How to save money: TikTok influencer Invest with Queenie shares her top saving, investing tips

It has been a hard year for Australians battling inflated prices and soaring interest rates, with millions feeling the pinch in their weekly budget.

Sydney-based finance influencer Invest with Queenie shares her top tips for saving money and beating the cost-of-living crisis in 2024.

The licensed personal financial creator Queenie Tan guided her 224,000 TikTok followers on how to build savings and how to invest.

Ms Tan has offered up her top tips and saving hacks to get started.

Making new money habits

Before diving into the nitty gritty, Ms Tan said its important to consider the challenge of building a mindset that is geared towards saving.

Countless people start the new year with ambitious goals and decide to take an axe to the little luxuries they “splurge on”, but Ms Tan suggests taking a breath before cutting them out.

“A lot of people when they look to save money, they always think ‘I better cancel my Netflix subscription’ or ‘I can’t go out for coffee with my friend’,” she said.

While that might save them a small sum each week, there is much more to be saved in looking at the bigger expenses like housing, transport and food.

Shopping around for the best deal on insurance or mortgage providers could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars a year, without having to cut back on life’s pleasures, Ms Tan said.

A great way to start the year is to consider what you need to save for and how to chip away at the goal every week.

“The first thing is to break down big goals into smaller pieces,” Ms Tan said.

If the goal is to save $10,000 by the end of the year, consider breaking it down into smaller instalments to make it seem less overwhelming and more achievable.

If you put away $192 each week for the entire week, you will have $10,000 by the end of 2024. That’s just $27.40 a day.

How to finally start investing

The new year might also have you wanting to tick off an item that has long been on the to-do list, like finally getting started with investing in shares or ETFs.

Ms Tan’s best advice was simple: “just start small”.

“If you’ve never done it before, it can be really scary. Just stick your toes in, and put in maybe $5 or $10 and see how you feel and then build it up from there.”

She suggests that once you start getting comfortable with the process and are not knocked over by the ebb and flow of the market, consider setting up automatic investments.

“I’m just on autopilot now, every month $1,000 comes out of my account, it gets invested and I don’t even have to think about it,” she said.

Checking in with your budget

After the budget blowout of the holiday season, one of the first stops for the new year should be to check in and reassess the budget.

Particularly with soaring prices and interest rates, a budget that worked a year ago likely won’t cut it for 2024.

Ms Tan recommends checking in with your budget once a month to make adjustments and track how you spent over the last month.

“There was three months last year where I didn’t do my budget, and I really fell off the bandwagon,” she said.

“It was crazy. I was spending between $2000 to $4000 a month more, but I wasn’t having a fun time, I was just spending more.”

“Now that I’m doing it every month again, my spending is way back down and I don’t feel like my life has been affected.”

Queenie’s top hacks to beat cost-of-living

1. Shop around

Check out how much you could be saving on your electricity and gas by inputting your bills into the Energy Made Easy website created by the federal government.

“You can see whether it’s competitive and it recommends different providers that could cut down on your bills every month,” Ms Tan said.

NSW residents are lucky enough to get two handy apps to help them save cash on their car expenses.

The first is, Green Slip Price Check which Ms Tan said helped her save $200 a month on her green slip.

The second is Fuel Check which allows drivers to compare the price of every type of fuel at petrol stations across the state.

2. Cashback apps

You may have seen ads for Cashback applications on social media, and Ms Tan said they are definitely worth taking advantage of.

ShopBack, Cash Rewards and Honey are all apps that offer to pay you just for using their portal to online shop at a range of retailers.

“It might not earn you a huge amount of money but by next Christmas, you’ll have some money saved that you can buy presents with,” Ms Tan said.

3. Support your local takeaway

Next time you think about ordering take away through a delivery app like Uber Eats or DoorDash, consider ordering directly through the restaurant or better yet, turn it into a night out and eat inside the venue.

“It’s kind of sneaky but they mark up the prices of the menu items,” Ms Tan said.

“You’ll save like 20 to 30 per cent off plus the delivery fee and you get the experience of eating with the atmosphere of the restaurant.”

4. Put your money in a high-interest savings account

Again shopping around for a competitive high-interest rate savings account can help grow your money with very little effort.

“Any account with an interest rate higher than 5 per cent is great,” Ms Tan said.

Although she also said to keep an eye on the conditions of the account, with most high interest rates requiring customers to follow certain guidelines to make them eligible for the rate. However, most of them are easy enough to get a hang of, so don’t let this turn you away.

5. Sign up for rewards programs

Making the most of discount and voucher offers by signing up for a stores Rewards program can make a small difference to the cost of everyday items.

A hack for keeping your inbox clear of the inevitable surge of promotional materials that come with it, is to create a separate email account for the sole purpose of giving out to stores. It also keeps them all in the same place to make it easier when searching for a coupon.

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