Here Are A Bunch Of Ways To Save When Times Are Tough

2020 has been a big lesson in how quickly your financial situation can change.

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Oh, 2020. Covid has been a big lesson in how quickly your financial situation can change, and just how vital having a rainy day fund really is. If you’re like me, the pandemic and all its swirling uncertainty has made you want to save harder than ever before… Although unfortunately, it’s also meant that many of us are dealing with a loss of income.

So how do you manage to put money aside when times are tough? Saving when you’re dealing with a reduced wage during a recession can be challenging, but it can still be done. Here are a few pointers to help you on your way.

Figure Out What Can Go

When you’re already working from a tight budget, it can feel hard to find more corners to cut. You’re probably not ordering limited edition sneakers or boxes of caviar right now, but do you have a 12-step skincare routine that you could reduce to maybe three? Subscriptions you could cancel? Takeaway habits you can curb? Could you do a sober streak so you’re not spending money on wine?

You don’t have to sacrifice everything that makes life enjoyable, but identifying one or two things you’re willing to live without for a while can make a difference to your bottom line.

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Channel Your Inner Masterchef

Research has revealed that Aussies discard up to 20% of the food they purchase, with those between 18 and 24 being the biggest culprits. While you still need to put food in your body three times a day, it may be worth thinking about how you can cut back your spending on groceries and waste less!

The internet is full of eating-on-the-cheap recipe ideas – dig through them, make a meal plan, do one shop weekly and don’t let yourself go back for “snacks” or “just a few extra things” two days later. Also be creative and find ways to make your leftovers work harder like freezing your soups (which can last you weeks) or adding any leftover veggies into a frittata.

With some savvy planning and creativity, you can make yourself a week of delicious and nutritious meals while also limiting your trips to the shop.

Sell Yo Stuff

Real talk: if your income has been reduced, finding a way to make a few extra dollars through a side hustle could help bridge the gap – a few hours of dog walking, Uber-driving or tutoring every week could add a bit of breathing room to your budget.

Or if all else fails, take Marie Kondo’s advice and start de-cluttering: sell a few things that no longer “spark joy” and pocket the cash. Facebook Marketplace, eBay and Depop are waiting.

Image: Will Malott / Unsplash

Budget, Budget, Budget

It’s a classic (and very unsexy) piece of savings advice, but it works. Create a spreadsheet, bust out the calculator and add up all your outgoing expenses. Work out how much is left and then set up automatic transfers so that the money will go straight to your savings account as soon as you get paid.

Making a budget means you can also set yourself a savings goal for the rest of the year. Keeping your eyes on that prize – whether it’s a new outfit, a post-COVID trip, or even a future apartment or house – is a really good way to stay motivated.

There are also some really useful tools around to help you. A Westpac Life savings account allows you to set up multiple savings goals within the one account and you can track your progress from your phone. It’s an easy way to manage your money and you’ll earn interest on every dollar saved. On that note…

Get A High-Interest Savings Account

Hello, would you like to earn money on your money? Allow me to explain.

A high-interest savings account can help your savings go further: if you put money in, the bank sprinkles a little extra on top. Right now, interest rates on many savings accounts are generally quite low – but fortunately, Westpac has launched an awesome new savings rate for young Aussies which is currently the highest in the country.

If you’re aged between 18-29, you could be eligible for up to 3% p.a. variable interest rate if you have both a Westpac Life and Choice account.

To qualify for up to 3%, you just have to grow your savings balance in your Westpac Life account and make five transactions on a debit card linked to your Westpac Choice account every month. You can read more about how it works and if you’re eligible here.

Image: Bich Tran / Pexels

Remember That Small Amounts Add Up

Ditch the ‘all or nothing’ mentality. You’re not a failure if you don’t have hundreds to put away each month, and you don’t have to deposit huge lump sums all the time. Consistently putting away smaller amounts helps build good habits and it still grows your savings. For example, setting aside just $20 a week will give you $1000 over a year – and that’s not counting any interest!

And even if you don’t manage to grow your savings in your Westpac Life account, you can still earn up to 2.40% p.a. in interest, as long as you still make five payments each month using your linked debit card. Can’t lose.

Lead image: Joslyn Pickens / Pexels

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