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Spend Carefully

Top 5 clever cash habits to save money in a digital future

Financial Wellbeing Coach

2023-07-24 00:00

Estimated reading time
7 min

In this article

  • Learn how to save in a cashless world
  • Tips to ensure your online activity is secure
  • Find out how to avoid a scam

In today’s day and age, the act of counting out your change for a coffee is (almost) gone.

Card transactions have been the increasingly popular payment of choice for a while now, and it’s not uncommon to see phone tapping and watch waving at your local café.

You might even find your jaw on the floor when someone pays for their coffee with their coffee cup. It’s real, google it.

However, some still swear by the old mechanics of physical money saying it’s easier to manage and keep track. Many budgeting philosophers also believe in its power to keep your spending in line. But as more businesses go cash-free it’s likely the swipers and tappers will win out.

Is Australia going cashless?

Like much of the world, Australia is moving toward a (mostly) cashless society. Whether you tap a card, swipe your phone or pay for things online – a large percentage of today’s economy is cashless. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia (RBA)’s 2023 Cash Use and Attitudes in Australia bulletin, 72% of Australians were classified as ‘low cash users’ in 2022. And while there aren’t any immediate plans to completely scrap the physical currency, its use is becoming less common.

Are digital payments safe?

According to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Australian Government is aiming to become a top 10 digital economy and society by 2023. And while the nature of the digital world does come with some risk of fraud, there are lots of safeguards in place (and additional measures you can take) to ensure your online activity is as secure as can be. You can find more about protecting yourself online and the PACT plan here.

So how do you retain those clever cash habits even if you're a card-only convert? Here are our top five lessons that cash taught us (cleverly updated for the cashless world):

1. The $5 savings hack

Cash aficionados have a whole lot of tricks and money saving ideas up their sleeves, one of which is to save every $5 note they come across. It’s a small enough investment that you don’t notice that it’s gone, but over time all those fivers amount to a thick wad of dollars. In a cashless world, you can take inspiration by rounding up your online spending and putting the spare change in your savings account, or matching every purchase below $5 with a quick deposit into your digital piggy bank.

2. Set a spending allowance

The limit does, in fact, exist. But it’s easier to stick to a spending goal when your budget is just the cash you have in hand. Once you run out of physical dollars, that’s the end of the splurge. So, if you feel prone to over-spending or losing track of your goals in a cashless world, it might be useful to use a dedicated tracking app or have a weekly date with an excel spreadsheet. Most banks have a spend-tracking feature built right into their app as a way to help you save money – such as ANZ Spendi in the ANZ App. More on tracking below!

3. The envelope system

Let’s take it one step further. Some cashed-up people use physical envelopes1 for each spending category to avoid overspending in one area. You can do this, sans the paperwork, by creating separate accounts and naming them in the ANZ app - like ‘household expenses’ or ‘entertainment.’ The “virtual envelopes” or “buckets” as they’re commonly referred to will help you keep track, and you’ll feel the freedom to spend what you like within each limit. Learn how to bucket your money with the 50/30/20 Budget Calculator.

4. Save your leftovers

Spare cash in your wallet at the end of the month? Often, that would have gone into a piggy bank. If you’re keeping a solid budget and are on top of your spending habits, you can do the same even if you’ve gone digital. Try seeing your leftover budget at the end of each month as small change to transfer over and store away in a savings account or to pay off your debt. Call your savings account ‘piggy’ if you must.

5. Keep track

One of the benefits of cashless banking is that you don’t have to count up your money any time you want a statement. There’s a bank balance at the click of a button, and in theory, this access to immediate figures should help you keep better track of how much is going out and coming in. No piles of dollars needed. Which is why we've created ANZ Spendi in the ANZ App. Set a daily budget on an account, then ANZ Spendi will show your daily spending at a glance.

How to avoid a scam

And remember, when it comes to your digital life – whether its websites, purchases, emails or social media – if it seems too good to be true, it usually is. If you’re unsure about something, take the time to research or call an official number to verify it’s legitimate before clicking or acting.

By getting into the habit of regularly checking your spending in your bank account, you can spot any inconsistencies that might signal a scammer has gotten access to your hard-earned dough. And the earlier we can spot a scam, the safer you’ll be.

You can find out more about protecting yourself against scams here.

Top 5 clever cash habits to save money in a digital future
Financial Wellbeing Coach

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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.