Simple ways to save money

Find out how to save money every day and make a savings plan to stay on track.

Separate and automate your savings

An online savings account is a great way to grow your money faster. Unlike a transaction account, you can’t spend money directly from a savings account, so it’s harder to dip into your savings.

Automate your savings

Transfer part of your pay into your savings account. You can ask your employer to do this for you or you can set up a direct debit. This way, you’re saving without even having to think about it.

Round-up transactions

Some savings accounts or apps let you round-up your daily transactions to the nearest $1 or $5. The change then goes directly into your savings account.

For example, James buys a coffee before work each morning:

  • The coffee costs $4.20.

  • His account is debited $5.

  • 80 cents goes straight into his online savings account.

After a year, James will save more than $200.

Look for ways to reduce spending

Look at your expenses to see where you can make changes or get a better deal. It may surprise you how little things add up.

Find quick wins

Look through your bank or credit card statements for the last two months. Identify anything that isn’t essential. This could be things like subscriptions or memberships.

Reduce your grocery bills

To reduce your grocery bills:

  • Plan ahead – plan meals weekly (including lunches and snacks). Stick to your shopping list, so you only buy what you need.

  • Buy on special – look for cheaper home or own brands. Buy frozen vegetables as they’re nutritious and may cost less than fresh.

  • Compare unit prices – look at the unit price (e.g. price per 100g) under the main price. This makes it easier to compare the price and value of similar products so you can see where you get best value for money.

  • Go seasonal – save by buying fruit and vegetables in season, shop at your local fresh markets or grocers.

  • Eat less meat – meat can be expensive so try to buy when marked down at end of day. Plan some meat-free meals.

  • Buy in bulk – buy staples (like rice, oats, flour) when marked down. Or buy bulk amounts with your neighbours or friends.

  • Grow it yourself – get your family involved in making a herb or vegetable garden together.

Reduce your electricity bills

To reduce your electricity consumption and your bill:

  • Heating and cooling – only heat or cool the room you’re using rather than the whole house. Open or close the blinds to help control the temperature inside. Block draughts to avoid leaking heat (for example, put a door snake at the bottom of a door).

  • Laundry – run your washing machine with a full load and use cold water in your machine when possible.

  • Appliances – use energy-efficient appliances or lights if you can. Try to use appliances outside peak times when tariffs are lower (check your bill to find when it’s cheaper). Adjust temperature settings on air conditioners to the most efficient level.

  • Turn off when not in use – turn off your ‘vampire appliances’ at the wall so they don’t use energy when not in use. These include gaming consoles, any appliance with a ‘standby mode’, and phones that are at 100% charge.

Swap to cheaper alternatives

  • Gym memberships – look for no-cost classes or running groups in your local area. Or try free online workout videos or fitness challenges.

  • Streaming services – look for free streaming channels or apps.

  • Food delivery services – delete the app and try recreating a take-out meal yourself at a lower cost.

  • Eating out – instead of eating at a restaurant, have a picnic or BBQ at the beach, park or someone’s house.

  • Holidays – consider holidays with no air travel, like camping or day trips from home.

  • Transport – look at car-pooling, or ride your bike instead of taking public transport.

Shop around for better deals

  • Electricity – compare energy suppliers to make sure you’re getting the best deal. Use the Government’s Energy Made Easy website. Or Victorian Energy Compare, if you’re in Victoria.

  • Insurance – when it’s time to renew your insurance, compare premiums with other providers. You could get a discount if your policies are grouped together. Or you may be offered an incentive to stay with your current insurer. For tips see choosing car insurance or home insurance.

  • Internet and phone – review your monthly usage over a 12-month period and look for a plan that suits your needs. You could be paying for more than you use, so there may be cheaper options. Or your provider could offer you an incentive to stay, which may be a better deal.

Have a savings plan

The secret to saving is to start early and save often. Create a savings plan so you can manage your money and stick to your goal.

Know where your money is going

Have a clear picture of your regular expenses and spending habits. This helps you see where you can cut back and save. See track your spending for practical ways to get started.

Start a budget

Once you know how you’re spending your money, you can set a realistic budget. Your budget will help you to stay on track, review your progress and reach your money goals sooner.

See how to do a budget to get started.

Set a savings goal

Setting a savings goal helps you stay focused. It doesn’t matter how big or small your goal is, work out how much money you need and make a start.

Pay off some debt

If you can, make extra repayments towards any credit card debt or loans you have. Paying off your debts sooner can save you thousands in interest.

See how to get debt under control for more information about prioritising and managing debt.


Reproduced with the permission of ASIC’s MoneySmart Team. This article was originally published at

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