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5 smart ways to save, no sacrifice needed

Published 23 December 2021

Forget cutting back on your little loves, like delicious coffee, it’s time to start looking at the big stuff.

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When it comes to reaching your savings goals, cutting non-essential expenses out of your budget is a common (and effective) first step. But while radically tightening your spending might look brave and ambitious on paper, restrictive budgets can be hard to maintain for the long term.

Luckily, saving doesn’t always have to come with extreme sacrifice. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce your spending and save more money, without cutting anything out of your life:

1. Shop around

When it comes to choosing a product or provider, your first option is not always the best option. In fact, reading the terms and conditions is sometimes the only way to truly understand all the cost differences between different products and plans. Sometimes you might find a better deal without changing what you’re getting out of it.  

Here are some products and providers you may want to take a look at:

  • Mobile phone plan
  • Insurances - Health, car, life, home, etc
  • Electricity or gas provider
  • Streaming subscriptions 
  • Internet plan
  • Gym membership

Here are some basics to keep in mind:

  • Does the contract offer a fixed rate and finite period?
  • What will it cost to change providers?
  • Can your new plan be cancelled after a change of mind?
  • It may be cheaper, but is it the same or better?
  • Have your needs changed since you signed up? Can you tweak your plan rather than cancel it?

Found a better offer from a competitor? Before you do jump ship, let your current provider know about the offer and your intention to move. They may be able to match it, or even go one better.

 Bonus tip:

Avoiding missed or late payment fees on your bills and taking advantage of any early deposit discounts can make a big difference too.

2. Get a little greener

Saving money while saving the planet? It may sound too good to be true but being conscious of what you’re using, or investing in greener solutions, could provide cost benefits in the long term. 

Here are some going green tips to take a look at:

  • Replacing household lights with energy-efficient LED light bulbs  
  • Unplugging unused electrical devices entirely (appliances on standby are often still using a lot of electricity) 
  • Recycle rainwater or greywater for use on the garden 
  • Go meat-free more often and save money on grocery shopping
  • Repair clothes or broken furniture where possible instead of repurchasing 
  • Before buying, try a second-hand store or website first 

3. Use reward systems

Very few things in life are free, but a lot of things are on special. Look out for savings and deals on your weekly shop and tap into the world of discount codes, coupons and reward cards.

Excess spending just to rack up points might not be the best approach, but smart rewards plan usage could save you a few dollars down the track. A loyalty card at your local café won’t hurt.

Check if any services you already use – such as your private health insurance or credit cards – offer any rewards. These can often include shopping discounts or movie tickets to help you get back into socialising without blowing your budget.

4. Talk to your bank

There’s no harm in checking in with your bank every so often to see if you’re using the accounts, credit cards or home loan that best suit you and your current situation. If you don’t ask you’ll never know. When it comes to home loans and depending on what’s best for your needs you could consider:

  • See if there are other accounts or packages you could make use of, such as offset accounts which could help reduce the amount of interest that you pay
  • Discuss the pros and cons of changing to a fixed or variable interest rate or choose to split your home loan between variable and fixed
  • Explore making extra repayments or changing frequency of payments
  • Refinance your home loan and consolidate any other debts. If you have enough equity in your home you may be able to consolidate your other debts to a lower interest rate. 

You will need to consider what will work for you, taking into account your financial needs, situation and goals. Ask your lender about your options. 

5. Work from home

Many people have found that working from home comes with benefits, beyond the ability to concentrate. You don’t have to pay for transport to and from work, you’re less likely to eat lunch out, and you’re far less likely to go wild at after work drinks.

Test it out if you can and try to find a lifestyle groove that suits you and - and do what you can to implement it in the long term.

The truth is, budgets are better

To help keep track of where your money’s going and make some room in your budget for the things you love, plan your spend with the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Program.

Start planning

The information set out above is general in nature and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs.  Before acting on the information, you should consider whether the information is appropriate for you having regard to your objectives, financial situation and needs. By providing this information ANZ does not intend to provide any financial advice or other advice or recommendations.  You should seek independent financial, legal, tax and other relevant advice having regard to your particular circumstances.