We’re all hoping for a healthy 2021, but a wealthy one sounds pretty good too. Here’s how to make your savings account fatter this year.
1. Buy second-hand instead of new
Before you splurge on that Camilla & Marc blazer, new baby clothes or even that food processor, ask yourself: could you be buying any of it second-hand – or even getting it for free? Facebook Marketplace, online buy/sell/swap groups and eBay have amazing options. (Or, to buy and sell designer fashion, try cool sites like Modsie.) At the start of the year, everyone wants to go all Marie Kondo on their clutter, which means you could snap up an as-good-as-new bargain and do your bit to reduce landfill. And while you’re at it, why not …
2. Sell your old things online
Think outside the (shoe)box: did you know you can sell stuff like cassette tapes, old VCRs and cameras … and even coins? Check out this list of surprising things you might be able to sell online.
3. Pay off your debts
Okay, Captain Obvious here, but you’re not going to be able to save money if you’re still in debt. Is it time to face up to your credit-card debt or any loans you may have? Check out some tips for getting your debt under control here.
4. Dust off your savings account
In an ideal, non-pandemic world, your savings would sit pretty in your high-interest bank account and you’d watch it grow without lifting a finger. But, in 2021, interest rates are so low, your savings aren’t going to be going anywhere. So why not try investing a small amount in the stock market (click here for some beginner’s tips) or even think about buying an investment property? And while we’re on savings: have you set yourself a goal of how much money you want to make, or do you just plonk a bit of cash in there every time you get paid? (Hint: try doing the first one).
5. Become a meal planner
It’s easy to fall in the trap of rushing to Woolies on your way home and chucking that night’s dinner in the trolley, or ordering UberEats because you’re exhausted and had back-to-back meetings. But if you take just 10 minutes on a Sunday to meal-plan for the week ahead – including scheduling in one or two ‘treat’ meals (UberEats, dining out etc), you’ll save a ton and won’t buy stuff you don’t need. Have a quick look in the kitchen and check what food’s expiring soon or what you can make use of in meals, then jump online to see what’s on special at your supermarket and base your meal plan around that. Have a budget for all meals for the week – including any takeaways – and freeze any leftovers or have them for lunch the next day.
6. Switch your health insurance
Is your current policy giving you the best value for money? Are you paying for pesky extras you never use? The insurance experts over at CHOICE say you can save up to $932 a year by switching to a different insurer (that’s a weekend away right there). has a sweet offer for Business Chicks: Premium members get an 8.5% ongoing discount* on health insurance and subscribers get an ongoing 7% discount* on health insurance. All you need to do is:
- Head to their website (click here if you’re a Premium member!) and select the Get a Quote tool for your best-fit cover recommendations – it only takes two minutes
- Choose your new cover from Australian Unity
- Sign up online – make sure to indicate that you’re switching.
That’s it! They’ll organise the rest and contact your existing provider, so you can pat yourself on the back and enjoy those savings. (Oh, and if you’re not a Premium member or subscriber, find out more!)
7. Shop online, watch the cash roll in
Heard of cashback sites but don’t really get how they work? Well, they give you a percentage of your money back when you make a purchase from an online retailer via their site – think retailers like Coles, Woolworths, Target, Myer and David Jones. They’re free to join – Cashrewards is a good one – and, the way we see it, you’ve got nothing to lose and lots of spare change to gain if you were going to buy something online anyway.
8. Want to save? There’s an app for that
There’s a zillion apps out there to help you whip your finances into shape: a few of our faves are Pocketbook, which syncs with your bank account, listing every spend you make and sorting it into categories, so you can see exactly where your money’s going (ahem, daily flat white); Goodbudget, which also links to your bank account and where you can set monthly limits for things such as shopping, groceries and coffee; and Get Reminded, which reminds you when household contracts and bills are set to expire and even shows you cheaper alternatives.
9. Save money on bills
Reviewed your energy plan recently? Us neither, if we’re honest (we were watching Bridgerton for the third time) – but you could be missing out if you don’t. Check out these tips on how to shop around for a better deal, and consider using more energy-efficient appliances or investing in solar. Also consider shopping around for a new phone or internet provider, and think about the bank you use – are you paying more in fees than you have to? Could you switch to a lower-interest credit card?
Nope, haggling’s not something you only do in a Marrakech market; there are some red-hot opportunities to haggle here in Australia – white goods and cars offer the best opportunity to haggle, as do second-hand goods from places like Facebook Marketplace. You can also try negotiating on things such as insurance and mortgages when your contract’s up for renewal or you’re starting a new one. Many of us feel uncomfortable trying to bargain, but there are some great tips for the haggle-shy here.
11. Cancel subscriptions you haven’t used in yonks
If you have more subscriptions to streaming services than you do fingers on one hand, it might be time to say bye-bye to Amazon Prime. Comb your bank account for subscriptions you might have forgotten about, and check your phone to see if there are any apps you’re still paying for.
12. Read ’em and reap
If you’re serious about saving money, put down the Sally Hepworth for a minute and get stuck into some yawn-free finance reads – we love anything by Premium member Melissa Browne (try her latest, Budgets Don’t Work) or Ditch the Debt and Get Rich by Effie Zahos (out 2 February 2021).
Australian Unity is health insurance that really cares about your health and wellbeing. Business Chicks readers are eligible for an ongoing 7% discount* (and Premium members an 8.5% discount*) on all Australian Unity health insurance covers.
You can switch your insurance to Australian Unity online in minutes here, so you can spend more time looking after yourself.
*8.5% Premium member and 7% subscriber discount includes all retail discounts and is available only when paying by direct debit. The discount is not available through brokers or comparators, and excludes Overseas Visitor Cover.