Money-saving-tips-2

Throwback Thursday: 5 Ways to Look A Million Dollars On a Budget

October 8, 2013

Is it possible to look a million dollars on a shoestring budget? Money expert Kerry Lotzof gives her top tips for frugal fashionistas.

Stylist to the stars Rachel Zoe is known for her chic fusion of high end designer fashion with vintage touches and quirky second-hand accessories.  You may not have Rachel’s budget, but by channelling her open minded approach to style you can put together fashion forward looks that won’t empty your bank account.

Whether you take inspiration from Dita Von Teese’s impeccable retro look or mix it up like Kate Bosworth, with her irreverent combinations of high and low fashion, these tips will help you build an enviable wardrobe for a lot less than you’d think.

1. Shop like a collector

Stop thinking about yourself as a shopaholic and start thinking of yourself as a collector. Once you’ve got all your basics covered an item that looks “ok” shouldn’t be enough to have you reach for your wallet. If a new piece doesn’t move you and make you want to wear it every single day, put it back on the rack. Collectors wouldn’t spend on something second rate or ill fitting and neither should you. Whether you’re shopping at Target or Chanel, keep an eye on the detail and make designers work for your hard earned.

Spending time at vintage fairs, flea markets and second hand stores in posh neighbourhoods can yield amazing finds like immaculate vintage dresses and unwanted Ferragamo or Bally heels for less than $10. You can also check out what’s available online through Etsy and eBay, and mix it up with high street basics and the odd designer splurge. Behaving like a collector (and the fussier the better) will give you an inimitable style and ensure your closet doesn’t fill up with unloved impulse purchases.

2. Designer crush? Find it cheaper online

If you’ve fallen in love with a designer piece that’s a must-have budget breaker, take a deep breath before you swipe – a quick coffee with your smartphone to shop the item out online can save you hundreds of dollars. You’ll be surprised what current fashions can be found in as-new form for a fraction of the price. Savvy fashionistas treat stores as a place to look and try then go home to buy online.

3. Coupons – not just for grandma

Today, coupon websites like retailmenot.com.au and Ozbargain.com.au are making it ridiculously easy to take your fashion dollar further. Don’t swipe your card or proceed to checkout ever again before checking if there’s a coupon for what you’re about to buy. A 30 second search can bring up coupons for things like free delivery and loyalty gifts, and anywhere between $5 and 75% off your fashion purchases. On average, retailmenot.com.au customers find a way to save $20 from a quick visit to the site and most retailers will accept them at the counter as well as online.

4. Make sure your shopping loyalty is actually being rewarded

How you pay can make a big difference to how rewarding your purchase is. The bad news for loyal ‘points collectors’ is that the goalposts keep moving. In fact, Mozo recently found that over a third of rewards cards now lose you money, charging higher annual fees than can realistically be earned each year in rewards. If you’re spending less than $17,000 a year on your rewards card it’s probably not working in your favour meaning you’d be much better off with a low fee credit or debit card. The fastest way to find out if your card is eating into your fashion budget is to jump on mozo.com.au and see how your card compares. If you aren’t getting a good deal, be ruthless – a better card means less fees and more shoes!

5.  Swap, sell, up-cycle

Most of us only use about 10% of our wardrobes, throwing on the same easy favourites every day and neglecting a growing pile of barely-worn impulse purchases. If you don’t love an item, think about swapping it, selling it or up-cycling. If you have friends the same size as you, organise a closet swap to freshen up your look, or pop unwanted items on eBay and free up the cash (and closet space) for new stuff you really want. Also if you’re handy with needle and thread a little embellishment can go a long way, turning a neglected T-shirt or cardi into a compliment generator.

Kerry Lotzof, a.k.a. “The girl in the green” is a vintage fashion addict and writer, covering lifestyle and finance topics for comparison site mozo.com.au, Australia’s money saving zone.

April 30, 2015

Given Your Credit Card A Good Workout?

Yep, looks like most of us are in for a heck of a festive season credit card statement again! The Reserve Bank has quoted that we racked up a cool $18 Billion over last year’s festive season and this year is shaping up to top that. They also revealed, $50 billion in credit card debt is being paid off by 15 million Australians. Glad I’m not paying that hefty sum off on my own!

So what are we going to do about it? Let’s get real, we’re probably just going to keep spending, hey. Luckily, there‘s an Aussie company out there, called RateSetter who are the first and only company in our fine land, who provide peer-to-peer leading to everyday Aussies.

These guys actually want to help us by reducing interest rates for festive season spending and have provided some quirky and entertaining financial tips to downsize your debt. Imagine a January credit card statement of zero! Sounds too good to be true, but Ratesetter reckon their financial fitness plan will steer you in the right direction.

‘Weigh yourself’ to assess how financially (un)healthy you are

Take a minute to assess your financial health. Be realistic with yourself to determine the health of your finances. Will your wallet benefit from some fin-tervention? Often, the first step to financial recovery is acknowledging the state of your debts.

