Nobody likes being stuck at home. Though, this is the unfortunate reality experienced by most Australians during the ever-evolving COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic. There is an upside to this, however, as it is more difficult to spend money when at home. So, for many Australians, this isolation period has become a prime money-saving opportunity.
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to work from home, now is the perfect time to boost your savings! Need a little inspiration? Well, we have done the brainstorming! Take a look below because Nifty has a few ideas for you.
1. Cut the non-essentials – Now, this is fairly straightforward. If you’re stuck at home and looking to save on some cash, try to cut down non-essential food items and services. This could mean cleaning the pool or trimming the hedges without the help of maintenance services or sticking with the cheaper brands when buying essentials. The little things add up.
2. No travel – If you’re fortunate enough to be able to work from home, you may find that you can start saving money by simply doing that. Working from home. Did you know the average Australian can spend up to $70 per week on fuel or $50 per week on public transport? With travel restrictions in place, all of this extra cash can go straight to your back pocket!
3. Pay down debt – If you’ve managed to save money in other areas, you could use this time to tackle some outstanding debts that you may have. Whether this is a credit card, personal loan or rental account; you could save yourself from paying extra interest or account fees by settling the debts early. If you have multiple outstanding debts, you could use a consolidation loan to simplify your repayments.
4. Avoid online shopping – With all of this extra time on your hands, it is inevitable that you’ll be drawn to online shopping. Let’s be real, window shopping is fun, though it’s important you don’t overindulge! Remember, don’t attempt to cure your boredom with retail therapy. Do you really need those new sneakers? Why not wait? By the time isolation is over, you may find you don’t actually need them.
5. Cook at home – Being stuck at home is the perfect excuse to develop your cooking skills. Not only is it good for the soul, but it’s also good for the bank account! Eating out is expensive, so much so that the equivalent meal at a restaurant can cost up to 4x the price than if it was made at home! So, get in the kitchen and experiment, create, enjoy and save money! With enough effort, you could be a Michelin star chef in no time… probably.
6. Cancel or hold memberships – Memberships are great when you can use the services but quickly become a liability when you can’t. Take gym memberships, for example, gyms and other fitness facilities are expected to remain closed for a minimum of two months. Considering the average membership costs around $65 per month, being out of pocket $130. With this in mind, it might be worthwhile contacting your gym to arrange a possible hold on the payments or an outright cancellation if you don’t intend to head back after they re-open.
7. Grow some veggies – Although not really short term, you could look to save on your grocery bills by starting your very own veggie patch! You could even get the kids involved in this little side-project. With a simple investment, you could be reaping the rewards within a short few weeks! New to gardening? Start with the easy stuff! Carrots, spinach, lettuce and tomatoes are all relatively easy to grow and remain versatile in the kitchen. If you add some herbs and other vegetables along the way, you will have a great yield in no time!
8. Maximise your savings – With this new saving opportunity, you could look to maximise your savings through the use of a dedicated savings account. A dedicated savings account will offer a return on the savings you deposit into it. Granted, it’s not much, as most return rates sit around 1-2% p.a. This can work to compound, though, as the greater your savings balance, the more you will receive in return.
9. Sell some stuff – Now might be the perfect time to do some spring cleaning. Have any clothes you no longer wear? How about some furniture or appliances collecting dust? Well, with the help of the internet, you could turn your unwanted items into extra cash. Facebook, GumTree, eBay and DePop are just a few outlets that come to mind. If you’re feeling extra charitable, you could skip the hassle of selling and simply donate your odds and ends to the local thrift store.
10. Keep track for Tax-Time – If you’re working from home during isolation, it is important that you keep track of your working hours during this period so that you are able to claim the extra expenses when you lodge your tax return. The Australian Taxation Office has made this even easier by introducing a new method which will allow people to claim 80 cents per hour for all their running expenses, this is as opposed to calculating the expenses themselves. This change is optional, though, so if you believe you can claim more by calculating the expenses yourself, you are still welcome to.
And that’s it; just a few ideas to help our fellow Aussies save some money! Found any good ways to save money while isolating or working from home? We’d love to hear about it, share them with us on social media!
If anything could be considered a silver lining during this trying period, the extra time that isolation has awarded us should count for something. Got a passion project you’ve been putting off? Haven’t had the time to truly connect with the fam? Been meaning to exercise? Now is your opportunity to seize the moment!
With the tight structure of a normal 9 to 5, many find that the hobbies they once held dear start to dwindle. Add some children into the mix and what little you-time you had left gets thrown out the window. Well, as we’ve already mentioned, now is the time to re-ignite those old passions! Whether it’s model train building, music-making or video gaming, whatever hobby that makes you happy is worth devoting at least a little of your time.
As ironic as it may sound, forced social distancing has caused some families to become closer than ever! As group video calling has been put into the spotlight, some families have come up with some creative ways connected. Why not try getting the fam in a call for a game of charades? Get Grandma in the call to host a virtual cooking lesson – who doesn’t love Grandma’s lasagna?! Whatever the idea, you’ll feel better connecting with your loved ones.
If you’ve been putting off the thought of exercising, now is the time where excuses stop – come out of isolation as the best version of yourself! Now, this doesn’t mean going all out in a 1,000 calorie ultra workout – that’s insane. Starting to exercise should be like climbing a hill, not a mountain. If you’re a newbie, simply going for a stroll is a perfect starting point. Slowly building off this, while remaining consistent, is the best way to really make a difference in your lifestyle. If you also take a little caution as to what you eat, you’ll be golden!
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Since founding Nifty in 2016, Bell has continued to make waves within the local financial sector for his continued ambition and willingness to adopt emerging technologies.Read More