Breathtaking landscapes and seascapes, vibrant urban life, laidback lifestyle—these are what pull people to Sydney. However, Sydney is not just the biggest city in the country, it is also the priciest. In fact, the UBS ranks Sydney as among the ten most expensive cities to live in. Basic expenses alone already cost around $2,500 for a family with one to two children. Ten years ago, a 2010 survey by the Sydney Business Chamber indicated that half of the survey respondents believe they need $100,000 or more per year to live comfortably.
Living a frugal lifestyle in the era of social media, where everyone flaunts what they have and where they’ve travelled to, can be quite challenging—but there’s nothing great about living paycheque to paycheque either.
If you aren’t conscious about your spending, you might end up accumulating credit card debt. It will only eat away at your limited earnings as well as the money you’ve set aside for emergencies. As a result, it can easily compromise your financial future.
A good timepiece is always a worthwhile investment. It’s a functional accessory that can last for more than one lifetime. Plus, there are so many stunning models that won’t break the bank. These days, watchmaking has progressed to a point that even affordable watches are quite good and built to last. At the end of the day, you need to ask yourself: Do you want a watch that is primarily a luxury item or simply a reliable accessory for keeping the time?
Tasteful landscaping and gardening are very effective in increasing the sale value of homes and property. According to a recent article on OpenAgent, an investment in colourful plants, as well as practical garden spaces, can add at least $15,000 to the value of a home. Real estate agents have long extolled the value of simple flowering plants, which quickly enhance a property’s sale value.
Professional landscaping, such as decks, garden spaces, patios, and sitting areas, with fireplaces and pools, exemplify, to potential buyers, a space ready for restful family activities. Real estate agents tell us that professional landscaping can add 6 to 7 per cent to the value of a home, whereas, if you neglect your garden, it can lower the value of your home from between 5 and 15 per cent.
By Rhianna Dews, Money Writer at Mozo
Despite all the benefits that come with the digital world we live in today, its fast pace has ultimately led to a rapid increase in stress and anxiety, with Beyond Blue data revealing that 1 in 7 Australians are currently experiencing an anxiety condition.
What makes matters worse is the way in which Aussies are coping with the pressure. Mozo’s 2019 Comfort Spending Report found that Aussies are spending $1,430 each year on average in attempts to dilute stress, boredom and anxiety. This works out to a massive total of $25.5 billion each year!
Enjoying a delicious freshly-cooked takeaway meal at home is one of life’s simple pleasures. It’s a moment in time when you can relax and unwind with family or friends and sample some of your favourite foods without even having to lift a finger in the kitchen yourself. Unfortunately, for people who need to tighten their financial belts to save money for a house deposit or to pay off that loan, takeaways tend to be one of the first things binned from the luxuries list. That’s without even attempting to find other ways of cutting back and keeping enough cash for a couple of takeaway treats each month.
Wherever you are in Australia, whether you’re saving together for your first home, buying a brand-new family car or planning that next exciting holiday, if you’re fanatical about food and you still want to enjoy different flavours of the world, from the best sushi in Sydney to succulent sundaes in Brisbane, these frugal tips will ensure that you can have your cake and eat it!
Ditch the takeaway coffee habit
A report earlier this year from ING Direct found that Aussies collectively splurge $39bn a year on expenses related to their work. The national average per person is $591 per month and more than a tenth of this ($72) is spent on coffee! Instead of spending five bucks on a coffee each morning, why not take in your own box of freeze-dried coffee granules or beans? It might not be as glamorous but $72 a month could contribute towards lots of delicious takeaways!
Cut back on your alcohol
Rather more worryingly, the average Aussie is drinking five beers, half a glass of cider, three mixed short drinks, and a bottle of wine a week, according to this report. It states that alcohol consumption was up in 2016 for the first time in nine years, with the average person consuming 9.7 litres of pure alcohol in the year, up from 9.52 litres in 2015. Cutting just a few beers out of your weekly routine each week would not only improve your health but give you a fund to spend on different takeaway meals at the weekend.
