Simple tips that can deliver impressive savings

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If you’re a retiree, then finding extra cash can be a real challenge. But the good news is that there are ways you can still save enough to treat yourself every now and then. Here are nine nifty ways to do it.

1. Pay off your credit card sooner rather than later
Paying off your credit card sooner rather than later sounds easy, but in reality, it’s often difficult. Still, it’s worth noting that you’ll save more money over a year than the interest you’ll earn by leaving any spare cash you have in your savings account. Suddenly the idea of reducing your credit card debt sounds all the more attractive, doesn’t it? And once your credit card is back in the black, you’ll be able to put the money you’ve saved into your savings account without the guilt of debt and the cost of interest hanging over your head.

2. Save 10 per cent
If you receive a small (or large) income boost, be it a rise in the Age Pension or a pay rise at your part-time job, then, once you have it, set it aside and pretend it’s not there. If that’s not possible, at least try to set a portion of it aside. You’ll be amazed at how quickly saving 10 per cent of your income adds up over a year.

And even if you only save 10 per cent of whatever you have left over at the end of each week, fortnight or month, it will all add up over the course of the year.

3. Save your tax refund
If you receive a tax refund, try to resist the urge to spend it, unless it’s to reduce your debt. Pop it into a savings account and leave it as an emergency fund, save it for a holiday or try one of Debbie’s smart suggestions.

4. Rent out a room
If you live alone (or even if you don’t) in a house or apartment with a spare room, then why not consider renting it out? A housemate can help share the household costs and can be good company.

If having a permanent housemate doesn’t appeal, you could consider renting out a room on Airbnb for short periods. You can set your minimum requirements for a temporary resident, as well as the maximum amount of time you’ll allow them to stay. Having the odd boarder every now and then could do wonders for your social network, especially if they usually live interstate or overseas and are willing to let you stay at their abode in the future. Then you’ll save money on a holiday!

5. Review your monthly costs
List all your monthly expenses and, starting from the most expensive, look around and see if there are any better offers. There are some great comparison websites that can help you do this. RateCity can help you find better deals on credit cards, personal loans, car loans and bank accounts. Other sites that are great for finding better deals on insurance and other services are, and Check out for information on how to use comparison sites.

6. Dump the pay TV
There’s so much free content available online these days that it almost renders pay TV redundant. YouTube is a great source of free media, where you can watch many old television shows, movies, short films and other videos. And if you find yourself an inexpensive digital set-top box, you can access a variety of free-to-air channels. Pay TV packages can be quite expensive, so you could save a bundle by forgoing it.

7. Be more selective with your vices
No one likes to be told to scale back on the things that make them happy, but one or two fewer coffees each week, or one less counter meal could save you hundreds, possibly thousands, over the course of the year. Smoking and drinking less, looking for specials on food and joining clubs that offer discounted goods and services can also save you a small fortune annually.

8. Use your credit card rewards
Some credit cards offer cash back on purchases and some offer better deals on things such as fuel, accommodation and food. It may also be worth looking into using your credit card to pay for your bills, groceries and everyday purchases, so you can accrue points that you can redeem at a later date. You never know, you may earn enough points for a free trip somewhere or to purchase goods made available through credit-card offers. 

9. Review your transport costs
For many Australians, the cost of running a car is one of their top three biggest monthly expenses. Australians love their cars and spend thousands each year on costs, but why not buck the system, save yourself some dough and catch public transport more often? You can even claim the walking time as exercise, so, in the long run, you might even save on health costs. 

Do you have any other tips for saving money? Why not share them with our members?

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The solution to the retirement poverty trap

It's possible for every Australian to live in retirement with dignity.

Retirees share their journey and ponder what the future holds

We asked for your stories if you were finding life as a retiree challenging.

How to survive retirement on a small income

How to overcome fear of running out of money when you retire.

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca is a voracious reader who loves words. You'll often find him spending time in galleries, writing, designing, painting, drawing, or photographing and documenting street art. He has a publishing and graphic design background and loves movies and music, but then, who doesn’t?



