to have $10K in the account before we jet off.
Chris, 30, Sydney
Last year, my partner and I were preparing for our wedding. With only one of us working full-time, we needed to make some sacrifices for the good of our savings account. We started by tracking our spending for the first quarter – categorising our expenses between groceries, rent, bills and entertainment. I learnt a lot more about Excel spreadsheets, that’s for sure.
It turned out we were spending a lot more than we realised on food and alcohol, so we decided to stop buying beer and wine out at pubs or restaurants. We didn’t go completely dry – we allowed ourselves to still visit the bottleshop and drink at home, which doubled as an incentive to entertain more guests with dinner parties at home. Paired with preparing all our work lunches in advance, we saved thousands and paid off the wedding with room to spare. And it helped us fit in the wedding suit and dress, which was a bonus.
Ellie, 27, Sydney
In the last week, I’ve started to put a plan in place for getting on top of my money – and maybe saying it out loud will hold me to it. I’m a Brit who has found herself in the process of setting up a life here in Sydney, having left home over two years ago to travel ‘for a few months’. Oops. I recently started a new job and have gone from a couple of years of freelancing between stints of travel to a permanent role – which, to be blunt, has involved a fairly substantial pay cut. The amount my income has reduced was the chunk I used to save, so I need to change my habits to allow me to keep saving. It’s about time I thought about long-term investments (straighter teeth have been on the list for a while) and what I might want in a few years (a puppy, a beachside apartment – a girl can dream). And I want to have a comfortable emergency fund for any urgent trips back to London. This happened in October and was a bit of a reality check.
I don’t often buy ‘stuff’, but I have three weaknesses: festivals, flights and food. My boyfriend recently asked if a) I’m on commission for Ticketmaster, and b) if I have a Skyscanner loyalty card. I wish, but the man has a point. Annual leave restrictions will help squash the compulsive flight purchases, but aside from that, I’m putting myself on a ticket-purchasing embargo while my current stockpile dwindles – and after that, I’m allowing myself only one event every three months. I’ll also be going out for dinner only when there’s a special offer on, prepping lunch, and cooking with either my boyfriend or my housemates for efficiency.
My direct savings so far are only the result of resisting the urge to buy a couple of festival tickets to the value of around $400, and grocery efficiencies that have saved me around $75. Not much, but not too bad for one week – so may it continue!
Georgia, 33, Melbourne
My husband and I sat down last year and decided to get on top of our money in 2019 and 2020. We’ve got two goals: to buy a bigger house for our family, and to buy a new car.
One of the first things we did was move our money across to ING (because of some fee benefits and Everyday Round Up), which has made a difference to our savings balance and has helped us pay off our credit card debt. I’m using Everyday Round Up on my ING account and spending in line with our budget spreadsheet. And I’ve stopped myself over-spending on unnecessary things, like treats at the servo checkout.
In 2020, we’ve already saved $400 between the two of us, and we’re aiming to keep saving roughly $400 a month or more in 2020 so we can keep our house and car goals on track.
Want to start getting on top of your money? Here are our tips
- Think about everything you spend money on and what you want to save for. Then make a budget.
- Review your recurring expenses and look for areas where you can get a better deal and save.
- If you’ve got debt, roll it into one lower cost loan.
ING is not affiliated with the individuals and organisations mentioned above and does not endorse their product or service, nor accept any liability in relation to the statements made by them in this article.
Everyday Round Up
Everyday Round Up applies to card purchases using your Orange Everyday bank account. You must opt in to Everyday Round Up and select the round up amount (nearest $1 or $5). When you spend with your Orange Everyday card, we’ll transfer the extra amount from your Orange Everyday to your Savings Maximiser or eligible home loan (eg. Mortgage Simplifier or Orange Advantage). A round up will not be debited if doing so would reduce your Orange Everyday balance below $20. Full details at ing.com.au
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