finance

The 4 easiest ways to save money without even noticing.

Everyday I hear stories of people who desperately want to go on a holiday, or really want to buy that new handbag, or upgrade their old car to something a bit newer.

But the bills keep coming and their pay never changes. They’re living pay cheque to pay cheque and short of taking another job, praying for a pay rise or giving up their daily coffees (never!) it’s next to impossible to save anything.

So I put together a list of the easiest ways I know to save some extra cash – without even noticing.

Save your spare dollars – literally.

I have a friend who started saving every $5 note she received. If she was given a $5 note in change, she didn’t let herself spend it, she put it in a jar – and that jar had a pretty substantial balance after a few months. If you don’t want to do $5 notes, go with $1 or $2 coins. You’d be surprised how quickly it adds up.

Watch Monique, Kate and Mia discuss how retailers are tricking us into spending more. Post continues after video…

Reality check your lifestyle.

When our income goes up, so too does our spending. Before you know it, nice-to-haves become life essentials (hello, Netflix!). Take a good, hard look at where your money is going – often simple adjustments (like ditching the TV subscriptions) can make a big impact.

Plan your meals.

Ten minutes today could save you not only dollars but also time, during the week. Over the weekend put together a quick and easy meal plan for the next week or two. Rather than heading to your local supermarket, do your shopping online. You’ll save by default because you’ll only buy what you need (avoiding those impulse chocolate purchases) but also by planning, you avoid mid-week I-don’t-know-what-to-make-for-dinner moments that usually result in expensive takeaways. You’ll also be able to save your list and easily reorder with the push of a button the following week.

'Rather than heading to your local supermarket, do your shopping online.' Image via iStock.
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Eagle eye your bills and statements.

Each month check your bills and your bank statements to make sure they’re correct. Incorrect or double charges do happen so keep an eye out and flag anything strange with your bank or provider.

Shop differently.

Instead of shopping at your local departments stores for big ticket items, go the non-traditional route for some bargains. Sites like Kogan are great for phone plans, furniture and appliances, Strawberrynet has discounted cosmetics and skincare products, and on Catch of the Day you’ll find something different every day – just don’t get overexcited and spend all your hard earned cash!

Redirect some of your funds.

It's tax time, so if you get a refund put it away in a high interest savings account. If you’re eligible for the Family Tax Benefit, consider getting it paid annually so it’s a forced saving. Or if your kids are about to grow out of childcare and into primary school, redirect those funds to your savings account or mortgage instead.

Easy peasy!

Natasha Janssens is the founder of Women with Cents and finance expert. You can see more from her on her website.

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