Total Comments: 30
  1. 0

    St. Bankers of The Olde… wow – this is a new spin…. if these beleaguered institutions continue to don Mother Teresa style clothing and hold out the palm leaf of not robbing the poor any more (nor any less) they might earn their way into the Paradise of being tolerated and even accepted by the betrayed public, instead of being hung on the public gibbet of disapproval.

    This is kind of like a death row repentance of all sins….

    • 0

      Where’s Mick to deride all these suggestions as part of the neo fascist Liberal plot to ruin everyone’s lives?/

  2. 0

    Good advice
    Those on the full OAP Should be given lessons on how best to manage their pension
    Perhaps a standard template showing how and where their expenditure should be going and how they should save at least some of their fortnightky oension fir rainy days
    Of course there should be no alcohol smokes and pokie machine expenditure unless they save for it

    • 0

      Of course, Herr Reichsfuhrer – they must be treated as the children they are in reality.

      We shall have the cattle trucks ready for those who dissent… communists the lot of them…

    • 0

      I know many people on the OAP who empty their accounts every pension day so that the Bank and/or the Government can’t take it!

    • 0

      You shouldn’t mock what is good advice for those who haven’t learn to live within their means
      These people need help and restricirng their spending on things like alcohol and tobacco is necessary for their own good – also saves on healthcare costs for the taxpayer

    • 0

      Yes Rosret – many empty their accounts and stash the surplus in fireproof safes at home

    • 0

      Course they do…..

    • 0

      tremor back in his beloved role, however we remember!

    • 0

      When the banks start offering higher interest rates deposits will once again be worthwhile. Although the Government Guarantee exists it is still dodgy leaving money in the bank at 0% interest. There is no point doing that.

  3. 0

    I thought you were about to write an article on how my money in the bank could be worth the investment.
    What this article is really saying – we are going to give you absolutely nothing. In fact we are going to charge you fees for holding your money in an account. However, if you don’t use it then we, the bank, can have your money to finance other peoples’ loans which in turn with make money for us, the bank.

    • 0

      .. and if we collapse thorough our own malfeasance and mismanagement, we’ll take your money to bail our executives out..

    • 0

      Apparently only that in excess of the $250 000 Government Guarantee if you can believe it.

      Superannuation cash accounts are not included as the funds are not Deposit Institutions under the guarantee. SMSF may just be a safer option for fixed term investments if they use a ADI bank to invest instead of a Superannuation Fund platform.

      When it starts getting tricky to get funds out of your saving accounts you have to start wondering about liquidity issues.

  4. 0

    OK sell the car, be isolated at home and be reduced to watching repeats on TV and squabbling partners on reality shows, no more glass of wine with dinner and because you haven’t spent anything you won’t have any credit card rewards anyway.
    It sounds as though the “Ghost of Christmas Past” has come early.
    Don’t forget to sit in the cold and dark, live on baked potatoes and disconnect the NBN.

  5. Profile Photo

    Whenever I get discounts from purchases I save the discount money and put it into a jar.Spend only what you need to spend . Enjoy those coffees with friends and family because you never know when they depart the earth and ourselves. Sell items that you do not really need or want anymore because someone else has to clear up after you ,

    • 0

      Great advice KB
      Many people have lost the art of saving and living within their means

    • 0

      Very smug Raphael. A lot of retiree had parents who grew up in the depression. They already know how to reuse, recycle and make do as well as lots of recipes for cheap meals. These are good tips but when you get really sick, the house needs repairs, the car breaks down, the rent goes up that 10% of nothing you saved goes nowhere!

    • 0

      Agree good advice KB.Sometimes we do over spend & buy things we don’t really need.Also hold onto things from the past.

    • 0

      Yes indeed Raphael and our huge over $3 trillion of debt is proof of it.

      Unfortunately as household incomes come under the stress of rising prices defaults are starting to increase. As an investor that is a bit unnerving.

