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BSB 806 015
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& My money

Saving towards a goal: budgeting tips to help

Young couple inside their new home

Millennials are often targeted in the news for wasting money on things like takeaway coffees and avocado on toast, while Gen Z are apparently spending all their money on products that they’ve seen advertised on TikTok. Whether those generalisations are true or not, building up some savings is something that everyone, of any age, will benefit from.

So, how do you go about saving for the bigger things in life? If you're saving for a house, for example, that can be tens of thousands of dollars – and it can seem like a saving goal that is a long way off.

To help, we've put together our top tips to show you how to budget to reach your goals without getting overwhelmed or living in misery while you save.

Know exactly what you want

What exactly are you saving for? Not just the big picture ("a house", "a holiday"), but think about the actual details:

  • A trip: How long are you going for and what are the things you must see or do when you’re there?
  • A house: Is it an apartment, a townhouse? Where is it located, the suburbs or near the city centre? How many bedrooms, bathrooms and car spaces does it have?
  • Something else: The same idea applies - write down what your exact goal is, and all the features that are important to you.

When you've got the picture in your head, find out how much it's going to cost or at least estimate a price range.

If you're looking at houses, research those kinds of homes in your area. For a house around $400,000, that usually means aiming for a deposit of $40,000 (10%) to avoid expensive lender’s mortgage insurance. You'll also need to consider the additional costs of buying a home, like stamp duty and other fees on top of your deposit.

Once you know how much you want to spend, decide what your timeline is. This will determine how much you need to put away regularly in your savings account to meet your goal.

Draw up your budget

If you want to increase your savings, having a budget is the best way to do it. From an excel spreadsheet to a mobile app or support from a professional, it helps to have a written plan of how to divvy up your earnings on payday. We have some advice on creating a budget that can help you get started, and we even have a free budgeting calculator you can use, too.

Reviewing your income and bills will make sure you have a realistic view of your disposable income, as well as where you can cut back on spending, and where you may be able to save more. Just the process of creating a budget can help you to think about your finances with a longer-term focus and help you feel more in control.

After the past few years, you may have accumulated some extra ongoing costs, such as delivery services, entertainment subscriptions or higher power bills. When putting your budget together, take some time to review what exactly you still need and if there is anything you can now drop.

Assessing what you really need – and what can be cut back – is an important step in reaching financial goals, and even the smallest of changes can really add up!

Execution

Now that you’ve done the groundwork and got your budget in place, don’t let your effort go to waste. Know your saving strengths and your spending weaknesses. If you're a skilled saver, this might be easy for you but if you're a spender and money burns a hole in your pocket, think about using things like payroll splits or locked down accounts to make it harder to get access to your funds.

The key to successful budgeting long-term is holding yourself accountable and to stay in control of your finances.

For a little boost to your savings, look for higher interest accounts or term deposits to maximise your return and to help you reach your goal sooner. You may also find our account feature Pay&Save helpful to automatically build up your savings – after all, every little helps.

One last thing

Remember to expect the unexpected. If the last few years has taught us anything, it is that you never know what is around the corner. Having a healthy amount of savings set aside for emergencies and unforeseen circumstances can help give you, and your family, a security buffer in uncertain times. If you want to save money for more than one thing, you may find it useful to use the bucket budgeting technique – that way you can save for your main goal, and have something stashed away for when things aren’t necessarily going to plan.

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