Budgeting and Saving
Having a specific target to work towards will help keep you motivated and focused. Pick a number, set a timeframe, and then get busy saving!
Do it online
Like any goal, it pays to have a good plan in place to keep you on track. So in order to get saving, first do a budget and workout everything that you NEED to spend money on and areas where you see you could save. There are many free budgeting tools available online; one we recommend is www.sorted.org.nz.
Once you have worked out a budget, make sure you track your spending against it. Those daily coffees or Friday evening rounds at the pub can really add up and you will be amazed how much can slip through the cracks – especially if you spend cash or get paid in cash.
Be honest with yourself
If you’re in denial about how big your shoe collection really is or how many days a week you buy lunch at work, then it’s time to ‘fess up! Be honest with yourself about what you’re spending your money on – and how much you spend!
Review your historical spending
Review old bank statements to get a better understanding of your spending habits. While the reality of seeing some of the numbers may make you cringe, it’s a good way for you to see what is essential spending and what’s optional in your budget.
Review your optional spending – what can you can cut down on or eliminate?
Generally, truly essential spending is limited to that required to feed, house and clothe you and your family.
However, we all like the occasional treat and it’s up to you to decide what is important to your lifestyle, so factor these in when considering your budget – this will also helps avoid sudden spending blow-outs.
Set a savings goal
How much can you afford to regularly save? If you are wanting to buy a home – your best option is work out your likely mortgage repayment costs along with insurance and rate costs, less your current rent costs. Being able to prove to the bank that you can sustain the additional costs will be a benefit when applying for a mortgage.
Remember to be realistic with your plan – you must still allow yourself some luxuries – if you don’t you may find it just too hard and give up.
Set up a savings account
Separate your savings from your day to day spending account and watch your savings grow!
Set up an automatic payment
Setting up an automatic payment in line with your pay day is the easiest way to ensure that you do save so it disappears before you have time to allocate it to something else. Out of sight, out of mind, as they say, so if you don’t see it, then you can’t miss it!
Make it hard to access your savings account
Make it hard to withdraw money from your savings account. Don’t link the account to an Eftpos card or even have it on your internet banking, that way if you really have to withdraw from the account you’ll have to make a trip to the
Shop around for the best savings interest rate – check out interest rates here
Tools to help you with saving
Check your essential costs
What can you save on?
Credit Card – Can you transfer to a Card on a lower Interest Rate?
Unless you pay off your balance in full each month you may be better to have a debit card. They have a Visa function but as they come directly from your main account, you can only spend money you have.
Check your rent costs – are you paying too much rent? Go to http://www.dbh.govt.nz/market-rent for a rent comparison
Check out your power costs –could an alternative provider offer you a better price. Go to https://www.powerswitch.org.nz/powerswitch?&gclid=CJmcstTc57cCFURcpQodASIAgg
Are you wasting power? Check out http://www.energywise.govt.nz/your-home/save-money-on-your-energy-bill
Where do you shop for your groceries?
Yes, food is one of life’s pleasures, but with some planning and smart shopping you can cut down your grocery bill and save while still preparing meals like a Masterchef:
- Are you paying top dollar by shopping at the most expensive supermarket? Shop around and keep an eye out for specials.
- Make a shopping list and stick to it! Don’t be tempted to buy extra things you don’t actually need. While you may pay a delivery charge, you are less likely to be tempted or overspend, if you shop online.
- Stock up on basics when they are on special – you are going to need them – so buy in bulk while they are on sale.
- Buy only in-season produce – off-season fruit and vegetables are always more expensive. Buying frozen veges is often cheaper, out of season.
- Cut down on the lattes – you’ll be surprised how much you may spend on those coffees here and there. (Just one latte a day at $4.50 every work day adds up to $1080 for a year – wow!).
- Take your lunch to work – buying lunches every work day can literally cost you thousands every year ($10 per day for every working day adds up to $2400 over a year – scary, huh!)
Are you entitled to any government benefits that you are currently not
receiving? Check out http://newzealand.govt.nz/browse/families-communities/families/family-benefits/
New to NZ and need help in understanding what your government entitlements are? Check out http://www.settlement.org.nz/
Click here to download your Budgeting Checklist[/wlm_private_First Home Buyers Club]