Saving money for a goal: 7 tips to get you started

So you’ve been dreaming of buying a house, going on a trip around Australia, finally doing that house renovation or purchasing a new gadget - but how are you going to make your dream a reality?

Couple budgeting at home

After you’ve paid for food, electricity, the car, house, school and day care, there’s often not much left in the budget. But if you really want that next 'treat yourself' purchase, there’s no reason why you can’t save for it.

Saving for a goal may seem a bit daunting, particularly if you've never done it before. The good news is, it isn't rocket science! By changing a few small things in your everyday life you’ll be amazed at how easy you can make saving money for a goal.

Here are 7 tips to consider when saving money for a goal.

1. What type of spender are you? 

While everyone is different, knowing the way you like to spend your money can go along way towards sticking to your savings goal. Are you a spur-of-the-moment shopper, or a careful planner? Do you like to purchase new or are you savvy at shopping second hand?

It's all well and good saying you're going to put away $100 a week, but you should consider what temptations are lurking around the corner to interrupt that and plan how you'll overcome these. Get to know your strengths and weaknesses and use that to build the foundation of your savings plan. 

2. What regular purchases could you go without?

It's the age old tale of little purchases adding up and it's a great place to start. One less soft drink, takeaway coffee or glass of wine each day could save you around $5 a day. That might not sound like much but it adds up to a whopping $1825 in a year. If you want to save even more, you can stop buying drinks altogether but that could be a bit drastic!

We all love takeaway on those nights you get home late or just don’t have the energy to cook. However, this is money you could be adding towards your savings goal. Instead of buying takeaway, next time you’re cooking, try doubling the recipe and freeze portions for those nights you don’t want to cook. 

How much could you save in one year...


One adult

Two adults

Family of four

 (2 adults,2 children)

One less drink ($5pp a day)




One less takeaway meal ($15pp a week)




One less restaurant meal ($30pp a month)




Take your lunch to work ($50pp a week for 48 weeks)




One less cinema ticket, medium popcorn and medium drink ($35pp a month)




One less day of tuckshop ($25 for two children a fortnight)




Total savings in one year




These figures are estimates only to give you an idea of what you could save. You can work out your potential savings by taking a look at how much you spend on each of the above. 

3. Plan to succeed 

Willpower can often fail when you're tired, de-motivated or you've just had a bad day. You could find yourself making unconscious choices and sabotaging your savings goal.

That's why it's important to have a plan that sets you up to succeed. Spending an hour on a day when you're feeling motivated to plan the week or fortnight budget work can really help. Set the lunch and dinner menu's in advance, write shopping lists and be aware of what bills are coming up. It can also help to include a 'treat day' where a bought lunch, tuck shop or takeaway night is okay. 

4. Keep it simple

Make your savings goal as simple as possible. Our best advice is to start small and build up. If you're struggling with $100 savings a pay, drop it down to $25 or $50. Get used to that for a time and then bump it up when you're comfortable!

You want this to be sustainable until you reach your goal, so don’t change everything in one day. Start with calculating your saving using an online tool, then set up a regular transfer of a set amount to your savings account each pay so you don't have to think about it. 

5. Use visualisation 

Visualisation is the act of forming a mental image of something and it can be very important in goal setting and staying motivated. Visualisation doesn't just have to be mental. Find a photo of your dream home or where you want to go on holidays and stick it somewhere prominent to serve as a constant reminder.

6. Join forces

If your savings goal has a joint benefit, than joining forces with your family can help with motivation. If you're all in on the same goal, it becomes a lense in which you approach your day-to-day activities. Instead of eating out at a restaurant, your family could eat out under the stars in your own backyard. Instead of a trip to a theme park, you could go to the beach or a local national park.

If you're saving for a family holiday you could also get the kids to put their pocket money in a savings account so they have spending money when you go on holidays. When they go on holidays they can make their own decisions about what they want to buy. It’s also a great way for them to learn saving at a young age.

7. Go easy on yourself

At the end of the day, although savings isn't rocket science, it can be hard to stick to it. If you find that you miscalculated the budget one week and need to dip back into your savings, go easy on yourself.  Use it as a learning opportunity (don't give up!). Re-visit your savings plan to get yourself back on track. 

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