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From Little Things Big Things Grow

As the song says “from little things big things grow”. I kinda already knew it and I teach it in my classes every week, especially in relation to saving. However, it hit home last week when we rocked into the bank with this inconspicuous bucket of small change. Granted, it was heavy.  All silver, 20c, 10c and 5c only.  All the good coins had been spent a long, long time ago.

How much is this bucket of coins worth?

How much is this bucket of coins worth?

It doesn’t look like much does it?  How much do you think it was worth? On the way to the bank the hubster and I speculated about how much we thought it was worth. We both concluded that it would only probably add up to $20 or so. In our view $35 was the absolute max.  I was so confident in my prediction that I stupidly said to Miss Money that she could have the money to spend on school supplies as she embarks on her first year of primary school in a couple of days.

Into the coin machine they go......

Into the coin machine they go……

How wrong we all were!! As we poured the money into the counting machine it became abundantly clear that we were way off. In fact the 20c pieces in the green bag on their own were worth $40!!!!! We quickly passed $60, then $80, then the grand total……….

The grand total

The grand total!!!! $133.30!!!

Yep, you read it correctly, $133.30!!!!!!!!!! Insane!!!!! Who knew that a pile of small coins could be worth that much!!! Of course I had to do a mummy dodgy on the promise of school supplies and gave her $26 instead…… she was so excited by the process she didn’t even notice!!! Whew!!! So when saving seems too hard, why not start with those 5c and 10c pieces – they really add up!!!

Do you save small change? Have you ever been surprised by how much it turned out to be?

If you liked this post you might also like,

10 Easy Ways To Save Money

How To Pay Off your Mortgage Faster

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How To Create a Budget

30/01/2016 8 comments
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Unusual Ways To Save Money

As most of you know I have a part time job teaching social workers about money so they can then help their clients.  It is a fantastic job for someone like me who loves talking and writing about money!  I love teaching the course because every time without fail I learn something new from my class that I can then think about using in my life or share with you all.  What I find fascinating about personal finance is that there is not a ‘one size fits all’ answer or only one way to achieve a goal, there are different ways that suit different people.  Believe it or not some of the most diverse answers come when we talk about different ways to save money….. so here are some of the most unusual ones I have heard lately.

  1. Cold Hard!
    Yep – you read it correctly when I asked one of my classes the other day how they saved money one lady piped up and said “I have cold hard!”…. “er pardon” was my reply.  I certainly hadn’t heard that one before and my mind boggled as to what that could be!  As she went on to explain that she saves her money as soon as she gets paid putting a set amount of cash in a plastic zip lock bag and putting it in her freezer!!!!  Between the meat and the peas apparently!!!!  She also went on to explain that putting the money into her freezer means that she won’t touch it, whereas if it is in a bank account she will.  She has used this strategy to save for a solar hot water system and is currently saving for a cruise!!!  Obviously this one is not great if you get robbed and the robbers are hungry!!!  But still, I was impressed with her ingenuity!
  2. Coke bottle anyone?
    Apparently an empty 600ml bottle of Coke can hold close to $800 worth of coins, according to one guy from my class.  It is often touted on the internet to be $1,000 but my participants claim that is not true and it is more like $800 (what?! something on the internet that is not true!!!).  Being a closet Coke drinker I am keen to give this one a go myself.  I think it is a great way to save for Christmas!!!
  3. Don’t claim the tax free threshold
    When you get a job, you fill in a form which asks whether you want to claim the tax free threshold.  Australian residents for tax purposes are entitled to an $18,200 tax free threshold  If you select ‘no’ on the ATO form and don’t claim the tax free threshold, you are taxed on that first $18,200. It means you are paying tax on a sum of money, at your regular tax rate, even though you don’t need to.  As a result you will overpay tax and get a tax refund at the end of the financial year.
  4. Over-pay your rent
    This is another popular one especially to pay for Christmas.  Often paying more on your rent means you can have a month off at the end of the year to pay for Christmas.

Saving is a really individual thing, but when you get something that works for you – stick with it.

What is your unusual saving tip?

If you liked this post you might also like:

Home & Contents Insurance: How Do You Know If You Have Enough?

Should I Fix My Mortgage Rate?

