Easy ways to save money in Australia

Do you think saving money is hard? Spending money is easier right? Well actually anyone can save money but managing their cash efficiently and taking control of their finances.

How to save money with the minimum of suffering

Thankfully, if you’re in the business of money saving, Australia is one of the safest places in the world to grow a big stash. Under the Australian government’s deposit guarantee scheme, you can safely deposit up to $250,000 with any ‘authorised deposit taking institution’ (like a bank or credit union) with confidence. So there is really no difference between the safety and security of a big bank and the smallest local credit union when it comes to the security of your deposits.

That’s a long way away from hiding dollar bills under the mattress.

First of all, though, you have to have some money spare to put into your bank savings account. It should be money that you won’t miss—don’t use money that you’d be paying bills with, or you’ll just end up getting late fees, which defeats the object! Instead, look through your bank statements to see what you can trim. Look for things like extra coffees on the way home from work, yet another nail polish for your bathroom cupboard, and subscriptions that you don’t use anymore.

You may be “leaking” small amounts of money each week that would be much better off in your retirement savings account. Once the cost of that latte is ensconced in your savings vehicle, it’s working for you, not your local caffeine-pusher.

Always look for the best interest rates you can find

Before you open a new savings account, you need to head to a comparison site to make sure you’re choosing the best one for you and your circumstances. Some accounts need a minimum opening deposit or a minimum monthly amount, so you need to pick one that won’t put you out of pocket.

One big consideration when it comes to interest is how often the interest is calculated. Accounts that calculate interest daily are best because the interest compounds on itself every day; if an account only calculates interest once a month, it’s usually on the minimum balance so you’ll get smaller returns. When you’re looking for high interest savings online savings accounts might work for you as they can sometimes offer special rates.

Compare savings accounts from Australia’s major banks, credit unions and building societies here.

Look at term deposit accounts

A really good way to save money is to open a term deposit account because you know exactly how much your money will grow.

One of the important things about personal finance is knowing how much you stand to gain by making a particular move, so if you like certainty, then a term deposit is for you. These accounts run for different lengths of time, usually ranging from seven days to five years, and you have a fixed rate of interest for the entire time. If you need to withdraw some or all of the money before maturity then you’ll pay a penalty on your interest, which will probably act as a deterrent.

Of course, having a fixed rate of interest means that your rate doesn’t come up if the base rate does, which is the downside. The upside – and it’s a good one if you choose a longer term – is that your interest rate doesn’t fall either. You deposit your amount, wait, and then pick it back up – along with its earnings – when the account matures. It’s also possible to roll the money over into another term if you want to, or transfer it out to another account.

Compare term deposit rates, fees and features from Australia’s major banks, credit unions and other financial institutions here.

The old-fashioned savings account

The old fashioned savings account has had a makeover in recent years but still offers you the most flexibility of all, as you could open one that has a very low opening balance and doesn’t require a minimum monthly deposit. You might commit to a particular amount each month as a basic contribution and then drip-feed the savings from forgoing those cheeky lattes into it each week.

Make sure that you choose a decent interest rate – remember to look for an account that calculates its rate daily. You may also find that online savings accounts have low maintenance fees and may also offer attractive interest rates for the first year or so. Make sure you know the rules and terms of the savings account you are choosing. You may be able to link a savings account with another institution back to the transaction account you have at your main banking institution.

Three extra savings tips for you

Try not to focus on amounts if you don’t have lots of money spare – just deposit what you can into your savings so that those dollars can get to work immediately.

You don’t need to eliminate your treats entirely, because you’ll be miserable. If you go for Thursday night drinks with colleagues, reduce it to every other Thursday, or stick to soft drinks.

Call around your utility providers to see if you can reduce your bills, as this means you’re saving without depriving yourself of anything!

Compare savings accounts from Australia’s major banks, credit unions and building societies here.

The information contained on this web site is general in nature and does not take into account your personal situation. You should consider whether the information is appropriate to your needs, and where appropriate, seek professional advice from a financial adviser. If you or someone you know is in financial stress, contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.

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