Fashion and beauty might be among the top spends for women, but if you’re wanting to save a bit of coin before Christmas gets here, then we’ve got ten tips for you that don’t involve giving up on those feel-good purchases.
David Rankin founder of personal budgeting service sortmymoney.com.au says saving money is as much about shrewd spending as it is about careful cutting.
1. Discount supermarkets
The ‘Aldi effect’ is rapidly becoming a recognised way of dramatically reducing your food bill. Spend up big at your local discounter, top up at a full-price outlet and don’t set foot in a supermarket for another seven days.
2. A 0% balance transfer credit card
“Banks are falling over themselves to create an interest-free environment to help you to repay your debt. Is this too good to be true? It doesn’t have to be. What the banks actually want is for you to bring your credit card balance along with your bad habits over to them, so they can clean up on late repayment fees and the like. By hiding your new card away in a shoe box and maxing those zero per cent repayments, though, you too can be laughing all the way to the bank!”
3. A car loan for a car – not a personal loan
“If you’re buying a car, don’t finance the purchase with a 15 per cent personal loan, if you can pay a fraction of the interest with a car loan instead. Overall, you might even be better off buying a somewhat newer vehicle in order to meet the car loan criteria, rather than paying a sky-high unsecured personal loan interest rate for an older car.”
4. A competitive home loan
Bells, whistles and specials are all well and good, but they can distract us from the main game, which is an ongoing low home loan interest rate. If you’re paying $400 a year for a loan package fee, make sure you factor it in when comparing your current loan with a bank that doesn’t charge fees.”
5. A coffee machine and great quality coffee
Between $50 and $250 will get you a decent coffee machine these days, and $15 will buy you a kilo of premium Italian coffee. If you already have a daily habit, this could be the best investment you ever made. Wake up and smell the coffee . . . day after day.”
6. The right mobile phone data plan
“A tight mobile phone data plan often turns out to be a false economy. With the wrong data plan, you’ll be paying extra on a regular basis, in order to finance a monthly data blow-out. In our mobile-streaming reality, a generous data plan can turn out to be a wise investment.”
7. A film streaming subscription
“Entertainment streaming services have only been available in Australia since last year, but they are already proving to be a game changer – not least for household budgets. Since then, competition among providers has only intensified, and the consumer has never had it so good. This low-cost investment will help you to slash your discretionary outgoings while still keeping you entertained.”
8. LED lighting
“By now, you have probably ‘switched’ from traditional bulbs to energy-saving globes. If so, it’s worth knowing that halogen can use significantly more electricity than an LED globe or downlight to produce the equivalent amount of light – potentially translating into hundreds of dollars of unnecessary costs in the course of a year. Time to finish the job properly!”
9. A platinum credit card
“If platinum credit cards sound expensive and superfluous, think again . . . especially if you are planning to travel overseas. With annual fees of under $100 (for a ‘vanilla’ card, without rewards points) and free overseas travel cover underwritten by reputable insurers, why would you leave Australia without one?”
“Okay, so you can’t really classify a complimentary app as an investment, but it can save you serious money, hence its inclusion in this list. Why buy eBooks or audiobooks ever again, when – if BorrowBox is available through your local library – you can access its collection for free. At anytime from anywhere. What’s not to love about a free app!”