How To Use An Offset Account To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

How To Make Your Savings Work Harder

 

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

24/07/2015 5 comments
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I really enjoy blogging.  Not only does it give me the ability to interact and share my knowledge with my incredible readers (yes, you!!), it also at times throws up at times some pretty amazing opportunities. A couple of weeks ago one of these astounding opportunities hit my email inbox. It was an email from Holly Wainwright Editor of Mamamia!!! Yes the Mamamia, Australia’s premier website for women!!! Holly said that she had read my blog and was wondering if I would be interested in joining her and Andrew Daddo discuss pocket money on Mamamia’s popular parenting podcast “This Glorious Mess”.

“YES!!!” was my swift response!! Let’s face it, no one wants to reject the opportunity to be in the same room as a Daddo!!! 🙂  So before I knew it I found myself in a recording studio chatting pocket money with Holly and Andrew!!! It was an amazing experience.  I was super nervous and it was waaaaaayyyyyyyyy out of my comfort zone but Holly and Andrew made it heaps of fun!

So without further ado here is episode 6 of the pod cast of “This Glorious Mess” with Holly Wainwright, Andrew Daddo and myself talking pocket money!!! (I am in the middle after their chat about Mothers day 🙂

Click here to hear me on “This Glorious Mess” talking pocket money.

Oh and the pic above is the obligatory selfie of the three of us in the studio!

Have a great day!

 

Shelley

If you liked this you might also like:

Simple Savings Ideas That Absolutely Everyone Can Use

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You Are A Parent

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

10/05/2015 6 comments
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Interest rate cut

So this week the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA) cut interest rates by 25 basis points to new all time lows of 2.00%. Wooohooooo!!!! This is great news for those of us with mortgages. Provided the banks pass on the full cut, it is expected that the 25bp cut would save around $45 per month on a home loan of $300,000. So the big question is what should you do with the extra cash that you will have post the cut?

  1. Spend it
    This is one option and it is certainly what the Reserve Bank (RBA) would like us all to do. The whole reason the RBA are cutting rates to put more money in our pockets so we will spend it. This helps the economy as roughly 70% of the economy is consumption – you and me spending. The more we spend (up to a certain point) the better the economy goes.
  2. Pay off other debts
    If you have other debts that have high interest rates like credit cards or personal loans then it pays to get rid of these debts as fast as you can. Putting the extra money you gain from the interest rate cut onto your credit card could save you 20% or more (depending on your interest rate) on each $1 of debt paid off, a great return!
  3. Keep your mortgage repayments the same and pay off your mortgage faster
    The benefit of doing this is that not only do you pay off your mortgage faster but when interest rates eventually rise you will be protected as you are already paying off a higher rate anyway. In order for this strategy to work you need to be already managing ok with your mortgage repayment at the higher previous level.
  4. Put the extra into your emergency fund
    An emergency fund helps to deal with any bumps in the road that life might bring like losing your job or unexpected expenses. You should aim to have at least six months of expenses saved. Adding to your emergency fund always helps to build that buffer for when the unexpected occurs.
  5. Consider putting extra money into your superannuation
    Lot’s of factors are important when deciding whether add money to your superannuation. Make sure you get some good financial advice, specific to your circumstances.

So of all the options outlined above Mr Money and I have decided to keep our mortgage repayments the same and reduce our mortgage even faster. Actually, we have decided to do this for this cut and the previous one. I guesstimate (using a mortgage calculator ) that just by keeping our repayments the same amount as prior to the last two cuts we cut around 2 years and 11 months off our mortgage and save us around $20,000 in interest over the life of the loan if interest rates stay at this level. Whoooppppeee!!!

What have you decided to do with your mortgage rate cut?

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How to Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Should I Fix My Mortgage?

How Much Your Credit Card Debt Is Really Costing You

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

If you would like to read more from me don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:



Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

05/05/2015 5 comments
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Living On One Income

We have spent big chunks of the last four years since our daughter was born living on one income.  Some of it was voluntarily, like the twelve months maternity leave I took after she was born.  Some of it was involuntary, like the two redundancies that followed soon after that: one for me, then once I got a part time job; one for my hubby!  Go figure!  I joke that we are not meant to have two incomes in our household, or so it seems!  Living on one income can be tough.  Really hard given the cost of living in Australia is so high and the cost of housing, well don’t get me started on that one.  However, living on one income can be done, and here are some tips to help you through.

