30 money-saving ideas you can start today (with FREE checklist)

Are you looking for ways to jump-start your savings?

Whether you're making a fresh start, chasing a big goal, or struggling with the rising cost of living, growing your savings is a smart move.

It might not be easy (at least, at first), but with the right approach and money-saving ideas on your side, you can boost your savings and transform your financial health.

We explore five key money-saving principles and offer a free checklist to help you get started below.

#1 Change your mindset

How do you feel about money? Do you have beliefs about how much money you deserve, or how you should spend it? Are you confident that you can make your financial goals come to life?

The answers to these questions – and others like them – help reveal your money mindset. Your money mindset defines how you think about money and influences how you manage your finances. The power of your mindset is so strong that science shows it can impact your reality. This means that without the right money mindset, you could be left fighting an uphill savings battle.

If you want to grow your savings and turn your life around, forget the numbers (for now) and start by understanding your money mindset. Find out what unhelpful money beliefs you hold, explore where they come from, then look at ways to reframe them to help shift your mindset.

#2 Make a plan

Planning and goal setting are essential when making changes in your life. It helps you connect the dots between where you are today and where you want to be in the future. A plan can become your roadmap of the steps you need to take and help guide your behaviour along the way.

When it comes to saving money, your planning should include tasks such as reviewing expenses, creating a budget, and setting financial goals. Research has shown that people who set goals are more motivated, more confident, and more likely to succeed.

To make your plan, you can use one of the many budget savings apps available to help you get started and keep track of your progress. Apps can include useful features such as tracking, payment reminders, and automatic bank feeds. Another option is to create your own plan using a spreadsheet and schedule reminders to review your progress. Whatever your method, keep in mind that people with specific goals are more likely to succeed.

#3 Reduce expenses

Saving money starts with spending less than you earn. This is why now is the time to review your expenses, understand where you're spending your money, and find ways to maximise your savings.

You can start by recording expenses into different categories such as groceries, bills, and entertainment over a period of time. You'll soon start to see where the bulk of your money is going and what areas are worth cutting back. For example, if groceries are a big weekly expense, a 10% annual reduction will likely save you much more than the odd trip to the movies.

There are different ways you can reduce expenses, including:

  • Swapping to a cheaper alternative
  • Negotiating a better deal
  • Stretching out time between purchases
  • Buying in bulk
  • Sharing expenses

Once you've found ways to cut back, set up an automatic plan to transfer the money saved into your savings account. Ideally, you would do this every time you get paid to avoid the temptation to overspend and eat into your budget.

#4 Find more income

Now that you've tackled one side of the saving money equation, it's time to work on the other side – your income. Because while reducing expenses is important, there is a limit to how much you can cut back before impacting the necessities. On the other hand, there are no restrictions around your opportunity to earn extra income.

Some ideas for quick boosts to income might be:

  • Selling unwanted or unused items on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
  • Using cash rewards programs such as ShopBack or Cashrewards when shopping online.
  • Participating in paid market research from reputable organisations.
  • Pick up gigs on Airtasker such as dog walking, cleaning, or transcribing.
  • Renting out assets such as your granny flat, car space, or baby gear.

While these sources of income can be relatively small, they can add up over time to help you grow your savings faster. They could even serve as inspiration for creating ongoing sources of additional income after you're back on track.

#5 Build habits

The truth is, saving money means putting off what we want today for what we want in the future and for most people, it isn't easy. This is because, as humans, we struggle with what psychologists call the present bias. The present bias is the tendency for people to choose the option that gives them a smaller payoff now vs a larger payoff in the future. It makes us more likely to act on impulse and can stop us from achieving our goals.

To help you avoid instant gratification, build better financial habits, and reach your goals, try some (or all) of these ideas below:

  • Keep focused – Set regular reminders to check in on your future goals to help you stay on track throughout the day. Consider writing your goals down and creating a vision board that you can look at as a regular visual reminder. Take a few minutes to visualise where you want to be and think about how you will feel. Doing this regularly can help you feel closer to the future you, and more likely to resist temptation.
  • Gamify your plan – Gamification involves creating competition around your saving money challenge. You could join forces with a friend or family member, set yourself weekly challenges, or build in small non-financial rewards for hitting smaller goals to help keep your motivation up.
  • Know your weak spots – If you know you have areas you struggle with, spend time identifying your triggers and make a plan to attack them. For example, if you get tempted by sales emails, now is a good time to go unsubscribe to emails and unfollow brands on social media. Another option is to leave online shopping items in the cart and sleep on it before making the purchase.

