Simple tips for big savings

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 www.choice.com.au, www.comparethemarket.com.au and www.finder.com.au. Check out www.moneysmart.gov.au 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?

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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