Introduce weekly meal menus
Impulse grocery shopping is the scourge of most family budgets. The best way to save money on your weekly shop is to write out a full weekly menu of what you’re going to eat each day so that you can purchase everything you need for those meals – and those meals only!
Shop around for takeaway deals
Keep an eye out in the local newspapers and magazines for deals with your local takeaway outlets. Many will place advertisements in there when they are running time-specific discounts. Furthermore, the sheer volume of online takeaway delivery portals now means you can flick through your available restaurants that deliver to your door from your smartphone or tablet and choose the best-value deals at will.
Wash your own cars
According to data from the Australian Car Wash Association (ACWA), the nation’s carwash industry is expected to be worth $585 million by the turn of the next decade. With some of the most popular car wash services costing from $40 upwards, if you can find the time to wash your own car instead and cut out the takeaways you could probably save over a hundred bucks a month at the click of a finger!
No-one enjoys having to make financial sacrifices. However, if good food is something that you and your family enjoy sharing together, then these money-saving tips will ensure you have plenty left in the kitty to get that takeaway ordered with your feet up watching the footy!
For many Australians, cutting back on spending is essential. When outgoing expenses exceed income, finances can quickly spiral out of control, often resulting in a cycle of debt and dependency. The picture looks bleak, and is unfortunately accurate, so tackling crippling debt is a responsibility all Australians need to share. Our proud boast of national equality is now a distant memory and more Australians are taking the initiative by finding innovative alternatives to spending money wastefully.
How to live and save within your means
Saving and investing money is great in theory, but for most people in the 21st Century, saving is simply a means to ensure bills are paid and food is on the table. It takes organisation and dedication to trim costs and begin saving money for special treats and luxuries. The first step is to create a realistic budget. This straight-forward approach entails determining all current income and expenses. The budget needs to be thorough, easily understood and accessible, saved on hard copy or computer programme.
The next step is to examine ways to spend less, earn more and achieve financial goals. There are hundreds of ways to cut costs and even make money across the board, and all of them are worth investigating, but we are all individuals with certain needs and wants. Make two lists – one for needs (priorities) and one for wants (desires), then ask yourself a few questions about the ‘wants’ list:
- What is my reason for wanting it?
- Is it important for me to get it?
- How will my life change if I have it?
- Will getting it make my lifestyle more, or less, expensive?
- Does it satisfy my ideals, ethics and values?
A budget provides visual confirmation of overall finances and the opportunity to focus on what’s important in your life. Many financial lessons are hard-learnt, but frugal and intelligent spending has resulted in countless financial turnarounds for the better. Wealth is attainable even from humble beginnings, and although slow at first, savings will accumulate that can be invested in more than just paying the monthly bills.
Trimming and tracking savings
The budget doesn’t lie, and will likely also present obvious areas where costs can be cut and money saved. Savings initiatives based on a realistic budget are far more likely to succeed, and introducing just one new savings strategy every week will begin to reap rewards in a short time. In many instances, cutting back on something is preferable to completely cutting it out, although wasteful expenses should be honestly acknowledged and dealt with as soon as possible.
Setting realistic goals is important. In a family environment, achieving targets is only possible with a team effort. Household finances won’t improve if one family member becomes a militant energy saver while everyone else rebels. The ‘SMART’ way to trim and track savings needs to be implemented.
pecific: Savings are easily wasted if they are not earmarked for a dedicated purpose. Financial goals should be coupled with the need for real measures to achieve desired outcomes. Planning is essential, as is monitoring savings progress, especially if you hope to save enough by a certain date.
Measurable: It’s easier to save if you have a target to aim for. In many cases, cutting back on luxuries is a temporary measure to help achieve goals. Regardless of how much you need to save, quality of life shouldn’t be sacrificed, and a savings time-frame can be utilised to focus on the goal.
