1  Check your plans and premiums

Mobile phones, internet, health insurance, life insurance, home insurance.  The list goes on.  All companies update their plans regularly but usually don’t inform their old customers.  If you have been with your service provider for years and years and just paid the bill as it has come it, you could be missing you of savings.  Big savings.  Make some calls, or just check online, and this could literally save you thousands of dollars a year.  Also, remember that most service providers will price match their competitors.  So if you find another company offering the same service for a better price, don’t be shy in calling your provider to ask for a discount.

2. Reinvest

Every little bit helps in the long run.  Yes, shares may not be the best option for reinvesting at the moment, but they are not the only investment.  Look to a high interest bearing investment account and squirrel away a little bit of cash each pay packet. In ten years time, you will be glad you did.

3.  Don’t get slugged with bank fees

Carefully review your bank’s policy about charging its customers for ATM usage, over the counter transactions, even bank charges for sending out a copy of your monthly statement in the mail.  And if you use EFTPOS a lot, check how many free transactions you get a month.  Some banks may give you as few as ten, while others will be unlimited.

4.  Become a savvy shopper

Would you rather be wealthy or shy?  Asking for a discount or a better price is just smart shopping.  The unique combination of Global Financial Crisis, strong dollar and current lack of consumer confidence has created a buyer’s market, so don’t ever be afraid to walk away when making a purchase.  No matter where you are – buying a car or just new sports shoes!  Remember, you can always come back, but you can’t negotiate a lower price once your card has been swiped at the checkout!

5. Become bank smart 

Avoiding bank fees takes a bit of smarts.  To beat bank fees, be honest with yourself and think about your spending habits.  Track yourself for a couple of weeks and note when and how you use your bank cards (both credit and debit).  To change your habits you need to know them first.

Once you know your spending habits, consider if you are wasting transactions.  For example, a simple way to avoid bank fees is to get your weekly cash out when you use EFTPOS at the supermarket – this is two transactions for the price of one.  A caveat here, however, do not do this with a credit card, where the bank will slug you with interest on that cash withdrawal from the date you receive the money (you don’t get an interest free period).

6.  Enforced Savings

A simple but effective saving technique is to set up a direct debit to funnel a percentage of your pay packet straight into your savings account.  If you don’t see the money, you can’t spend it.  Of course, for this tactic to be effective you should not link this savings account to your keycard!  This is a great saving technique for those without the discipline to save on their own.

7. Keep a money diary.

To track how much you are spending, and wasting, keep a money diary.  This works like a food diary, and instead of slimming your waistline, you will fatten up your bank account once you become accountable for every single dollar.  Write down every single cent you spend each day – from bus fare to magazines, chewing gum, right up to telephone bills and mortgage payments or rent.  For many people, the realization of their daily spent is usually enough to reduce frivolous purchases.

8. Become a planner

Forward planning is the cornerstone of a smart saving mindset.  Super savers plan in advance to avoid pressure buys and overspending at the shops.  When you plan in advance you will rarely stray from your budget.  Whether you are purchasing gifts or off to the supermarket, going armed with a list means you will never get distracted by impulse buys and leave with excessive and costly items you do not want or need.

9. Don’t think short term

When you are budgeting or thinking about savings, always think about your yearly save, not just what you are saving today.  For example, by foregoing that latte at lunchtime you may have only saved $4, but add that up over the course of a year and the true saving is $1,040.

10. Use cash only

The big downside of living in a cashless society is that it is hard to keep track of your spending.  So cut up (or put away safely) your credit and debit cards and use only cash.  When you have to hand over real money to pay for things you may get a better sense of your spending, and be inclined to cut back.  As an alternative, make a trip to the ATM only once for cash each week.