Check out what Centrelink benefits you qualify for

Going from two incomes to one income, could mean that you might qualify for more assistance from the government than you could access previously. When my husband was made redundant and with me only working three days a week, we all of a sudden qualified for the Family Tax benefit A & B and the Childcare benefit (the means tested one).  Check out the Centrelink payment finder here, which will give you some guidance as to what centrelink payments you might qualify for.  Getting these extra payments have definitely helped.

Create a budget

If you haven’t done one, click here and see how to. Making one income stretch further is a lot easier if you use a budget.  Some people see a budget as something terrible, akin to a diet.  I prefer to think of it as a spending plan, making sure each dollar goes to our highest priorities and makes sure we get the best value for every dollar we spend.  I use the awesome free budget planner from the MoneySmart website.  Click here to check it out.

Check your spending leaks

Checking your spending leaks can also help you identify places where you can easily save money. All you have to do is to think of two things that you spend money on regularly, be it daily, weekly or monthly.  It could be a daily takeaway coffee, or weekly takeaway or monthly magazine subscriptions.  Next add up how much one of these things cost you over a month, then a year.  Now, think about how you could do that spending differently – be it bringing your lunch to work or cutting down from a large coffee to a smaller one, or buying from a cheaper supplier.  Remember, doing things differently does not have to mean that you cut things out entirely, unless you are highly motivated to do so!!  🙂 See how much this new way of doing things would cost you over a month and then a year.  Now, all you have to do is look at the difference between the two figures, how much it cost you per year using your old way versus the cost of the new way.  This is how much you could save by changing your spending behavior.  In my case I calculated I could save $2,184 simply by bringing my lunch to work and making my own hot chocolate in the office.  A huge figure, especially given I only work 3 days per week!

Meal Plan

Before the hubster was made redundant I used to meal plan for the week. So sit down usually on a Saturday and figure out everything we needed for a week of meals, create a list and purchase it all on the Sunday.  It was fab because I knew what we were having on each day and already had the ingredients ready to roll.  It prevented any random trips to the shops where I might bring home a few extras, shall we say.  At the moment our system is a bit out of whack.  My hubby does the meal plans for the 3 days I am at work (I don’t want to get in the way of him making dinner :-)) and I do the rest.  It still works fine and overall substantially cuts our food bill by at a guess at least 20%.

Compare, compare, compare….

On all your major expenses do a ring around or use online comparison sites to make sure you are getting the best deal. From your insurance to your telephone bill and everything in between make sure that you have got the best service to meet the needs of your family at the best available price.  I try to do the ring around once a year on all my services to make sure I am getting the best deal, and it can really make a big difference to your budget.  For example, by changing electricity provider I have saved $400 off my winter electricity bill, absolutely worth the two hours of leg-work it took for me to figure it all out.

Living on one income is difficult but it is achievable.  I hope my tips will make it easier for you and your family.

What are your tips for living on a single income?

If you liked this post you might also like

How I saved On My Electricity Bill

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

Is Costco Membership Worth It

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice. Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances

 

 

23/04/2015 15 comments
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Save holiday USA

You might have been wondering why things have been a little quiet on the Money Mummy post front over the last few weeks.  Well, the Money Mummy clan have been having a holiday in United States of America!!!  We spent most of our time in California including a trip to Disneyland which we all LOVED, but also popped over to New York and Washington to check them out and experience what it is like to be a tourist in minus 12 degrees!!!!! Yes we were there for New York’s coldest day in 50 years and it was FREEZING!!!  Mind you, our daughter loved the snow!  I have to hand it to the Americans you think that you know them because we see their TV, movies and their news but it is a far more diverse and interesting country than I gave them credit for and we had an absolutely fantastic time there.

-12 degrees!!!  Do I look cold to you?

-12 degrees!!! Do I look cold to you?

 

So if you are thinking of heading over to the US here are some of the ways we made our trip happen without breaking the bank (too much) 🙂 .

