Cost of living: Why it's so important to be an active saver, no matter what amount you're regularly putting away

  • 09/02/2023
  • Sponsored by - ANZ
Cost of living: Why it's so important to be an active saver, no matter what amount you're regularly putting away
Photo credit: iStock

The idea of putting money into a savings account during the cost of living crisis might seem too difficult, but any amount that can be saved - no matter how little - could very quickly start benefiting you and your family.

New Zealanders are struggling in the current climate with everyday expenses, repaying debt and saving for a comfortable retirement, with four out of five saying they feel like they are either going backwards or just staying afloat

It might be a while before we're feeling properly comfortable again, but in the meantime there are many tools and tricks that could make things less stressful.

One of the best ways to feel better about your money situation is to have a savings buffer of $1000 - and building it may be easier than you think.

"The single biggest benefit of having a savings buffer is peace of mind. It means you don't have that sickening feeling in your stomach when something unexpected goes wrong - when the car needs two new tyres to pass its warrant, when the washing machine dies," said Grant Andrews, ANZ Senior Research Manager. 

"It means you can cope with these bills without resorting to borrowing or washing the laundry in the bath for a month. A savings buffer is a shock absorber, it's a safety net and it's a security blanket all in one. They say you can't put a price on a good night's sleep, but I think you can: it's $1000 in a savings buffer.

"Of course, not all unexpected financial costs are bad. You may have friends who say they are off to a music festival and ask, 'wanna come?' With a savings buffer you don't have to say, 'nah, I can't afford it'. Savings create opportunities."

Even if you're a member of one of the many Kiwi families struggling to pay the bills and buy groceries right now, any amount that can be put into a savings account will help - even $10 per week.

If you're always hanging out for payday and don't have $10 spare after paying for everything, well, there's a trick to solving that problem.

"The secret is to save first, as soon as you are paid. It doesn't need to be much, just put something aside straight away," said Andrews.

"Sure $10 may not sound like much, but $520 does, which is what you could have this time next year if you are putting $10 a week aside, plus you'll likely be earning interest as well. In two years you could have well over $1000 sitting there, and it's still growing, and now you are earning interest on your interest.

"If you try to save what is left at the end of the pay period it will almost always be nothing. That's just the way money works, regardless of how much you get paid. But if you put it aside first you can then spend the rest on the things you need without feeling guilty."

Research has shown that people tend to fall into one of two mindsets: they are either more a spender, or more a saver. But those mindsets aren't permanently fixed and you can choose which you want to have.

Being an active saver means you are consistently putting something into a savings account and research commissioned by ANZ found it's one of the biggest drivers of financial wellbeing. The research also revealed that those who have a set savings goal tend to have greater financial wellbeing than those that don't.

"If you can become just a bit more of a saver mindset you can get the things you really want in life. It's very easy to spend, but you can only spend $1 once. Why not use that $1 to get the things you really want by saving up for the cool stuff and spending less on the little less important stuff?" asks Andrews.

If you set up a regular, small contribution as savings, you probably won't notice it going out of your main bank account. That's great - and if you can forget about it, all the better.

You don't want to be checking your savings all the time and you definitely want to avoid withdrawing from them. Just make the contribution and leave it alone to grow by itself.

Your bank wants to help you save money. Most banks don't charge an extra fee to have a savings account and they’ll make it really easy to set up a savings plan.

"You could also have a look at your bank's website. There are lots of tips and tricks for trying to save money - we have great resources and tools to help you save on the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Hub."

Article created in partnership with ANZ

This material is for information purposes only. ANZ recommends seeking financial advice about your situation and goals before getting a financial product. To talk to one of our team at ANZ, please call 0800 269 296, or for more information about ANZ’s financial advice service or to view our financial advice provider disclosure statement see