How to build savings

We have tools and information to help you reach your savings target.

Start a budget

Use a budget to help work out how much money you can save. Then track your spending and see how much money you have left to save after paying your bills and expenses.

Read more about how to budget by managing your money day to day.

Keep your budget clear and simple and review it often. Your savings will build over time as you add to them. Once you have a plan in place you’ll be able to see how your money grows.

It’s important to save for is the unexpected. Things like a trip to the dentist, fixing your car or any kind of crisis. Having a savings buffer, big or small, will help you cope with whatever the future brings.

Don’t forget to check your bank statements or transaction histories. This shows if you can adjust or cancel direct debits you no longer need.

Example

Valerie was trying to make some small savings so she could buy new school shoes for her daughter. She checked her bank statements and found a direct debit for a gym she hadn’t been to for a year. So she cancelled her gym membership, saving herself $25 per week. She bought the school shoes and put the rest of the money into an online savings account.

Set up goals

A savings plan will help you reach your savings goals. You don’t have to have a large savings goal. Small goals are just as good.

You can use the Australian Securities & Investments Commission’s (ASIC) MoneySmart savings goals calculator to help you. It shows you how long it will take to reach your goal and how much you’ll need to save.

Short term goals

You may reach your short term goals sooner if you:

  • cut back on buying things you don't really need
  • use cash or a debit card instead of your credit card when shopping.

Long term goals

Long term savings can be for larger saving goals, such as:

  • a car
  • house, or
  • retirement.

It’s never too early to start planning. You may want to think about getting expert advice.

Our video tells you what you need to know when choosing a financial adviser.

Our Financial Information Service helps you make informed decisions about your finances. A Financial Information Service Officer can help you plan for your future financial needs.

Tips and tricks

We have more information and tools to help you manage your money.

Use online tools

ASIC’s MoneySmart has apps to help you track your spending and savings.

Use ASIC’s MoneySmart TrackMySPEND app to get a clear picture of your spending habits. Set up and track savings goals with TrackMYGOALS. You can also write down your goal and put it somewhere where you can see it and track your progress.

Watch the video on ASIC’s MoneySmart website to learn how to check your bank statement. Check your bank statement often to help you better manage and understand how you spend your money.

Do your research

Find the best deal you can get. Whether you’re shopping for clothes, have a mortgage or thinking about switching electricity provider just ask for a better deal. It might save you money.

A clever way to make the most of your money is through your super. You can get a Government co-contribution if your income is below a certain amount. ASIC’s MoneySmart website details how you can take advantage of the Government co-contributions.

Save on banking fees

Every little bit counts. If you get a Centrelink payment, you may be able to get a savings account that won’t charge fees. Ask your credit union or building society about fee free accounts.

Use your bank statements to spot your spending patterns. This will help you improve how you manage your money over time.

Many companies and banks charge you each time they send you a paper bill or statement. Choosing to get bills and statements online can save you money. The way you get bills can vary depending on the company. You can get them:

  • by email, or
  • in your online account with that company.

If you aren’t able to get your bills online, you can still choose to get them sent in the mail. Check to see if you can be exempt from the fees they charge to get a paper bill.

Read about savings accounts at ASIC’s MoneySmart website before talking to your bank or credit union. Most banks have online accounts that have better interest rates.

Page last updated: 22 October 2018