Money management skills: 6 ways to help you save

Young woman doing her budget
Image: Getty

NAB did some research on financial literacy last year and found that while many people were confident of their money know-how, one-quarter of Aussies didn’t have enough for an emergency. 

The conclusion to the report was that rising interest rates and an increased cost of living was testing most households - knowledgeable or not. 

Being confident about how to handle your money can be a good thing. But planning ahead, knowing how to set realistic goals and understanding how to save are very real skills that can actually help you improve your money management.

Below are 6 pointers to help you think more clearly about everyday money matters and how to sensibly stash some cash away.

1. Start a money plan

Saving money is the first step. Many experts say this is important, but how? Where do you start?

One common piece of advice is to do just that - start! Plan to take a small portion of your income to start your savings routine — no matter how small the amount is. 

A tactic that’s often given to would-be savers to consider is the ‘50-30-20 rule’, which means most of your income goes to needs like expenses (50%), a good amount goes to wants (30%) and the rest is for your savings account. 

But this might be difficult for first-timers, so why not set your ratio at a more realistic level - say, 10 to 15% for your savings. Saving money is a habit and it needs to be practised. Start small and build from there.

2. Open a savings account

Your pay might be going into a regular bank account, but earning solid interest on your money happens with a savings account.

And many savings accounts offer a bonus interest rate if you meet certain conditions. For example, you can be rewarded if you make regular deposits each month and don’t take money out of your account. This isn’t difficult but you do need to be wary of how your saver of choice works.

Currently, the average bonus savings rate in the Mozo database is at 3.53% p.a. And yet, some shopping around shows that the highest rate savings accounts are still above 5%. 

3. Sharpen your money instincts

Getting into a savings mindset can help you get a better read on the rest of your budget. For example, when there’s any potential change to your 50-30-20 ratio, it might be time to adjust your expectations.

Write down your monthly expenses again and tally them up. Include your typical social or entertainment costs, such as your streaming services, mobile bill and even how often you eat lunch out. What’s changed? What can be improved?

From this, you can better understand if you have any spare money to stash away and can re-set your budget. 

4. Get on top of debt

Rather than wait for debt to pile up, get on it early. Clearing expenses isn’t just practical, it’s confidence boosting.  

Keep in mind, some services allow you to pay bills in smaller amounts instead of paying the whole amount in one go. So you can avoid bill shock by planning and scheduling bills earlier. Ask your various service providers if you can pay fortnightly or monthly, for example. 

The other basic rule of debt is, don’t add to it! For instance, avoid taking on the burden of another credit card or buy now pay later service. 

All this planning helps and makes the tricky times a bit simpler to manage. 

5. Make your personal finances easier

You don’t have to rely on a notepad and pen to track your money - though that can be a very useful exercise for remembering!

For those less inclined to scribble things down, there are so many great apps and online tools, including ones from Up and Frollo. Among their many advantages are auto payments, so you never miss a bill. 

Good banking apps can also give you a view of ‘out-goings’, track your recurring expenses and never let your bank account drop below that amount. 

So, it’s a lot easier to avoid debt or to overdraw your account with today’s many tools. Late payment penalties should really be a thing of the past if you’re using your apps. 

6. Compare bank and savings accounts

Finally, managing your money means having banking products that make sense. There’s no need to complicate things and that’s where we can help. 

At Mozo we focus on comparing personal finance products to make your decisions easier. Our experts trawl through them and handpick some of the best to offer you a more sensible starting point.

The right bank or savings account starts with some basic comparison and you can easily start this below. 

Compare top savings accounts - last updated 23 May 2024

Search promoted savings accounts below or do a full Mozo database search. Advertiser disclosure
  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    High Interest Savings Account

    5.75% p.a. (for $0 to $250,001)

    4.40% p.a.(for $0 to $250,001)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus rate for the first 4 months from account opening

    Reward yourself with a higher rate for your good savings habits with the Rabobank High Interest Savings Account. No Account keeping fees. No minimum balance. Support Aussie farmers with every dollar you save.

  • Savings Account

    5.35% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    4.75% p.a.(for $0 to $1,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Bonus variable rate is available for the first four months.

    Competitive introductory variable rate for first 4 months (on deposits up to $250,000). No account keeping fees to pay. Multiple 2023 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner.

  • Mozo Expert Choice Badge
    AMP Saver Account

    5.40% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    1.20% p.a.(for $0 to $5,000,000)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Enjoy a bonus rate when you deposit at least $1000 per month with the AMP Saver Account.

    No account fees. Unlimited transactions when linked to an AMP Bank transaction account. Easy online access to your money. Option to link your savings account to an everyday transaction account. 2024 Mozo Experts Choice Award winner.

  • High Interest Save Account

    5.10% p.a. (for $0 to $250,000)

    0.10% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Deposit at least $200 to either Spend, Bills or Save account from an external source each month.

    No monthly fees on any of your save accounts. Split your money with up to 10 Save accounts. Set savings targets and track the progress of all your Save accounts. Deposits guaranteed up to $250K per customer.

  • Reward Saver Account

    5.25% p.a. (for $0 to $1,000,000)

    0% p.a.(for $0 and over)

    Yes up to $250,000

    Intro bonus rate of 5.25% for balances up to $1,000,000 for the first 4 months, reverting to 3.25%. Minimum deposit of $50 and no withdrawals.

    Introductory bonus rate for balances up to $1,000,000 for the first 4 months. Minimum deposit of $50 and no withdrawals. Start your account online in under 10 minutes and earn interest on balances up to $1,000,000 (T&Cs apply). No monthly account fees, helping you save smarter and faster.