      If everyone stops spending and starts saving there will be one hell of a recession. If they even stop borrowing to spend the game is over.

      You can only stagnate or collapse wages for so long until the economy comes unstuck. Doing it by immigration increases and pretending the GDP created is real is decidedly dodgy and won’t stand up over time.

      This is a reality the neo-liberals go too far with every time and produce nasty recessions and worse.

      Money needs to flow through the system with a fair share trickling down as well as oozing up. Strangely the trickle down proponents always try to control or prevent the trickling down. Bizarre!!!

  6. 0

    No one has mentioned that some banks allow you use award points to pay off your credit card bill. also Flybuys can be used as cash on your purchases at Coles. May not be much but they are free.

  7. 0

    I thought retirement was when you spent your money not saved it.

    • 0

      Absolutely! 🙂 Even if you don’t want to – you are in fact spending your savings.
      This article is certainly promoting a miserable twilight era.

      They haven’t even begun to be stingy. You can use tea bags twice, wear two pairs of socks when one pair wears thin. Put patches on the arms of jumpers……

      I think the younger generation don’t remember how it was two decades post war.

    • 0

      Only if you have some money OG. And retirement can be a very long time these days. Decades in fact so I certainly don’t plan to stop saving and investing when times suit it. Starting to get a bit tricky though. I’m out of the ASX as it looks like the great big revision might have begun.

      Investing in markets while interest rates fall is easy. Now they are on the rise we are back to the tricky bit.

      Hope you’re having fun. I’m not a day trader so my moves now are all protective of capital.

      Try telling the kids to do some of these things and save deposits and you get slammed as indulging in generational warfare.

  8. Profile Photo

    Hang on, hold up, whoa ! – previously, haven’t we been given to understand that most the hard done by, short changed, penniless pensioner regular commentators to this site do not have any surplus whatsoever to show from their meagre, miserable govt sanctioned allowance?
    Hasn’t it been the case of; “inadequate, never enough, stinting, mean (and downright) penny pinching” – by the Dept Human Resources, via C’link – courtesy the Gubbermint.

    Whilst I would admire and encourage comment that may, to some small degree ease the burden of making ends meet I seriously doubt the likelihood of the aforementioned ever turning such suggestions to their advantage. Those folk that having attained the pensionable ‘age of entitlement’ and totally reliant on govt handouts are either victims of circumstance (sometimes a result of their own making) or hopeless money managers.
    Dare I suggest, genuine cases aside, that it’s far simpler – and thereby the easier way out – to just continue with a lifelong habit of frittering money away whilst ever increasing the vocal and vociferous lament about the uncaring, heartless, out of touch authorities.

    Or have I got it wrong when interpreting most comment – maybe they just cry ‘wolf’ for the same reason when one sheep bleats, most the others follow suit – baaahhhh!

    • 0

      Ummm – yes…..

    • 0

      Absolutely – spend it all. Keep putting ones hand out and lean on everyone around you when the money tree is bare.
      It works for the lifetime spenders and they have so much more fun.

      However, seriously, some people do rely on the pension and are doing it really tough, MD. I am glad we live in a country with a social conscience and we care about everyone.

    • Profile Photo

      Indeed Rosret, Ummm – yes…..

  9. 0

    We live on oap. Lucky to own our house and no mortgage. We save $400 per fortnight on oap. How you ask, $300 on food and put away $300 for bills. We have a solar system so bills for electricity are small. The remainder is spent on clothing, grandkids birthday (limited to $50 each) and other incidental expenses like medicines etc. We have our mobiles at around $300 per year which includes data of 3 gb and free calls and text. Don’t know how people can’t manage on oap although I think there needs to be an increase for those who rent.

    • Profile Photo

      I’d like to nominate you for an OA, HAPPY LOS (Order of Australia).
      I both admire and thankyou for your candour. A breathe of fresh air no less, to counter the otherwise incessant whingers. I wish you well.



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