Trade in your personal trainer for a financial planner

Consulting an independent professional before undertaking a new financial regime is a worthwhile investment in your long-term financial health plan. Get someone to cast an expert eye over the big picture of your financial fitness – including your credit card debt – and you’ll find that you can put their in-depth knowledge and professional skill to work.

Take a finance detox and stay away from ‘junk food’

Whilst it’s called the ‘silly season for a reason, consider detoxing your wallet by cutting out non-essentials like take away food, bottled water and that daily coffee. It’s amazing how much small purchases we all consume, actually mounts up to over a year.

Get finance app friendly

Take advantage of the many free budgeting apps available on smartphones and tablets. These are perfect tools for those who want a little daily assistance to keep on track.

Making sure that ‘hidden calories’ aren’t blowing out your financial diet

Are your interest rates sabotaging you? If you’re struggling to get back in the black, it might be time to review what your credit cards are really doing to your financial diet. Try considering ‘healthier’ alternatives to credit cards, such as a peer-to-peer personal loan where you get to determine your own preferred rate. You can consolidate your credit card debt and pay lower interest rates with a peer-to-peer loans.

Sounds almost achievable hey? So if you want more information on peer-to-peer loans to reduce your festive season debt and to get some home grown, Aussie financial advice check out RateSetter.com.au.

Image via google images

January 6, 2015

Money Saving Tips For Families

Since the Federal Budget was announced last month, families have been left feeling short changed and everyone is searching for ways to save money wherever they can.  Some savings can seem so insignificant but when you add that to all of the other money you can salvage, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much more money you have in your pocket.  

Buy second-hand or borrow from friends

Especially when it comes to new baby items, think about buying them second hand or borrowing from friends if you’ll only be using them for a short period of time.  A lot of second hand items have only been used a handful of times and you’ll be paying a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Sell unused items that you no longer need

Getting rid of those baby items that are collecting dust in the cupboard is an easy way to put some extra money back in your pocket.  If you find your house needs a general clean out, consider a garage sale – you’ll be surprised at what you think is junk, is actually someone else’s treasure.

Shop at markets and buy home brands at the supermarkets

Fruit and vegetables are generally cheaper if you can purchase them from farmers markets rather than supermarkets.  When you do shop at the supermarket purchase the home brands which are generally cheaper than the well-known brands and are almost identical in quality.

Shop around for suppliers

When your insurance products come up for renewal, shop around to see if you are getting the best value for money.  While you’re at it, check on your home loan, electricity, phone, internet and gas suppliers.

Buy non-perishables in bulk

Look out for specials and buy non-perishable items such as nappies and wipes in bulk where possible.  Think twice about buying fruit and vegetables in bulk though as sometimes they tend to go off before you’ve had a chance to use them and that’s just money going straight into your rubbish bin.

Layby for Christmas/birthdays

Be organised early and start a layby for those big Christmas or birthday presents.  Taking a small amount out of your income each week is far easier to manage than shopping last minute for expensive items.

Sign up to a toy library

Toy libraries are a great way to get new toys, books or educational resources for your children without having to purchase them.  For a fee you can hire the items for a set amount of time then return them for new ones once you are finished with them.

Buy a water purifier

If you’re buying a large bottle of water every day, over the course of the year it could cost you around $1500.  Consider purchasing a water purifier at a fraction of the cost which you can use time and time again.

Buy a coffee machine

Again, if you’re paying $5 for a takeaway coffee every day (which doesn’t even include those extra shots) it equates to $1825 each year.  The cost of purchasing a basic espresso coffee machine and some ground coffee will normally work out considerably cheaper in the long run.

Use a piggy bank

Some people think piggy banks are only for children – not true!  Each week put your loose change into a piggy bank and after a year you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the hundreds of dollars you’ve saved within. 

Image via thinkglink.com/2013/02/26/10-simple-easy-ways-save-money/

By Karyn Miller

June 4, 2014

How to Set and Cost Your Financial Goals

Get yourself in position to achieve your financial dreams in 2014 with these money saving tips from this extract from money mentor Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan.

Years ago, I heard a quote from supermodel Kate Moss that really stuck in my mind. When asked how she maintained her fabulous figure, she (more or less) replied: “It’s easy – you just have to want to be slim more than you want that piece of cheesecake, or that chocolate bar etcetera.”

The quote resonated with me because the same technique works for fabulous finances – it is easy to reach your longed-for money goals, you just have to want them more than you want those shoes, or that perfume etcetera.

I have a theory any of us is capable of spending any amount of money. I distinctly remember getting my very first pay cheque from my $24,000 a year job as a cadet journalist – and wondering how I was ever going to spend all that cash! Guess what? I managed it, and have been managing it ever since.

Think about how much, after tax, you currently earn a year (if you don’t know this figure, grab a calculator and multiply your after-tax weekly, fortnightly or monthly pay by 52, 26 or 12 respectively). Now, estimate how much you might have earned in your working life. What do you have to show for all this money?

If the answer is not much, there’s a fair chance you struggle to resist spending your whole pay packet. But here’s the thing – anything you manage to save now, you will get to spend later. In fact, this will ensure there is something left to spend later. It’s not about blanket denial but about deferred spending. And I’d venture you’ll enjoy more what you work for, and look forward to, anyway.

