Tech-related tips to help save for a home deposit

Technology has many advantages, and one of them is the potential to help you save more of your hard-earned pay cheque.

With the arrival of smartphones and tablets, money saving salvation is no more than a click away. From apps to websites and special services, here’s our top 8 techie tips to help you save up for a home deposit.

1. Save at the (virtual) checkout
Thanks to technology, regularly paying full price for clothing, accessories, groceries and even yoga classes is a thing of the past. Websites such as DealsDirect, Groupon, OzSale, Click Frenzy and eBay offer one-off savings on a huge range of products, while fitness collectives like ClassPass give access to a range of regular fitness classes at gyms all over Australia on the cheap. And if all else fails? Coupons. Before you click ‘checkout’ have a browse through CuponNation, OzDiscount or RetailMeNot to make sure you’re not missing out on a cheeky 25% off or free shipping offer.

2. Get free financial help
There are many free, useful tools for those looking to manage their money. Budget with the best of them by using an app like MoneyLover or Pocketbook Easy Budget Planner. These apps offer a holistic look at your finances, allowing you to set savings goals, sync bank accounts and track your spending. If you’d like to know how your finances measure up, try the Australian Securities and Investment Commission’s MoneySmart, an app designed to give you a free money health check!

3. Bank online
We all bank online these days, but are you using this valuable tool to its best advantage? Never pay a late fee again by setting up direct debits with your providers. Make saving mandatory by setting up your online banking to remove a certain amount directly from your pay each month. Depending on the bank and app, you can also consolidate your accounts and debts to ensure you’re only paying one set of fees, monitor spending or set limits on your credit cards – all with the click of a button.

4. Lower your phone bill
Don’t have a mobile phone plan with unlimited talk and text? No worries. Get the most bang for your buck by using free text messaging services like Google Hangouts, WhatsApp or Messenger. If you’ve got family and friends overseas, there’s no longer a need to use those clunky international phone cards, because real-time audio and video chatting services like FaceTime and Skype mean you can call anyone anywhere in the world for free – at any time of the day or night.

5. Monitor the cost of utilities
We all need utilities, but that doesn’t mean we should pay top dollar. The Australian Federal Government’s website, Energy Made Easy, gives you the power to compare the rates of various energy suppliers. Plus, it offers tried and tested tips to help you reduce your energy consumption and lower your overall costs. You can also contest bills, request up-to-date meter information and even receive a discount if you pay your bill early. Furthermore, most retailers allow you to compare your energy usage and bill amounts last month, last quarter and last year. Use these tools to see if and how your bills are rising, and adjust your behaviour accordingly.

6. Be part of the gig economy
Not only do apps like Uber, AirTasker or Deliveroo mean you can get a driver, cleaner, handyman or take-away food cheaper and faster – they also offer you the opportunity to earn more. If you’re saving for something special like a holiday or a deposit for your first home, using your spare time after work or on your days off can really help pump up your home deposit savings. Or if you’re looking to declutter, don’t just throw your belongings away. Try setting up a store and selling things on eBay or creating listings on Gumtree to help raise extra cash. You’ll reach your home deposit goal much more quickly, if join the gig economy and watch the bucks roll in.

7. Take advantage of special offers
Special offers have always been around but now, thanks to technology, it’s easier than ever to find them. Did you know that your bank, insurance company, phone, Internet and utilities providers, superannuation funds and many other organisations have benefits schemes for customers? Telstra Thanks, Optus Perks, AAMI Lucky Club and NRMA’s More4Members all offer a huge range of discounts – including $10 movie tickets, travel offers and access to free shows, activities and exhibitions – to help you save money for your home deposit while still living life to the fullest.

8. Let technology entertain you
On a budget and having trouble keeping entertained? Technology can help you keep life interesting. Not only are there a myriad of free-to-air TV apps like iView, SBS on Demand and TenPlay to take care of all your viewing needs, websites like Project Gutenburg provide access to free ebooks. These books are in the public domain. You can even access some of these free books through the Kindle, Google Play and iBookstore apps.

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