27 September 2023

Tiny money steps to take right now

Start the conversation

Kelly Simpson* shares 10 things people can do right now that might get them closer to their financial goals.

How might you achieve your financial goals when money’s tight and you can’t see your situation changing?

Here are some inexpensive tips and tricks that might help.

  1. Rename your bank accounts

One easy way to nurture your savings is to connect with them on an emotional level.

It sounds absurd, but would you rather save for your house deposit in:

a) My savings account, or

b) My Waterfront Apartment account?

Would you find it harder to make an early money withdrawal from:

a) My savings account, or

b) My Post-COVID-19 Trip To Japan account?

You get bonus points for specificity. Being specific is the first step to making your goal SMART.

It could also mean you’re less likely to withdraw money out of a particular account, unless you really need to.

  1. Set up an automatic transfer or investment

Out of sight, out of mind.

Is it time to set up an automatic transfer into your, er, Post-COVID-19 Trip To Japan account, or for your longer term investment goals, begin a Spaceship Voyager investment plan?

The beauty of automation is that you can set and forget it.

Saving $20 a week before you even see it can add up to more than $1,000 within one year, without you even noticing.

Investing that money could grow it even bigger, too, (although there’s always a risk it will lose value).

  1. Increase your savings rate by 10 per cent

Let’s say you’re regularly saving $20 per week. Could you spare an extra 10 per cent and turn it into a weekly $22 deposit?

By the end of the year this small change could add more than $100 to your bottom line.

A percentage increase becomes more dramatic with larger amounts.

Increasing a weekly $100 savings deposit to $110 per week, for example, would grow your money by more than $500 extra per year.

If you’re investing, the returns could be even greater again (or, as for the above, there’s always a risk of your investment losing money).

  1. Schedule reminders to track your wealth

Create a simple spreadsheet in Excel or Google Sheets to track your savings and investments.

It can help you focus on the positives.

Seeing your wealth grow over time could give you the boost you need to stay the course — especially as it’ll help you see how far you’ve come.

Tracking your investments could also help you feel more comfortable with the ups and downs of the market.

We don’t suggest ignoring your bills and expenses, but having a dedicated place to track your progress is important, too.

  1. Create some more friction

It’s easier than ever to buy things. Amazon held the patent for the 1-click order button from 1999 until 2017.

It licensed its technology to Apple, who used it in iTunes and the App Store.

Put simply, this tiny button meant customers could buy things using just one click.

The patent expired and now all tech companies can use it.

The easier it is to buy something, the more likely it is you’ll buy it.

The good news is you can flip the principle and make it work for you.

Add some barriers to entry for the things you waste your money on.

Too much meal delivery? Delete the app. Spending too much on online gaming? Remove your payment details from websites.

The more steps there are between your money and the ‘buy’ button, the more time you have to rethink your purchase.

  1. Check your calendar

Ever have ‘one of those nights’? Some of the greatest nights can come completely unexpected – which means they can have unexpected impacts on your budget.

Take a quick look at your calendar and see the financial events you have coming up. Bills, birthdays and brunches all count here.

Being aware of your upcoming events might help you be smarter about short-term purchases.

  1. Pay yourself first

This is one you may have heard about already. It’s essentially a change to your mindset.

Maybe you currently save whatever’s left over at the end of your pay cycle.

By paying yourself first, you make it your first priority to pad out your savings account as soon as you get paid.

Then you can spend whatever’s left over. It could take some getting used to, but it could have a real impact.

  1. Unsubscribe from email lists or unfollow social media accounts

If you find yourself a little too susceptible to an Aldi Special Buy or something great from Kmart, reduce their access to you. Unsubscribe from email newsletters and unfollow social media accounts that lead to you spending money.

It might be a helpful break for your mind and your wallet.

  1. Get some exercise

A walk outside costs nothing and can result in decreased anxiety, depression, and negative moods, while improving self-esteem and cognitive function.

This means you may make better decisions, and feel better about the future — your finances included.

Plus, if you make it a habit, you’ll likely save on medical expenses down the track.

  1. Listen to a podcast or read a book

At Spaceship we think intellectual wealth is an important part of financial wealth, and growing it can be as easy as listening to a finance podcast, or picking up a personal finance book.

Which of these steps will you do right now to get closer to achieving your financial goals?

The beauty of making a small change is if it doesn’t work for you, you haven’t lost anything— but if it does, the benefits could just be outsized.

*Kelly Simpson is a contributor at Spaceship.

This article first appeared at spaceship.com.au.

Start the conversation

Be among the first to get all the Public Sector and Defence news and views that matter.

Subscribe now and receive the latest news, delivered free to your inbox.

By submitting your email address you are agreeing to Region Group's terms and conditions and privacy policy.