Tiny steps lead to big changes

Now that you know where to start it's time to take action. And if you're starting over again, have big money goals, or feel like there's a lot you need to change, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. The good news, you can make big things happen by starting small.

The science of behaviour change shows that small changes are easier to put in place, generate less resistance, and create momentum faster. This approach helps you build sticky habits that you can build on and make your new money-saving behaviour easier to stick with. And it's the small things you do every day that have a bigger impact over time than the things you do once in a while.

Getting started

To help kick-start your savings, we've put together a list of the best ways to save below. You could set aside a dedicated time each week to work through the list and implement the changes one at a time. Think about what recommendations are easy wins and which ones will make the biggest difference to your bank balance.


30 smart money-saving ideas

Save on your groceries

1. Go through your pantry and build meals around what you have left over before you buy more (or shop for more).
2. Plan out your meals for the week before you do your grocery shop and stick to the shopping list.
3. Buy fruit and vegetables that are in season.
4. If you get tempted by impulse buys in-store, consider buying online so you can click, collect, and resist the temptation.
5. Find store brand swaps for more expensive brand name items
6. Replace some meat-based meals with plant-based meals.
7. If you have the space, explore growing your own herbs and vegetables at home.

Reduce your bills

8. Review bank fees and interest – get in touch with your bank or lender to see if they will reduce your bank fees and interest rates on any loans.
9. Explore refinancing – compare your fees and interest rates to other banks or lenders and see if refinancing to a lower rate is an option.
10. Compare insurance policies – make a note to compare insurance policies from different providers before they are due. Excess amounts, inclusions, and your past track record can all have an impact on how much you pay for:

a. Health insurance
b. Car insurance
c. Home and contents insurance
d. Life insurance
e. Other insurances

11. Shop around for utilities – find out what plan you're on then contact your provider to see if they have any offers to encourage you to stay. Compare your plan to other providers and check to see if you have any conditions before making the split for:

a. Electricity
b. Gas
c. Internet

Cut down general expenses

12. Review your subscriptions and decide whether you need each service. For those you want to keep, explore free alternatives or switch to a more cost-effective plan. Some examples of subscriptions to review include:

a. TV/movie streaming services
b. Music streaming services
c. Audiobooks or paid podcasts
d. Subscription boxes
e. Health and fitness apps

13. Make your personal grooming dollars stretch further by spacing out appointments, considering DIY options, and switching to a low-maintenance routine.
14. Consider other cost-effective ways to keep your fitness in check. You can replace expensive gym memberships by getting outdoors with a friend, trying online apps, or switching to a lower-cost gym.
15. Reduce your clothing expenses by trying a no-new clothes challenge where you avoid buying anything new for a set period of time. You can borrow and swap with friends, hire clothes for special occasions, or get acquainted with your local op shop.
16. Look at budget-friendly entertainment ideas and see what works for you without feeling like you're missing out. Ideas include picnics at the park, exercising with friends, going on bike rides, checking out free community-based events, and keeping an eye out for deals on sites such as Groupon and Cudo.

Find other sources of income

17. Selling unwanted or unused items on sites such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree.
18. Using cash rewards programs such as ShopBack or Cashrewards when shopping online.
19. Participating in paid market research. 
20. Pick up gigs on Airtasker such as dog walking, cleaning, or transcribing.
21. Renting out assets such as your granny flat, car space, or baby gear.

Resist temptation

22. Unsubscribe to emails, opt-out of text messages, and unfollow the accounts of businesses and brands you don't need to buy from.
23. Buy online where possible and limit in-store visits.
24. Be aware of any emotional triggers that may lead to impulse shopping and find another activity to replace the urge when it hits.
25. Leave online shopping items in the cart until you've slept on it and are sure you want to go ahead.
26. Find an accountability partner that you can check in with regularly to help keep you on track and provide motivation when you need it.
27. Keep a visual reminder of your goals and review them regularly.
28. When you get paid, put your savings into a separate account first before you spend.
29. Set aside regular time to review your budget so you can track your spending and see how you're progressing.
30. Gamify your savings plan by setting yourself challenges, joining forces with a friend, and rewarding yourself for hitting smaller goals.

Download our handy checklist

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