We’d all love a bit more money at the end of the day – and we can achieve having extra dollars in our pockets by one of two ways – earning more money (easier said than done) or scrutinising our spending. Since we can start on the latter as soon as we’ve finished reading this post, we’ve put together some tips and tricks so you can save money – and it doesn’t mean a baked beans diet or shivering over winter!

Do a financial check-up 
There’s a bit of a stigma or reluctance for people to look at their finances – it’s not discussed in polite company, after all. However, if you’re not keeping score you don’t know if you’re winning or losing. Doing a complete audit of your finances – debts, savings, investments, assets, etc. – can give you a platform to work with. You can then make long-term goals to grow your wealth. Click here for a PDF by the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation that helps you complete your own financial check-up.

Set a budget
In the short term, you should set a budget for all your household expenditures. You need to take stock of how much money comes in each month and where it all goes out. By identifying how much goes out, you can set limits on certain luxury or unnecessary expenditures (the third takeaway coffee of the day?) and redirect your money to savings or paying down debts – be it credit cards, car loans, or your mortgage.

Set a savings goal
Saving for the sake of it is tiresome – the point of saving is to reward yourself at the end. It does take discipline and patience, but you can make use of a savings calculator to see how your hard work and sacrifice will grow into a nest egg. Be sure to use high-interest savings accounts that reward you for making regular deposits, micro-investment accounts, or term deposits that outpace inflation.

Audit your subscriptions and utilities
Almost everything is a subscription service – streaming, your mobile, apps, the gym; even boxes of candy from overseas! If you’re paying for subscriptions that you aren’t using or could be found cheaper make the switch. Working from home? Do you need 20GB of mobile data? Is paying for the fastest internet making sense if all you do is email or watch YouTube? If you haven’t compared energy plans in at least 12 months, shop around for plans and you could save on your bills. Your best bet is to use the government comparison site Energy Made Easy.

Opt for low-cost or free family activities
Just because you’re saving, doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Wollongong and the coast is abundant with low-cost or even free family activities – there’s bushwalking, lake and beach visits, exploring markets, and even volunteering for the local RSPCA means you and the kids can interact with animals and wildlife – and help the environment while you’re at it! Take a look at our guide to  feeding the family on a budget, healthy nutritious options for Illawarra locals.

Author: Bill Tsouvalas, Managing director and personal finance expert at Savvy.