I’ve never been great at saving money. While my friends save to travel Europe, buy their first car or just to have some general financial security, I’m always sucked into buying things in sales that I never really use (hello, smoothie maker from Myer Boxing Day sales). In an attempt to make 2017 the year I become a legitimate adult, I’ve tried a range of saving ‘hacks’ to try and make my bank balance less terrifying – to varying degrees of success.
Money saving apps
There are a range of apps that help you keep track of your money. I’ve tried a few but my personal fave is Pocketbook. It can securely connect directly to your bank account and record every transaction you make, which you can then sort into different categories to see where most of your money is going. I found I was spending a ridiculous amount on coffees on campus, and I quickly forced myself to cut back. The best bit about this app is the passive aggressive weekly emails they send you if you go over budget – nothing like a bit of guilt to make you stop spending.
Basically this hack involves picking categories of your life (e.g. food or going out) and setting up envelopes with a weekly or monthly budget for each category. The budget can be a physical envelope filled with cash, or an app like Goodbudget which sets up electronic envelopes with a limit. Once the envelope is empty, that’s it – you can’t spend any more money on that category. I found this hack difficult to stick to, particularly because plans come up quickly and things like grocery shops vary between weeks, but I’m sure it could work quite well for someone more organised than me.
Hiding cash from yourself
If you’re dreadful at remembering where you’ve hidden the money like me, this ancient hack is super effective! Finding a $50 note you forgot about is like a gift from past you to present you. If you’re worried about losing the money in the depths of your room forever, try one of those cheap money boxes from a $2 shop that require a can opener to get at your money.