  1. Go in winter

    Winter?  What winter?  We spent most of our time in California where we discovered their reputation for amazing weather was well deserved.  Most days were around 23-25 degrees and we didn’t have any rain at all.  Ok, granted that California currently has a drought which is not great, but it did mean that weather wise we had an amazing trip.  Also the best part about travelling in winter was the lack of queues when you go to the attractions.  We spent four days in Disneyland and the most amount of time we spent in a queue was to meet Elsa and Anna from Frozen and even then it was only a 45 minute wait!!!  For most of the rides we either walked straight on or waited for a maximum of 10 minutes!!  It was fantastic.

    Little Miss Money meets the 'real' Elsa and Anna

    Little Miss Money meets the ‘real’ Elsa and Anna

  2. Use a travel agent

    We used a travel agent for a decent chunk of our travel.  He saved us a fair bit of money by convincing us to stay in a couple of hotels that we would have never picked ourselves and an airline we generally wouldn’t fly.  We stayed at the Hyatt Orange County when visiting Disneyland which got us a two bedroom suite for approximately $200 per night (my sister was staying with us) as opposed to $350 per night per room for the cheapest Disney hotel.  He also got us a great deal on “Bertha” our rent a car which I could never have got on my own.

    'Bertha' and the family at one of our many unusual road side stops

    ‘Bertha’ and the family at one of our many unusual road side stops

  3. Don’t use a travel agent

    Ok so I just contradicted myself but for some of the things we found it was far cheaper to book them ourselves.  The agent wanted to charge us $130 Australian dollars for a car to take us from the airport to our hotel.  We decided to catch a cab ourselves and it cost us about $60 Australian dollars.  We also used trip advisor to find some offbeat hotels which had kitchen facilities which saved us the cost of quite a few burger meal deals :-).

  4. Don’t be afraid to stay at cheaper hotels

    We found the standard of hotels to be pretty good in the US and there was a lot of choice.  In Las Vegas we stayed at the Excalibur which looks like a castle for $65 Australian dollars per night.  If you are looking for luxury this certainly wasn’t  it  but it was a nice enough place to sleep and my daughter loved it!!!  Given Las Vegas is not the most kid friendly destination, though it was better than we thought, certainly Excalibur was probably one of the most kid friendly hotels there.

    Life in a castle in Las Vegas!

    Life in a castle in Las Vegas!

  5. Hire a car and drive

    “What!!!  Don’t they drive on the other side of the road????”  I hear you say.  Yes it is a little scary to start off but driving around the US is awesome.  You get to see and do things that you would never get to otherwise.  The roads are amazingly well made compared to ours and we found the drivers pretty polite, contrary to what you might think 🙂 .  We picked up “Bertha” our hire car from San Diego and took her all the way around to San Francisco over 14 days.  She cost around $45 per day and we ended up taking her something like 3,200kms.  Petrol is cheap in the US as well.  We think we paid around $2.50 per gallon generally speaking so that is about $0.80 cents per litre in Australian dollars!!!!!  Mind you we brought our GPS from Australia and downloaded US maps so that was a big stress reliever in terms of getting us from A to B!!!!  It turned out to be a lot cheaper than flying for the three of us and it meant we got to see a lot more of the “real” America.

  6. Stay out of the Disney Stores with your 4 year old….

    Oh I had an epic fail here, mind you all the merchandise is substantially cheaper than in Australia, even accounting for the falling Australian Dollar while we were there 🙂

    Warning: Disney stores are BAD for the budget!!

    Warning: Disney stores are BAD for the budget!!

If you are thinking about going to the US I would highly recommend it.  We are going to be saving hard for the next few years to try and go again.  Next time we might try Disney World in Florida!  It is always good to have a goal!!  Now back to the real world!!!

Have you been to the US?  What did you think?

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

5 Financial Tips You Need To Know Now You Are A Parent

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

29/03/2015 10 comments
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How to save

Our first post for 2015 is from the lovely Larissa from Hey Little Spender. Today she is sharing with us how she saved $93 per month in 15 minutes! Take it away Larissa!!

I know I should love this stuff, being a savings blogger and all that, but I’ve been procrastinating big-time on sorting out my two home loans.

They are the biggest investments I’ve ever made, and I worked and saved bloody hard to buy them.

