It’s never been harder to save money. Everywhere you look – from your email inbox and your social accounts, to the signage at the bus stops (and the signage ON the bus) – there’s someone asking for your hard-earned money. It costs money to go out. It costs money to be out. It costs money to get home. And then you can spend money from the comfort of the couch at home, too.

With seemingly endless financial temptations, adopting good financial habits is the key to achieving your saving goals. With just a few small changes to the way you manage your money, you can make a big difference to your current and future financial wellbeing. 

Step 1: Get your affairs in order

Commit to regular budgeting

Yep, it’s the dreaded “B” word. There’s a reason every money article ever written tell you to make a budget. Setting aside dedicated time to review your finances and plan for the future is a crucial habit. It can be weekly, fortnightly or monthly -the idea is to create a budget that works for you, tailoring it to your specific needs and financial goals. Regular budget reviews not only help you stay on track, but also provides an opportunity to make adjustments as your financial situation evolves. We know this is easier said than done so we created the mymo by BCU Bank app, so you can see all your accounts in one place (even from other banks) and have an overview of your financial position at your fingertips.

Track your spending and create categories

One of the first steps towards financial mindfulness is understanding where your money goes. At the end of the week, month or year, sit down and document and categorise every expense. You can use mymo to automatically categorise your transactions, so you can quickly review your spending on the go. By doing this, you gain insights into your spending patterns, enabling you to find areas where you can cut back.

Focus on eliminating high-interest debts

Credit card debt or personal loans can be a significant financial burden due to high interest rates. Consider prioritising paying off your credit cards by allocating a part of your budget towards debt repayment. This not only saves you money in interest payments, but also improves your overall financial health.

Automate recurring payments

Take advantage of technology to simplify your financial life. Set up automated recurring payments for bills and other regular expenses in BCU iBank. mymo users can also receive alerts when a bill is coming up, so you can make sure you have enough money in your account to cover the direct debits and avoid late fees and dishonour fees.

Make time for life admin

Choose a monthly 'date' to address financial tasks you've been putting off. This could involve closing unnecessary bank accounts and subscriptions (do you even watch Stan anymore?), settling overdue bills, or reassessing your insurance providers. By tackling these tasks head-on, you prevent them from becoming financial headaches in the future. Use mymo to see all of your bills, across all of your bank accounts in one place.

Step 2: Find ways to save

Pay yourself first

Prioritise your savings that you’ve outlined in your budget by adopting the 'pay yourself first' strategy. Consider allocating a fixed amount from each paycheque directly into a separate savings account before covering your everyday expenses. This proactive approach ensures consistent progress towards your savings goals.

Strategic grocery shopping

Creating a grocery list before heading to the store can help you stick to a budget and avoid impulse purchases. This simple habit can contribute significantly to saving money on your monthly expenses. Check out other ways to save on food expenses without sacrificing fun or flavour.

At the store, keep an eye out for sales on particular products that are on your list – buy the toilet paper or laundry detergent that are on sale over your regular brands, for example. In the fresh food section, stick to what’s in season and locally available - it’s generally a lot cheaper because it’s more accessible.

Combat impulsive online shopping

Online shopping can be a quick way to drain your bank account. To minimise temptation, unsubscribe from brands’ texts and emails that are regularly in your inbox, tempting you to spend. Review your social media feeds and unfollow the brands that are causing you to make impulsive purchases.

When you do see something you want to buy, save the link in a note on your phone with the plan to buy it later (i.e. in a fortnight!) if your budget allows. You’ll probably find that once the impulse passes, you’ll find you don’t even want it anymore.

Be a savvy shopper

When it comes to shopping, adopt a savvy approach by looking for sales and considering second-hand options. Second-hand marketplaces have never been so easy to access, and thanks to the likes of Facebook Marketplace, the product you’re looking for is likely to be available at a fraction of the price just a little while down the road.

Again, ensure that your purchases are driven by genuine needs rather than impulsive desires. Review your budget and seriously consider whether the purchase is aligned with your goals.

Pack your lunch

Don’t groan. Buying lunch out has never been a budget conscious activity, but with fast delivery services at your beck and call, it’s harder than ever to avoid this temptation. A cheeky lunch-on-the-go that was once $10 has turned into a $25 expense thanks to the delivery fee and increasing cost of living.

Times that by five days a week? Four weeks a month? That’s $500 down the drain each month, at least. Save eating out for special occasions and make lunch at home instead. Even swapping a $15 takeout for a $10 ready meal from the supermarket can make a difference over time.

Step 3: Maximise those savings

Set up a high-interest savings account

Make your money work for you. The money that you’re putting away for a house, holiday, or a work hiatus could be growing faster than you think. Rather than letting it sit in your everyday access account, open a high-interest savings account that rewards and amplifies your growing savings balance.

By setting up a high-interest savings account, you not only earn competitive interest rates, but also create a separate space for your savings, which can be helpful if you find yourself dipping into your savings on the regular.. Find out what type of savings account is right for you.

Consider a term deposit 

Want more bang for your buck? If you’re committed to depositing a certain amount over time and know you’ll be leaving it in there for between three months and two years (or longer), a term deposit can help you maximise these savings.

The interest rate for term deposit accounts is generally higher than that of regular savings accounts because you commit to keeping your money deposited for a specific period.

Maximise super contributions

Long-term financial planning involves making the most of opportunities like maximising your superannuation contributions. Regularly review your super strategy and consider making additional contributions to help secure a comfortable (and if you’re lucky, early!) retirement. The maximum amount you can currently pay into your super each year without any tax deficit is $27,500 and the compounding effect of this investment in your future self could help make the most of your money.

Building good financial habits is an ongoing process that requires commitment and discipline. By incorporating these practical tips into your daily life, you can save smarter, not harder, and pave the way for a financially secure future.  Explore BCU’s savings and deposits accounts to optimise your savings strategy and take advantage of the tools available to enhance your financial wellbeing.

Important information

Banking and Credit products issued by Police & Nurses Limited (BCU) ABN 69 087 651 876 AFSL/Australian Credit Licence 240701. Any advice does not take into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Read the relevant Product Terms and Condition, before acquiring this product in considering and deciding whether it is right for you. The Target Market Determination (TMD) for products is available on request. Lending criteria, terms & conditions, fees & charges apply.