When you have a tight budget, it may seem impossible to save money. And with rising inflation, it’s not difficult to understand why the personal savings rate in Australia decreased this year.
However, conserving money while you’re short on cash may not be as difficult as you think. In fact, even a few minor lifestyle tweaks can help you fulfil your quest to save money for emergencies.
So, if you’re on a tight budget and looking for ways to build an emergency fund (or even money to open a personal savings account), know that there are ways and means to do it. Of course, you’ll have to be committed and willing to put forth some effort.
1. Opt for store brands when grocery shopping
Making a grocery shopping list is easy enough. However, aside from sticking to your list to avoid overspending, you can make a conscious choice to buy generic or store-brand items. After all, there isn’t much of a difference between the two – except for the fact that branded products are more expensive.
2. Cut down on lifestyle-related spending
While it’s true everyone needs to do a bit of self-care, there are ways to indulge in things you enjoy without spending a lot.
Instead of going to the salon to get your hair coloured or for a mani-pedi, ask a friend or family member to help you with colouring your tresses. You can also buy supplies and a few basic tools to do your own manicure and pedicure.
The same can be said about gym memberships and travel. You can exercise at home, run or power walk around your neighbourhood, cycle to work and so on. Go on hikes in your area or visit nearby national parks.
3. Spend cash only
Avoid the temptation to overspend when using a debit or credit card. Instead, adopt the cash-only approach and spend only the money allocated for a specific expense. Doing so will not only prevent you from going over your budget but also force you to work with what you have.
4. Get creative with leftover ingredients
You’ll be surprised at how much food is wasted every day – and this has nothing to do with how big or small your budget is. But since you’re trying to save money, make sure you check your pantry and fridge for whatever ingredients are available before grocery shopping.
Aim to make a meal out of these items, so you not only minimise food waste but also get creative with cooking. There are also apps designed to help people use ingredients in their pantry like BigOven, SuperCook, and Cookpad.
5. Declutter and sell
Start decluttering and sell items you don’t use or need. Your closet and kitchen are ideal areas to start decluttering. Take good photos with your mobile phone and post them with relevant product information on social media or on sites like Etsy or eBay. You can also ask your friends whether any of your stuff is of interest to them.
Start saving today!
Aside from the above tips, there are many more ways to start a personal savings allowance and build an emergency fund. You can start a side gig, downsize, rent out extra space, reduce your meat consumption, swap your car for a bicycle, and so on.
Once you’ve saved your target amount, you can use a personal savings allowance calculator to see how you can still make your money grow by putting it in a bank or credit union.
If this article has inspired you to think about your own unique situation and, more importantly, what you and your family are going through right now, please contact your advice professional.