How to embrace your spending personality and still save
There’s no doubt about it, Australia is a nation that loves to spend. According to ASIC’s MoneySmart, we spent over $20 billion indulging our love of fashion, $1.6 billion on our caffeine addiction and a surprising $450 million on pet pampering in 2016 alone.
But with household budgets needing to stretch more and more just to cover the basics, there are simple strategies every Australian can adopt to become smarter spenders. So whether you’re a self-confessed splurger or bargain hunter, find your spending personality match below and the steps you can take to save.
Would you rather save up for a seriously good pair of $450 boots rather than compromise on a cheaper alternative? Well you might just be a high roller. While there’s no doubt that your dedication to quality over quantity can pay off in the long term, especially if those boots end up lasting a lifetime, you might find that these infrequent (yet costly) purchases end up racking up a quite a debt on your credit card.
Fear not though, because you don’t have to give up your love of luxury to become a savvy spender. The solution may be as simple as timing your spend. Given that you’ve already got the patience to save up in the first place, why not use that to your advantage by vowing to spend big only when anything you want to buy comes on sale.
Find yourself checking your credit card points balance more often than your bank account? Well it sounds like you may be a bit of a rewards lover.
Rewards points earning programs can be a great bonus to your everyday spending, but if you’re reaching for a credit card more often than you should be, or you’re not getting the same value for your spend that you once were, it could be worth reassessing.
You don’t have to give up the rewards you earn by spending, but it may be time to weigh up whether or not your rewards credit card is the right match for you. The best way to do this is by comparing your annual card fee and any interest you’re paying with the value you’re getting from your points, and then making the switch to a better value deal if you’re not satisfied.
Look forward to the Boxing Day sales more than Christmas Day itself? There’s no doubt about it, you’re a bargain hunter.
While you’ve probably grabbed more than a few great deals over the years, you’ve likely experienced your fair share of buyer’s remorse too – on the ‘bargains’ that didn’t quite deliver in terms of quality, or the sales which frankly weren’t sales at all.
Plan, plan, plan. Make sure that when you head into the chaos of the sales, you do so armed with a pre-planned list of items you genuinely need. Or if you’re taking advantage of online sales, conduct your own research beforehand by tracking the price history of any items you’ve got your eye on so you know that you’re getting a genuine bargain.
Does every trip to the supermarket end with groceries in your pantry and some (unplanned) new jeans in your wardrobe? If that sounds like you it’s possible that you’re a splurger, and while there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself, your free-spending spirit may be giving your credit card a bigger work-out than you’d like.
You may have found it tricky in the past, but budgeting really is going to be your best friend. Whether it’s with an online budgeting tool or pen and paper, setting up a realistic budget and then allocating yourself a weekly or monthly amount to treat yourself with could be the best way to keep your splurges to a minimum.
About the author: Kirsty Lamont is a Director at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She is passionate about helping Australians get a better money deal and helping them make better, more informed choices.