However, strangely enough, finding a better deal on those loans doesn’t grab me the same way as, say, finding cheap movie tickets or saving money on holding a dinner party!!

What am I paying this much for?!

I know the rates are way too high at the moment, after coming off the end of a special rate which finished some time back. However beyond paying a quick visit to a mortgage broker, I’ve done nothing to fix the situation.

It’s all a little confusing – mostly because I am thinking about selling one of the places early next year and buying a new one closer to the city. And I didn’t know whether I could do anything to reduce the rates in the meantime while I went through the whole selling process, which is likely to take a while.

Plus I’ve never sold a house before, so the thought of doing that also terrifies me a little!

However today I took the bull by the horns, and decided that it was really time to stop wasting my money and get this thing sorted out – especially because I’ll need every penny if I plan to buy a new place.

I decided to take a little inspiration from my mate Jeremy, who often calls his bank to wrangle the best rate on his mortgage – read his tips here.

Comparing loans

I thought I’d better go in with at least a little bit of firepower, so I did a quick search on comparison website Canstar, and found the cheapest rate going. I didn’t look into the specifics too much (OK, at all) I admit, but thought I’d better have at least a ballpark interest rate up my sleeve to present to the bank.

Make me an offer, or I’m gonna leave

So with the lowest interest rate I could find written down, I gave the bank’s mortgage people a buzz to see what they could do, noting that unfortunately I would have to leave unless I got a discount.

They said they’d get back to me in 5-10 working days (arrghhh), but in the end it only took a few hours for a return phone call.

What they offered

My interest rates were at 5.44% – way too high for Australia I know.

One option was to take out a two-year fixed interest loan on the investment property I’ll be keeping (which would have been a 4.79% interest rate plus an $8 monthly fee). However it seemed a bit premature to agree to that on the spot.

Also, to complicate things further, because I bought the investment property using equity from the place I’m planning to sell, I’ll have to stick some of the sale proceeds on the investment property to keep the bank happy.

That will mean the loan amount is likely to change. Still with me?

Temporary fix

The other, more temporary option was to just change both properties to a 5.2% variable, no fee interest rate for now while I sorted out everything else to do with selling.

What I saved

To my surprise, I was able to change to the 5.2% over the phone – without even signing a form – and my online bank account confirmed that this had been done immediately.

On one property that means a monthly saving of $63, and for the smaller loan it’s a $30 saving.

I know I’m going to have to shop around again for a better rate once I buy a new place – if I decide to go ahead with that option – but from January, that’s $93 extra in my bank account each month. And it only took 15 minutes.

That saving will come in super handy as I squirrel away my pennies to buy a new place.

So there you go. I could kick myself that I didn’t do it earlier!

What have you done to find a lower interest rate? Share your tips here.

If you would like to get more great tips from Larissa, visit her at Hey Little Spender here or on facebook here.  This post was republished with full permission.

If you liked this you might also like:

How To Pay Off Your Mortgage Faster

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

5 Websites That Will Help You Make Or Save Money

 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

08/01/2015 0 comment
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5 Easy Way To Sort Out Your Finances 2015

I cannot believe 2014 has flown by so fast!!!  It feels like one minute it was January, then June, then for me November and December have just rolled into one!!!  Given 2015 is approaching fast, here are some easy ways you can sort out your finances in time for the new year!

1) Do a budget

Oh! I hear you groan. Don’t worry, I understand!  But the truth is that a budget does not have to be a complicated scary beast and it is the BEST way to keep control of your finances.  I used the MoneySmart website’s free budget planner and it was dead easy to get my budget done.  If you want to check out the planner click here, or if you want to read about how I did my budget click here.

2) Boost your income

There are lots of ways to boost your income but one of my faves is making sure I am getting all my entitlements from the government.  For this I use the Centrelink Payment Finder – it is fast and alerts me to payments that I might be eligible for.  Also I like to do an unclaimed money search.  It takes all of 20 seconds and is completely free. Potentially it could find you any lost bank accounts, shares or life insurance policies that you might have forgotten about.  My boss found $2000 in lost super by doing this search so it is definitely worth trying it.

