Buying a home is a major commitment and saving for a deposit is likely to be your biggest challenge. Saving the ideal 20 percent of a property’s value can seem near impossible; however, there are ways you can maximise your savings to get there faster.
Commit to a strategy for saving
Saving takes practise, discipline and determination, and the sooner you commit to saving, the better. Your starting point should be determining your monthly cash surplus, i.e. the money that’s left after your essential expenses such as rent, food and bills.
- Assess your current spending
Our Budget Planner tool can help you review your spending and decide where to cut back on non-essential expenses. Here are some simple suggestions to get started:
- Food for thought
During your working week, the costs of a daily takeaway or even dining at a restaurant can soon mount up. A sandwich from a CBD café can cost approximately $12 a day, equating to $60 a week or $240 a month – and that’s without the cost of a daily coffee. If you are keen to save, consider taking a homemade lunch to work at least three times a week. Planning your meals and sticking to a shopping list can help you avoid spending more on impulse buys. We all need our treats, but exercising restraint in the short term is key to helping you save for the long term. Similarly, dining out less often and limiting takeaway meals may also help you save those much-needed dollars even faster.
- Friday night drinks?
Reducing your alcohol intake can also help you reduce your spending. You don’t have to give up your favourite tipple, but merely cut down your intake and limit visits to expensive bars. You might even find you feel better physically, as well as financially.
- Retail therapy
When you are trying to save, a good way to limit retail temptation is to unsubscribe from promotional emails that are skilfully designed to encourage you to spend. Avoid spending time at your local shopping centre or window shopping. You can save some serious cash by focusing on items you ‘need’ rather than those that would be ‘nice-to-have’. If you have unwanted clothing or homewares in good condition, you might even consider selling them online to help raise extra funds.
- Cashing in on your hobbies
Devoting time to a hobby can be so rewarding. If you have a talent, for example woodwork or baking, you could even consider selling some of your creations or teaching a class for some extra income.
- Entertainment overload
If you enjoy binge watching and streaming music, you may subscribe to multiple platforms. Consider limiting yourself to one service or cancel your subscriptions completely. Utilise the numerous free and on demand options provided by commercial TV networks and online providers.
- Still smoking?
Smoking is not just bad for your health; it also dents your wallet. An average pack of 25 cigarettes costs approximately $36, so if you have a ‘one pack a day’ habit for ten years you will have spent over $130,000. Cutting down or quitting completely is likely to benefit your long-term physical wellbeing as well as your financial health.
Ways to maximise your savings
- Open a dedicated savings account
Open a dedicated savings account, such as our Bonus Saver Account, to earn interest on your savings and keep the funds separate from your everyday transaction account.
- Regular transfers into your savings account
Transfer the monthly savings that you identified via the Budget Planner directly into your savings account each month to maximise the interest potential and keep your disposable income out of temptation.
- Consider a term deposit
If you have a minimum balance of $1,000, you could open one of our term deposits with fixed terms ranging from 30 days up to 5 years. A term deposit will pay you a fixed rate of interest on the maturity date or annually, depending on the term you choose. However, it is important that you do not need to access the funds invested during the term as penalty fees may apply for breaking a fixed deposit.
- Move back in with mum and dad
This option may not be for everyone (or realistic during COVID-19) but, if possible, moving back in with mum and dad can save you money. You might enjoy some quality time with your folks and perhaps even some great home cooking. What time’s dinner?
These short-term savings strategies might seem challenging, but they may help you get into your first home sooner. While you are striving to save for your deposit, remember that you can look forward to rewarding yourself for your savings effort once you have moved in.