Top Tip Tute: Is micro-spending ruining your future?
Find out in my video.

So it’s time to start dreaming; I always say you need strong motivation to resist instant gratification. Busting out of debt, if you have any, should be your top money priority. But think too about the fun stuff you want in the short, medium and long term:

The next one to two years: 

For example, an overseas trip. Does a friend have an upcoming wedding in Thailand next year? Maybe you fancy a more expensive, longer sojourn the following year? (NEVER use credit for something for which you’ll have nothing to show afterwards but photos). On the sensible side, other goals during this timeframe might be to pay off a credit card and/or a personal loan.

The next three to five years: 

Is your car going to need replacing within this period? If so, you’ll need to start planning to meet the expense (NEVER borrowing for a depreciating asset, one that will fall in value). Or perhaps you would really like a new kitchen.

Five years and beyond:  

The ultimate goal – for all of us – should be to ensure by the time we retire that we have repaid at least our Very Bloody Bad Debts (my term for nasty personal debt that earns you no income) and that our income will be adequate when we stop work. Remember, the money employers are required to pay into your super fund is unlikely to be enough to sustain you for the whole of your retirement. So in this category you could include repay the mortgage and build a nice little nest egg.

Next, make a list like the following of these most-desired money goals. Write beside each one the date on which you would like to achieve it. Then put an estimate of what the goal will cost and how many pays there are until your target date. For example, if the target date is three years away and you are paid fortnightly, multiply 3 (years) x 26 (the number of fortnights a year). Finally, divide the cost by the number of pays to find the amount you have to put aside each pay.

Short-term goals (1-2 years)

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Medium-term goals (3-5 years)

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Longer-term goals (5 years+)

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Top Tip Tute: How can I stop micro-spending?

Scrimping and saving is not much fun but it can yield fantastic results. The trick is to make your goals specific and terrific: A trip to Fiji… A paid-off house by January 2020… Retirement five years before you can get at your super… Now that’s worth holding some back.

And make like Kate Moss and skip the cheesecake and you’ll find yourself in great shape, in more ways than one, earlier still.

This is an edited extract from Nicole Pedersen-McKinnon’s new 12-Step Prosperity Plan, available exclusively on TheMoneyMentorWay.com. Together with a fully-customisable prosperity tracking tool, it forms a money makeover system that is delivered 100 per cent online and accessible to all. 

Nicole is the founder of TheMoneyMentorWay.com and developer of the 12-Step Prosperity Plan, an achievable and even enjoyable blueprint to take Aussies from worry to wealthy. Nicole’s writing has earned her top personal finance awards in both the United Kingdom and Australia. Her career credits include founding and editing The Australian Financial Review’s Smart Investor magazine, and reporting and editing for the magazine arm of the UK’s Financial Times. Author, qualified financial adviser and Fairfax’s Money Matters columnist for the last decade, Nicole is a regular on television and radio. She talks money without the mumbo jumbo. Follow her on Twitter @NicolePedMcK.

January 23, 2014

5 Ways to Get Your Finances in Order (For Good!)

Most of us resolve to get our finances in order at the start of a new year (along with our diet, health, relationships…) but how many of us see that through? Well, maybe this is the year you take control and whip your finances into shape.

While growing your savings is no easy feat, a little bit of careful planning, teamed with a strategic budget, can go a long way towards helping you reach your financial goals in 2014 and beyond, whether that be paying off your credit card debt,  reducing your mortgage, or saving for a holiday or your first home.

Mortgage Choice spokesperson Jessica Darnbrough offers a few money saving tips and real-life pointers to help us stick to our financial goals this year.

1. Avoid unnecessary extras and costs
Evaluate your regular outgoings and identify any unnecessary costs which you can cut down or cut out. Cutting back on guilty pleasures like takeaway coffees, Friday night takeaway or premium television packages can lead to significant savings in the long term.

2. Think small when budgeting
Planning ahead with your finances for a full year can be daunting, and ultimately, ineffective. Instead, budget monthly or in accordance with the length of your pay period. This will allow you to amend your budget fairly quickly if you over overestimate or underestimate certain expenses.

3. Update your savings account
Research the benefits offered by savings accounts across various financial institutions. Switching banks and opening a new account with a lending institution that offers lower fees and higher interest rates will allow you to save more in less time.

4. Pay off and cancel your credit card
Credit card interest rates are notoriously high. Constant use without complete payment at the end of the month can lead to significant debt. Many people get stuck using a credit card and struggle to break the cycle as interest continues to accrue. Make paying off your credit card a priority early in the year, and cancel it as soon as possible. Debit cards are an ideal alternative, providing a similar level of protection for online and over the phone purchases, without the significant interest rates.

5. Compare to find a better deal
You may be paying more than is necessary on your home loan, insurances, utility bills, etc. Comparing your options via your mortgage broker or websites such as HelpMeChoose.com.au can help you find the best deal suited to your needs and save you money in the process.

For more budgeting tips and home loan options visit www.mortgagechoice.com.au.

What are your best money savings tips? Share them in the comments!

January 13, 2014