3) Consolidate your super

Don’t feel bad if you have more than one super account, pretty much everyone does.  Apparently there are roughly 3 superannuation accounts for every working Australian! So you are not the only one!  Consolidating is way easier than you think, just go to the Australian Tax Office’s SuperSeeker site and you will be able to consolidate your accounts online.  No paper involved!!!  So look into consolidating your accounts, it is easy, free, and it will save you on fees. That means more money for your retirement.

4) Revisit your insurance

Revisit your policies:  do you have enough insurance?  Have your circumstances changed?  Are you getting the best deal for you and your family?  Insurance is not just a case of ‘set and forget’. Things change and when the worst happens and you really need it, you want to be sure that you are covered.

5) Set yourself a 2015 savings goal and work towards it

Whether it is a family holiday, paying off debt, or presents for the kids, set yourself a goal and use 2015 to work towards it.  Click here if you would like some ideas on how to save and here to see how to set a goal and work towards it.  Remember, it is the small things that count, so use the New Year as a fresh start and you will be amazed what you can achieve.

As 2015 approaches it is a great time to think about your financial future and get your financial life in order.  This will be my last post for 2014 before taking some time off to be with my family.  Thank you for reading my posts, your support is greatly appreciated.  I wish you and your family a fantastic Christmas and a wonderful New Year and I will catch you all some time in January 2015!

Shelley

If you liked this you might also like:

15 Ways To Save Money In 2015

How Much Your Credit Card Debt Is Really Costing You

5 Websites That Will Make Or Save You Money

If you would like to read more from me in 2015 don’t forget to sign up to my weekly email using the form below:




 

Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

21/12/2014 6 comments
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Ways To Save Money

As most of you know my day job is to teach social workers about money so that they can then help their clients with their financial issues.  A big part of the course is exchanging ideas on ways to save money.  I love to hear everyone’s tips for saving money and it is one of my most favourite parts of the course.  So, given I have heard heaps of ways to save money, I decided to compile all the best ones into this list.  I am not suggesting you do all of the things on the list, but take a look and use the ideas that make sense to you.

  • Use a separate bank account that is hard to access.
  • Direct debit a set amount into your savings account as soon as you get paid.
  • Get your employer to directly put part of your pay into your hard to access savings account so you never see it.
  • Never spend a gold coin. As soon as you get one put it into a money box that you need to a can opener to open. This really adds up over a year.
  • Never spend a $5 note. Again put it into a money box that you need a can opener to open and be surprised how much it adds up to by the end of the year.
  • The night before you get paid clear out all the notes from your wallet and put them in a money box.
  • When you get paid put any excess money you have left in your account directly into your savings account.
  • If you use the internet to access your savings account try changing the password to your savings goal – such as “Holiday to Thailand” or “House deposit” so that every time you access the account you are reminded as to why you are saving the money in the first place.
  • Check your spending leaks. A spending leak is something that you do regularly which you could do differently to save money.  For example, on in my case I calculated I could save $2,184 per year simply by bringing my lunch to work and making my own hot chocolate in the office.  A huge figure, especially given I only work 3 days per week!!  To find out more click
  • Track your spending by either writing all your spending down on a piece of paper or using MoneySmarts free TrackMySpend app. This will let you know where your money is going and indicate places where you can cut costs.
  • Buy vouchers with excess cash in your wallet when you are at the supermarket. Stash them somewhere safe and see how they add up over a year. Just watch the expiry dates.
  • Shop from your cupboard and spend only $21 for the week on groceries. If you are anything like me then you have enough food in your cupboards to last quite some time!! Sometimes I think I am a ‘doomsday prepper’, without the weapons or the underground shelter, but on the food front we will be fine in an emergency!!! Shopping from your cupboard means you make recipes for a week from what you already have then use a small amount of money, say $21, to by the extras you require.  Then you put any money that you would have spent for the week on groceries into your savings account or money box.
  • Sell things and put the money directly into your savings account. I recently raised $440 buying selling clothes and toys that my daughter no longer used. It was really easy!  To read more about it please click here.
  • Stash any windfalls you might have into a hard to access savings account before you have a chance to spend it! Maybe your tax refund?
  • Pay excess on your mortgage, if you have one, then use a redraw to get it back if you need it. This will not only save you interest on your loan but shave years off your mortgage, meaning you will be owning your own home sooner.

