Finance: Home-made lunch a good investment

THE vast majority of first-time investors say they would cut back on general day-to-day spending in order to afford an investment property, new research has revealed.

According to Mortgage Choice's latest First Time Investor survey, 70.2 per cent of NSW respondents said one of the first things they would do is cut back on their spending in order to afford an investment property, while a further 57.3 per cent indicated they would "eat out less" and 24.2 per cent said they would cut back on "alcohol-related spending".

Luckily, there are many ways for people to save a significant amount of money and achieve their property ownership goals faster by simply cutting back on their day-to-day expenses.

In fact, establishing good savings habits can be as simple as taking a back to the basics approach.

When it comes to saving money, potential property investors should look to implement some tried and tested methods that can help them to get ahead without having to make extreme changes to their current way of life.

In the first instance, it pays to build an achievable budget. Budgeting monthly or in accordance with the length of your pay period will allow you to amend your budget fairly quickly if an unexpected expense rears its ugly head.

Once investors have a manageable budget in place, there are a few other techniques they can implement to help them achieve their savings goal sooner rather than later.

Here are my top tips:

■ Become a VIP member - Sign up to be a VIP member at your regular shopping spots. Whether this means you will get a few dollars off per ticket on a trip to the cinema, receive sale prices at your favourite clothing stores, or earn a supermarket discount voucher, every little bit counts.

■ Savings enforcer - Ask someone to help you oversee your savings plan.

If you know someone is going to keep a close eye on your finances and hold you accountable if you don't reach your savings goal, you will be more inclined to stick to your budget.

■ Home cooked meals - Rather than buying your lunch each weekday, why not prepare your own meals by making a weekly trip to the supermarket.

If you are heading to the shops, it pays to have a shopping list and a full stomach - if you are hungry to begin with and don't have a strict list in place, you may find you buy more than you need.

■ Waste not, want not - Eliminate some of the little luxuries that you can do without. Try cutting back on takeaway coffees, fashionable items that have a short life-span, pay-television, internet or data usage etc. You could even change your social plans and invite friends and family to get-togethers at your place rather than going out where you will be tempted to spend more money.

■ Ask for discounts - Have you been a member of your local gym for some time?

If so, it may pay to give them a call and see if they can reduce your weekly fee for being a loyal customer.

Of course, your gym isn't the only place you can ask for discounts, try asking for a discount wherever you feel comfortable.

After all, you don't ask, you don't get.

For more information contact Richard Windeyer on 1800 01 LOAN.

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