Attainable: You shouldn’t have to put your life on hold or become a hermit to save money. Finding ways to cut costs and save money is possible, but we could all do with more, and keeping desires in check is important. If your goals are attainable and reasonable, without unsettling work or home life, they are probably worth striving for.
Relevant: We would all love the best luxuries that money can buy. However, most of us need to accept our limitations and capacity for joining the jet set. In time, rubbing shoulders with the rich and famous is possible, but for now there is no shame in selecting value for money wherever you are. Frugal doesn’t mean miserly anymore. For some, frugality is a way of life.
Time-related: Most people juggle a lot of expenses and savings ideas simultaneously. The budget can include a savings timeline for every considerable purchase. Once the target is reached, additional savings can be dedicated to other projects. Achieving savings targets is difficult for a lot of people, but establishing a budget is essential for everyone regardless of income or wealth, and learning smart money saving ideas will result in outcomes that are worth celebrating.
Investing entails greater risk and is usually undertaken with astute financial guidance. On the other hand, saving money and accumulating capital is less complex and more familiar to most people. Saving with a bank is considered a safe alternative to rolling the dice on shares, especially if finances aren’t fluid enough to cover any losses. It’s possible to get rich quickly, but most fail trying, while the get-rich-slowly savings method will work for anyone with patience and foresight.
The get-rich-slowly financial investment
For the vast majority of Australians, consistent saving is the best strategy for long-term success. Saving always wins, and in a get-rich-slowly scheme, compound interest ultimately does most of the hard work for you. According to principal wealth strategist, David A. Schneider, “An average saver will do better than a great investor who doesn’t save.”
Achieving big profits on the share market is reliant on astute investments, and it is possible to outperform the market, but most novice investors aren’t market savvy. Compound interest derived from savings, on the other hand, is guaranteed. Any additional savings added to the account further compounds the interest, resulting in a snowball effect of financial growth and momentum. Slow and steady growth, without unnecessary dipping into savings, will build dramatically over time and is the key to long-term financial satisfaction.
Saving is investing in your future
Every savings or investment plan aims to satisfy future wants or needs, even if the goal is simply to accumulate more money. The aim is usually to reach those goals as soon as possible. Whether saving with a bank, or investing in shares, the best way to make money grow faster is to add additional funds whenever possible.
Most people are confused by complex share markets and aren’t likely to add savings or diversify their portfolio unless prompted. The principle of growing money with savings, interest and lump sum additions usually makes more sense. For example: adding $5,000 to savings each year, earning 8% interest, results in $247,115 after 20 years. Achieving the same goal in only 10 years would require $15,795 added to savings each year.
Even with a misspent youth and several diversions along the way, it’s possible for most people to embark on a reasonably long-term savings plan that accumulates into a formidable investment. For those who are paying off a home, the same principle applies, although with the aim of reducing debt rather than increasing capital. Paying a regular chunk off the mortgage on a regular basis results in much faster accumulation of home equity and potential investment capital.
Adding to investment savings
Investors are also savers, or at least accumulators. Market volatility can make investors nervous, but there are safe strategies to deal with the ups and downs. By continually adding funds to existing investments, shares are purchased at both lower and higher prices, ultimately resulting in dollar-cost-averaging. Adding capital to a portfolio has a lasting effect and can reap handy profits, especially if market annual returns average the desired 10% or more.
Double your savings and more
The simple ‘rule of 72’ helps savers understand how long it takes for an investment to double. Simply divide 72 by the rate of interest you are getting, and you have your answer. For instance, 72 divided by 6 means it takes 12 years to double the initial investment, whether it is $100 or a million dollars. Naturally, adding additional funds accelerates the process.
