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Automate Your Savings 9 Easy Ways

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Automate Your Savings 9 Easy Ways

Daily bombardment by one-click shopping ads and an ever-present temptation to spend can make saving money challenging. Boost success and automate your savings with these nine easy steps:

1. Earmark income for investment.

Whether it’s babysitting money, all of the coins you receive in a month, or a portion of your regular paycheck, designate certain funds for savings and investments. Identify an account to funnel these earnings into and deposit them into that account immediately. No amount is too small; your savings will grow quickly through the benefits of compound interest.

2. Save your tax refund.

Looking for a lump sum to get started in the savings game? Save your tax refund, and pledge to do so every year. If your savings account already contains 6–12 months of emergency expenses, consider plugging your tax refund directly into your IRA.

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3. Regularly deposit into savings.

Automated deposits are easy and effective because they take money directly from your paycheck and put it where you need it – into a savings account that contains enough to cover at least six months of living expenses or foreseeable emergencies, preferably a year’s worth. If your savings account is already plussed up, reroute your automated deposit into investment accounts, such as mutual funds or IRAs. Contribute to a Health Savings Account or college fund if appropriate; or continue to build savings as you work toward a large investment purchase, such as a house or land.

4. Split your direct deposit.

If your employer offers direct deposit, ask if they will accept multiple deposit accounts. If they will, put some in savings and some in checking. If they won’t, set up a recurrent transfer on your pay day. Though they are both liquid, thanks to online banking, we tend to have a greater psychological resistance to spending money from our savings accounts.

5. Favor interest-bearing accounts.

Once you’re saving, make those accounts work for you! Do your research online, or call up a bank representative to learn which accounts bear the most interest at your institution. Often something as simple as keeping less in your checking, which typically has a low interest rate due to the fluidity of the account, and more in your savings, can result in larger gains over the course of the year.

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6. Use a cash-back credit card.

When you spend, do so with a credit card that earns you cash back. Like any credit card, remember to treat it like cash, buying only what you can afford at that moment and paying it off regularly.

7. Household accounts.

Some banks offer incentives for “house holding,” or consolidating checking, savings, investment, insurance, and other accounts at the same bank. Others offer cash incentives or higher interest rates to those who meet a certain threshold of net investment with the bank. This is free money, so it’s worth a call to your bank to find out if they offer such a program, or shop around for a bank that does.

8. Know your bank’s rules.

Some banks charge a fee after a certain number of transactions between checking, savings, and/or investment accounts per month, or cap the amount of money that can be transferred in a single transaction or 24-hour period. Know your financial institution’s rules, and plan accordingly.

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9. Automate bills.

You can’t accrue wealth if you are always being hit by late fees. Keep the lights on, and save yourself the cost of all those stamps, by automating as many payments as you can. Once you have a cash-rewards credit card, paying bills from your card can increase your benefits even more.

 

Want to save more money? Check out these 55 Practical Ways to Save Money Efficiently.

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Featured photo credit: 401(k) 2012 via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 27, 2022

5 Most Affordable Australian Cities For Students

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5 Most Affordable Australian Cities For Students

With high standards of education, a multicultural community, and laid-back lifestyle, it’s not hard to see why so many students love Australia. However, one thing Australia is also known for is being the world’s most expensive country to study in as a foreign student.

For those willing to look beyond popular cities like Sydney or Melbourne, however, study abroad doesn’t have to be unaffordable. Check out these five more economical cities that still make for great student living.

1. Gold Coast

If you’re looking for a more affordable place to buckle down and study while still enjoying glorious beaches and a vibrant nightlife, the Gold Coast is an excellent choice. While it has no shortage of restaurants, cafes, bars, and natural attractions, the city is also well-known for its quality of education.

Gold Coast is home to Bond University, which has Australia’s highest rating for overall graduate satisfaction, but also some of the country’s highest tuition fees. Fortunately, it hosts campuses for Griffith University and South Cross University as well, both of which have affordable options for international students.

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When it comes to off-campus accommodation, there are plenty of choices, from shared housing to homestays. Real estate sites like Flatmates can be useful for finding options within your budget.

2. Wollongong

Wollongong’s close proximity to Sydney (80 km) makes it a popular choice for students who can’t afford the high cost of living in Australia’s largest city, but still want to experience all that it has to offer. Wollongong itself is a lively city as well, and is rated as the country’s most livable small city thanks to its gorgeous beaches and lively city centre.

The University of Wollongong is one of Australia’s top universities, with a comprehensive academic program, international research reputation, and high graduate employment rates.

Due to a lack of on-campus parking, most students prefer to walk, cycle, or use the free bus service that operates between the university and city centre. Living costs are quite reasonable in Wollongong, and sites like Gumtree can come in handy if you’re looking to split housing costs or even score some second-hand furniture on arrival.

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3. Hobart

Hobart is the capital of Tasmania, the second oldest city in Australia, and also the cheapest city for university students to live in. While it might not be as happening as cities like Gold Coast or Brisbane, its striking natural beauty and slower pace of life make it a great place to block out distractions and focus on studying.

The Hobart Universities sector is based on a single institution, the University of Tasmania, which is consistently rated among the top ten universities in Australia and has a large population of students from abroad, with more than one in five students being international.

Although public transport in Hobart isn’t as convenient as could be, there is plenty of student accommodation available to make up for it. Students often live in shared houses near the university so they can simply walk to class. If you’re looking to rent a shared house or room in the area, Easy Roommate can be a good place to start your search.

4. Adelaide

Of Australia’s major cities, Adelaide is the cheapest to live in. That, along with its spacious layout, clean and green atmosphere, and beachside attractions make it a great place to live and study. It’s also regarded as the food and wine capital of Australia.

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Adelaide has three universities, including the University of Adelaide, which is ranked in the top 1% of universities worldwide; the University of South Australia; and Flinders University. Its integrated bus, train, and tram transportation system connect all parts of the city and make it easy for students to get around.

Naturally, the cost of accommodation is lower outside the city centre, and depending on which university you’re studying with, the outer suburbs could be more convenient as well. Check Study Adelaide for information on a range of student accommodation options, from independent living to homestays.

5.  Brisbane

Brisbane is the capital of Queensland and Australia’s third largest city. Unlike Sydney and Melbourne, it’s known for being one of the most affordable cities in Australia, which makes it a good choice for students. It’s also known for its pleasant subtropical climate and wide range of entertainment options.

Brisbane has three major universities: the Queensland University of Technology, the University of Queensland, and Griffith University (which accepts the most study abroad undergraduates). The inner city is well-connected by public transportation, although cycling is popular as well, and there are plenty of cycle paths that make it easy for students to get around this way.

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Students typically live in and around the inner suburbs, where the bulk of Brisbane’s teaching facilities are located. If you’re looking for convenient accommodation off-campus, you can check sites like Urbanest or The Pad.

Featured photo credit: Bhavesh Patel via unsplash.com

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