There are heaps of different ways to save money.  You might think these are just little things but I promise you it is these little things that make the difference.  I had a single mum in my class who saved every $5 note over a year and took her kids on a ski weekend with $840 in $5 notes.  So give the tips that you think suit you a try and you might be surprised how much you have by the end of 2015!!

If you liked this you might also like:

Simple Savings Ideas That Absolutely Everyone Can Use

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Disclaimer:

The information contained in this post is general in nature and does not constitute financial advice.  Please see your financial advisor for advice specific to your individual circumstances.

11/12/2014 17 comments
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Binding Death Benefit Nominations

I don’t know about you, but for me time is just flying by.  Even more so since we had our daughter.  Time seems to have gone into hyper-drive!!!  What is that???  One minute I was 27 years old, footloose and fancy free roaming the globe.  The next minute I am 41, married, with a mortgage and a four year old, hearing the word “Muuuuuummmmm” several million times a day.  A completely different life.  But somehow the years in between seemed to have just whizzed by.

And from what my mum tells me, time goes by even faster from here on in – next stop 50, then 60!  What the??????  I was pretty sure that this was never going to happen to me!  I guess it is!  So I had better make sure I am financially prepared for my retirement.  Especially given – if the current legislation passes– I won’t be able to claim the age pension until I am 70!!  I am pretty sure I would like to retire before 70, so I need to make sure that I have enough superannuation to make that happen.  Otherwise it is the Newstart Allowance (or whatever they will call it by then, if it even exists) and cat food for me! Scary!

So how do I decide whether I have enough super?  It’s a tricky question as there are lots of factors involved; however, here are three options that might work for you.

(1) Run some calculations

First you need to take a good look at your current financial situation.  This includes listing all your assets: things like savings, shares, house, car/s and superannuation.  Then you need to list all your debts: things like your mortgage, credit card debts and personal loans.  Add up your assets and deduct your debts and you will have a fair idea of how much you’re worth now.

Next you need to think about how much income you will need to live on when you’re retired.  Here is a hint – the Association of Superannuation Funds of Australia (AFSA) Retirement Standard benchmarks says that a comfortable lifestyle for a couple can cost around $56,000 a year.   A modest lifestyle, AFSA says, costs about $33,000 a year per couple.  You might think you need more or less than this depending on your current and expected future lifestyle.

The last factor to think about is how long you might last!  Apparently retired men in Australia live to an average of 86 and a retired woman until 90!  This means if you retire at 65 your superannuation money has to last you on average 20-25 years!  That is quite a lot of time!

(2) Use a superannuation planning calculator

Superannuation calculators are quick and easy to use, and take into account a lot of factors around your individual circumstances. They are a fast way to get a grip on whether your superannuation is on track.  There are plenty around, the Money Smart website has one here.  I used the one on the CareSuper website.  To check it out click here.  I found it really useful and it took me less than 10 minutes to get an idea whether my superannuation was on track for the retirement lifestyle I want.

(3) Get some personal financial advice

A financial planner can help you determine whether your superannuation is on track to pay for your retirement. They will work with you to determine your current financial position, your goals, and your expected post-retirement lifestyle.  The financial planner’s advice will be tailored to you and your circumstances. If you are a member of some industry funds you can access some services of a financial planner for free. For example, CareSuper members get financial advice over the phone on a range of simple super-related topics as part of their membership, or members can see a financial planner at their offices for more complex advice where the first session is free. If you are a member of an industry fund and want some personal financial advice this might be a service that is worth looking into.

Figuring out whether your super is on track to fund your retirement is really important, especially given the pension age is definitely on the rise.  Nobody wants to find out that they have to work longer than expected to fund their retirement lifestyle, or worse that they can’t afford the retirement they would like. Your super is your money and one day you will need it, so look after it now and it will reward you later. So far my superannuation appears to be on track, so hopefully there will be no cat food in retirement for me!  However, things change and it is something I will have to keep on top of, as the years speed by!

This post is sponsored by CareSuper.

have received a fee from CareSuper to blog about super, however this post contains my own opinions. While I am not personally recommending CareSuper, information about superannuation can be obtained from their website caresuper.com.au and it’s always good to get your own advice about financial matters.

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04/12/2014 8 comments
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