Whether you work full time, are a stay at home parent or something in-between, making a household budget work is a huge task. If saving for special occasions like holidays seems like a distant dream for you, read below for a few areas to target in order to squeeze a little more into your bank balance.
These days most banks will offer fee free accounts which is great for the savvy saver as having all your money in one pot (account) is the least effective way to build up savings. Instead, open several accounts each for a separate purpose. If they are for savings purposes in particular, you shouldn’t even have a card to access them, removing the temptation to dip into them for what seems like a vital purchase at the time. If you really need to, you’ll have the capability to transfer funds between accounts online. Today’s low interest rates mean term deposits are often not the best option, but do periodically check around financial institutions in case an enticing rate crops up. Otherwise, consider online savings accounts that offer bonus interest for regular deposits. You will need to be vigilant on transferring regularly though to make the most of these.
Have a look at your house hold expenses and be prepared to make cuts. For example, unless you have purchased a service station that happened to be for sale, you will also incur expenses to run your car. So if you live in an area well serviced by transport, try it out to see if you can reduce your car usage. Over time if this is manageable you may become a one car household instead of two, or even none! The savings on rego, repairs and actual car purchase price can easily be put to other uses.
Other areas of household spending could include utilities. It’s a worthwhile, if not time consuming exercise to compare across a variety of companies to see if you can get a better deal, this is not the time for brand loyalty. Comparison websites can be somewhat useful, but they won’t compare the entire market and the have their own personal incentives to recommend certain products, so be wary. When looking at electricity for example, it can be useful to determine and compare peak and off peak pricing. If you find a particularly good off-peak rate for example you can take advantage of it by setting appliances (like dishwashers and washing machines) to turn on during these times. The key to this is to compare this with your lifestyle. If you work from home, you’ll use more during the day so a lower rate during this time is more important to you than if you worked in an office full time.
Cooking your meals ahead of time will save lots of cash, especially if you can pack them ahead for outings. Shop at markets or lower cost supermarkets, and find a co-op near you. Buying in bulk and freezing is highly recommended!