There are a lot of reasons why you could need to build up your savings account quickly. Maybe your best friends have just invited you on a trip or your car could need some much-needed TLC. Luckily, there are some fun ideas on how you can save money fast, avoid getting into debt and stop spending money when you don't need to.
We've split our tips to save money into categories. Why not pick one from each and start today!
1. Stock up your desk with food
The office vending machine is everyone's friend when it hits 3pm. That afternoon sugar rush to get you through to home time is a ritual that lots of us can't live without. However, that $5 on a can of soft-drink and bag of chips quickly adds up over the week. Instead, load up your desk full of healthy snacks. Eating a piece of fruit with a cup of tea will be a lot cheaper, and your body will thank you for it too!
2. Plan and cook bulk meals
Food is something we need daily, so we aren't going to tell you to start skipping meals. It's simple: when it comes to saving money on food though, avoid buying breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. Put those hours watching cooking shows to good use and start cooking your own meals and preparing them in advance. Also, cook in bulk where possible. Make a mega serve of lasagne or large pot of pumpkin soup on a Sunday afternoon and pack it for the start of the week. Home cooked meals are healthier, cheaper and make good Instagram posts!
3. Always make a grocery list, and never shop hungry
How many times have you gone shopping hungry and come out with a pack of finger buns you don't really need? Don't go to the supermarket hungry or without a list. No matter how tasty or how cheap it is, if it's not on your list, it's not getting in the basket.
1. Have house partiesYes, we know a night in is not as exciting as heading out with mates, but have you thought of bringing the fun home? Instead of paying for overpriced cocktails and food, set up house parties with friends. Everyone can take a turn hosting, so you're not always stuck with the clean up.
2. Go alcohol free
This will be a tough one for some, but a month off alcohol could mean a huge addition to the savings account. You'd be surprised how much money you can save when you replace those $20 espresso martinis with a glass of water. To make it easier, why not do a challenge with friends or raise money for charity? Try for 30 days and see what benefits there are to your savings account and health. Having a month off alcohol every six months could form part of your long-term savings plan.
3. Visit nature
Waking up early with no hangover now means you have some extra time on your hands. Why not use this to get out in nature? Visit the local conservation or national park and enjoy a morning hike or jog. Take the dog for an extra long walk or simply grab a book and head down to the beach. Getting out in nature on the weekends is free and will also be good for your mindset, recharging you for the week ahead.
Rent it, borrow it… just don't buy it
1. Visit a library
Yes, they still exist. You might have last visited a library in your high school days, but if there's one near you make the most of it! Buying books and renting movies online is exciting but can soon get expensive. Borrowing books and movies from your local library isn't expensive. Sometimes it is free, and the environment will thank you too.
2. Clothes for special occasions
Receiving an invite to a special occasion that requires a new outfit in the middle of your savings sprint can be stressful. Do you break your budget and buy a new outfit or make an awkward excuse not to attend? Don't stress, there is a third option – hire your outfit. If it's a dress or a suit there are numerous online stores that now hire out clothes, so you can still turn heads at your next special occasion.
3. Use your network
Need some power tools to do a little DIY around the house? Don't go out and buy a tool you will only need once. Hit up your friends on social media to see if they have what you need. You'd be surprised what your mate's dad has lying around his shed. Grab a small gift as a thanks (you don't want to be known as that guy or girl) and you'll probably get some mates offering to help you, turning your solo DIY project into a good day with friends.
1. 30 day rule
The 30 day rule is a simple tip that helps you avoid spending and is one of the best ways to save money. It basically instructs you to wait 30 days (yes it might seem like an eternity) before you purchase something you like. By doing this, you will give yourself enough time to see if you can live without the purchase and remove impulse spending.
2. Unsubscribe from those sales emails
Remove temptation and unsubscribe from the hundreds of special, exclusive, limited time only emails you receive every week. Once you see something you like, it'll probably lead you to think about it and buy it. Hit the unsubscribe button and remove temptation.
3. Don't visit websites of online stores
Bored at work and want to scroll the online sale your friend mentioned to you last night? This quickly turns to your online shopping cart being filled with items you probably don't need and with the simple press of a button you have made a purchase. Stay away! Listen to a podcast, read up on the latest news or pick up the phone and call your mum. It'll be much cheaper.
1. Have two no-spending days per week
We didn't say this would be easy. Pick two days a week where you won't spend any money. Pick days that make sense and then make these your no-spending days. This could mean you bring leftovers to work, walk home and enjoy a book you have borrowed from the library. If you get used to this, it could lead to less spending on other days of the week.
2. Declutter and sell, sell, sell
If your savings goal is important to you then you are going to have to make some sacrifices. Go through your wardrobe or the 12 boxes labelled 'don't throw out' in your parents' shed and get the items you don't use anymore. Ok, there will be some junk, but you might find items that could be useful to other people. Put them online and start selling.
3. Set a goal and enjoy the achievement
Ok, this sounds a bit boring but setting a savings goal gives you focus and allows you to measure your progress. If you need funds for a holiday, establish how much you need and when by. Remember to reward yourself along the way. A glass of wine with your favourite takeaway meal once you've reached a key milestone will keep you motivated to save money. When you finally arrive at your holiday destination, enjoy it!
When it comes to savings you may also be required to give up some important things for the time being. This could be the gym membership, footy tickets or going to see your favourite band. What's important to remember is the goal you've set and why you started your savings plan. Living on a budget for a short term can lead to better spending habits in the long run, which may mean you won't need to save money fast next time.