You know how the saying goes; the earlier you start the better off you’ll be. Even if you’re only just starting to think about or just have aspirations to one day own your own home, there are things you can do now to improve your financial behaviour and get smarter with your money. Then, when the time comes and you’re ready to invest in some real estate, you will be better prepared and in a more financially comfortable position.

Here are just a few good spending habits you can apply to your everyday routine:

 

  1. Have here or take away? How about have at home!

In 2016, the average take away cappuccino in Canberra cost around $3.60 – if on your way to work each morning you stopped to buy a coffee from your local coffee shop, that’s roughly $1317.60 you would have spent on coffee for the year. Imagine the interest you could have earned if even a portion of that had made its way into your savings account instead.

Now let’s not be totally unrealistic; telling you to cut the coffees completely is not the way forward (especially with Canberra being the coffee-lovers capital of Australia!) so how about you set yourself a limit. Cut down to 1 or 2 bought coffees a week, and the rest of the time make your coffee at home and take it with you. Invest in a good quality coffee machine – it’ll look great in your new house!

 

  1. Save your pay, don’t spend it

Whether you’re paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly, when your pay hits the bank account usually it goes right back out again paying rent, groceries, phone bills; once that’s all taken care of, there might a portion left over for that new designer handbag you spotted on the weekend. And then after that, whatever is left over makes its way into your savings account. Was it as much as you’d hoped?

Maybe it’s time to take a new approach – instead of making an impulse purchase, take the money that you would have spent and put it straight into your savings, wait a few weeks and once its earned a bit of interest, take another look at that handbag and think again about how badly you need it. You never know, it might be discounted!

 

  1. Flick the switch – or the provider

It’s the hot topic at the moment. Gas, water, electricity – we all need them but they come at a price, a pretty big one. If you aren’t doing it already, it’s always a good idea to do some shopping around and compare your current service with other offers and providers. Get into the habit of doing a comparison every few months. It’s also worthwhile keeping an eye on your usage. You’d be amazed how much you can save by cutting shower times, turning off or unplugging appliances you aren’t using. The small savings you make on your utilities can mean more going towards that dream home.

 

  1. Plastic’s fantastic! Or is it?

Ever been late on a credit card payment? Hurts, doesn’t it?

Making sure you pay your credit card off on time is one of the most obvious money saving tips you’ll ever hear; you’d be amazed just how many people don’t do it. This is perhaps the most obvious – if you can get rid of it. If you’re in a position where you can pay your bills and make payments without the use of a credit card then do it.

For those aren’t so lucky, that’s OK. Here are some easy ways that you can cut down your credit card use and only use it when you have to:

  • Leave the credit card at home – put it in a drawer, put it in a safe place that is NOT your wallet and only use it when you need to.
  • Remove your credit card details from your online shopping accounts (this is especially helpful if you find yourself being a bit of an impulse shopper!)
  • Additionally – why not talk to your credit card provider, especially if you’ve been making your payments on time, you have some power to negotiate a better interest rate.

 

  1. Take advantage of the sharing economy

Sharing resources isn’t a new concept, but in the last few years the sharing economy has reached new heights; ride sharing, shared ownership, crowdfunding, recycling, renting, co-creating and collaborating. These are all part of an ecosystem built around the sharing of resources that is not only good for the environment and the population, but is also a great way to save money.

Have a spare bedroom that you’ve been using for storage? Great – go through whatever it is you’re storing, work out what you want to keep and with what you don’t, sell it! Have a garage sale, post it on eBay or Gumtree, take what you no longer need and make some money out of it. Then look for a roommate, share the rent and save yourself a few dollars a month.

Have to pay for parking when you’re at work? No problem! Ask around the office, work out who lives near you and suggest carpooling. The more passengers you can get, the more each of you will save on petrol and parking.

Remember every dollar counts! Sometimes just managing what you spend on the little things can make a big difference in the long run.

 

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