Between surprise dental costs and car breakdowns, big bills tend to come when you least expect them, and they might make you wish you were more prepared. This is why it’s important to have an emergency buffer for those proverbial rainy days – because they come... eventually.
If you’re intimidated by saving or struggled to make meaningful progress in the past, it’s possible to make it a little less daunting. Here are a few tips for saving and preserving your cash in the event of an emergency, or you know, COVID-19.
1. Don’t bite off more than you can chew.
Get this, spending just $27.39 a day (easily the price of dinner and maybe a coffee) adds up to $10,000 a year in lost savings. It sounds a bit scary when you think of it like that. Putting aside just $10 or $20 per week into your savings is nothing to sneeze at. Little bits add up over time – the important thing is that you just get used to saving. Once you start to see progress, you might realise it’s easier than it looks, and you can gradually start to increase your contributions. Choose a weekly or monthly amount that feels reasonable and achievable then reassess every few months.
2. Pay yourself first.
Have no money leftover at the end of the month? This can happen because you’ve had either a fortnight or a full month since payday to treat yourself. You’re only human, and having money in the bank makes it extremely tempting to spend. The key to curbing this behaviour and not blowing your empty change is depositing your savings as soon as you get paid. That way the money is guaranteed. Plus, it’s a good habit to get into if you always do it on the same day.
3. Don’t spend your “free” cash.
We all have those lucky breaks where we get an extra big birthday cheque from Nan or a generous tax return – some of us even win a Trivia game here and there! When these miraculous things happen, the urge to spend “free money you wouldn’t have had anyways” is incredibly strong. But try to resist. Take the extra money and put it into your savings account instead of buying a third round or pair of shoes that you won’t end up wearing that much anyways. You might just sleep better at night too.
4. Put your spare change to good use.
Chances are you might not be finding as many gold coins buried in the couch as you used to with most of us going fully digital. If you do happen to have some change lying around, finance commentator Effie Zahos recommends trying the ‘Coke Bottle Challenge’. Simply take an empty 600ml coke bottle and pop in $2 coins as you get them. When it’s full you could have up to $800 safely put away.
As for your digital spare change, Wisr App is a fun little tool we created that helps pay down debt by rounding up your daily transactions – but, you guessed it, the app can also be used to save. Check it out here.
5. Just start. Right now.
The most important thing when it comes to saving… is that you start saving! Start slow and keep building. Remember that having emergency savings is not the same as saving for your next weekend away. Make sure you keep your buffer separate from fun because it might really come in handy down the track.