Short-term goals and long-term plans
Saving for the future is extremely important, but life goes on in the meantime. Long-term investments aren’t always mature and ready to be cashed in for important milestones such as commencing higher education or getting married, so preserving capital with a dedicated savings account is the surer way to access money when it’s needed. Investing in the future also means investing in memories, so enjoying a little accumulated wealth set aside for special occasions is a sensible investment in itself.
For those on a low income, the adage ‘a dollar saved is a dollar earned’ rings true. In many cases where money making options are limited, saving money is the alternative that will help strengthen finances. Turning the corner toward financial freedom takes time, but a more comfortable financial situation is immediately attainable by making a few simple changes that won’t dramatically affect living circumstances or lifestyle choices. Here are some ideas for saving money on a low income.
Housing affordability adjustments
Whether owning or renting your home, housing costs are a major factor in family budgeting. When preferable, housing costs should be kept below 30% of take home pay, although in the present economic environment this can be almost impossible, especially in major cities. If you are renting and have a small household, it’s worth considering downsizing if the necessary compromises are acceptable. If you are an owner or renter with a spare room, taking in a boarder or flatmate to share expenses is another alternative that will put money straight into your bank account savings fund.
Planned shopping with shopping list and budget
Money can be squandered when it is spent whimsically. Using limited income wisely is an essential money saving strategy, with no better example than regular supermarket shopping. With a little discrimination and an eye for value, loads of money can be saved, especially when purchasing for larger families. A budgeted shopping list provides the diligence and determination required to resist temptation and save money, while also facilitating the creation of a healthy meal plan that will benefit the entire family. Frugal shopping generally results in more nutritionally valuable purchases at the expense of unhealthy, expensive junk food.
Join the ‘used stuff’ revolution
It’s difficult to keep pace with the latest expensive luxuries and gadgets even if you can afford them. Fashions change as fast as seasons these days, and maintaining status can be expensive and wasteful. People on low incomes are the beneficiaries, acquiring used items in ‘as-new’ condition for a fraction of the price. In addition, a drive around any reasonable suburb during ‘council collection’ week will also disclose an abundance of furniture and household goods that are free for those who aren’t too proud to stop and look. Online bargains abound and charity stores continue to fill the void for bargain hunters everywhere.
Clear credit card debt
Credit cards are an extremely handy device when they are backed by sufficient wealth, but they tend to keep poor people poor. It’s been revealed that the effortless nature of spending with plastic increases expenditure, and that’s even before credit card interest and fees are taken into consideration. If credit cards are dragging your finances down, it’s best to avoid them for a time and use cash whenever possible.
Make small changes that add up
There are choices in the way we do almost everything. Dedicated saving can involve taking lunch to work, co-ordinating shopping and errands to save on fuel costs, keeping loose change and cashing it in periodically, restricting household appliance use, or even learning basic home and car maintenance. Small changes ultimately add up to big savings along with improved overall household efficiency and productivity.
Once you set your mind to the task you will uncover countless ways to cut costs and save money. It does take diligence and a conscientious effort, but most savings methods become second nature in time and they are good habits worth learning. Becoming debt free and financially solvent is a long-term plan, but as wealth accumulates, money will become your friend, working with you to establish assets and equity that had previously seemed unobtainable.
At the time, this sort of deal made sense. The phone companies, keen to grow their business, heavily subsidised the cost of the phone. Since a new device often cost hundreds of dollars, this prevented new customers from being deterred by a high up front cost. The 24 month term allowed the price of the phone + plan to be an affordable monthly payment.
But the maths has changed. These days, buying a phone and a SIM together is often the worst thing you can do. Here’s why.
Get your phone outright and add a SIM Only plan
The critical thing to remember here is that phone contracts have been around for 25 years now. That’s a generation. Things were very, very different when these sort of agreements were cooked up by Telstra, Optus and, later, Vodafone. You were buying mostly minutes and SMS back in 1990 and you were getting a Nokia with a black and white screen.
In the ensuing two and a half decades, phones, phone companies and plans have all come a long way.