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Using money saving hacks helped Josh rebuild his finances

When times are tough, good money saving hacks can help you to stay on top of your finances and potentially continue to save. To compliment your good habits, you should find a good savings account that motivates you and provides a good interest rate. To illustrate this, we have provided the following story about Josh1.

December 2020 – 6 minute read

Key takeaways from this article:

  • Know where you spend your money
  • Form positive money management habits
  • Set up your savings goals
  • Find a good savings account
  • Establish a foundation for financial security


Josh works in the hospitality industry on a casual basis. Before JobKeeper he was working three jobs and earning reasonable money. When COVID19 hit Josh was reduced to one job at the JobKeeper rate. With no savings or emergency fund, he had to reduce his expenses quickly. From smarter grocery shopping to buying second-hand, Josh was also relying on his friends and family just to survive.


Not wanting to have to rely on friends and family, Josh started to review his spending habits by utilising checklists like the Cost-cutting checklist (PDF 216KB) from Westpac’s Davidson Institute. After reviewing his costs, Josh wanted to know more about managing his money and has since completed the Financial Fitness Course, recorded his spending in a money diary and decided where he wants to spend his money using a budget planner. He also learned about how compound interest can help boost his savings over time by watching this jargon buster film below.


By deciding where he wants to spend his money and instigating some simple money hacks, Josh has $50 left over each fortnight, even on JobKeeper payments. This means, for the first time, he can begin to form some great saving habits. Josh’s first savings goal is to put some money away for a rainy day. So, if another COVID occurs, or he loses his job, or the car breaks down he will have the money to get through it.


Josh has decided to use a Westpac Life account to help him achieve his savings habits as it had features that would help him. It allowed him to set up and name his goals like “Rainy day” and to play around with the amount he wanted to save and by when to give him an idea of what he needs to do to reach his goals. With his current $50 per fortnight, he will save $1,300 in the next twelve months, which is a good start. To make it even easier, Josh set up a regular deposit from his Westpac Choice account to his Westpac Life account to automate his savings and get on with life.


When his income goes up, Josh will be able to save more and add other savings goals to the account such as the “new car” he wants, on “overseas trip“ or maybe even a  “deposit for a house”.


Josh also likes the graph that lets him see how close he is to reaching his goal and how much time he has left.


While it is easy to access his savings online, on the phone or at the branch, he really likes this extra feature, as it reminds him about his goals before using the money for something else.  


All these features are great to help keep Josh focused and saving towards his goal, but he also wanted a good interest rate, to help with compound interest effect and kick start his savings. The Westpac Life account has up to a 3% p.a.* variable interest rate2 if you are between 18 and 29 years of age, which Josh qualifies for.


This is a great rate, at the moment, but Josh wanted to know more about the conditions to get the rate and what it would mean for him. He did a bit more digging and found out there are four different interest earning options to encourage him to save and spend with Westpac.

Option 1 - 0.20% p.a. 

A base variable interest of 0.20% p.a. will be paid on the entire balance in his Westpac Life account even if he does not meet the other criteria.

Option 2 - 0.40% p.a.

If he makes one deposit to his Westpac Life account and the balance of his account is higher at the end of a month, by at least one cent, compared to the start of that month, he will get an additional 0.20% p.a. variable interest rate. Adding this to the base rate of 0.20% p.a. brings his combined interest rate to 0.40% p.a. earnt on the entire balance. Yay.

Option 3 - 2.80% p.a.

As Josh has a Westpac Choice account and makes more than 5 debit card purchases from that account each month, Westpac will give him an extra 2.60% p.a. Spend & Save bonus variable interest rate on savings balance up to $30k. Adding this to the base rate of 0.20% p.a. on the entire balance brings his combined interest rate to 2.65% p.a. Yay.

Option 4 - 3.00% p.a.*

If Josh grows his savings by 1c each month (option 2, an additional 0.20% p.a.) AND makes 5 debit card purchases on his Westpac Choice account in the same month (option 3, an extra 2.60% p.a.), adding these to the base rate of 0.20% p.a. brings his combined interest rate to 3.00% p.a.* Double yay!


So how much extra will Josh earn from interest over the next 12 months at the current variable interest rates on the four options.


Option 1 Option 2 Option 3 Option 4
Base Rate Bonus interest for growing your Westpac Life savings account balance by the end of each month. Reward interest for making 5 eligible purchases a month with your debit card linked to your Choice account. Qualify for all bonuses.
0.20% p.a 0.40% p.a. 2.80% p.a. on savings up to $30,000 3.00% p.a.on savings up to $30,000
$0 for 12 months. $0 + $50 deposited each fortnight for 12 months. $0 + $50 deposited each fortnight for 12 months. $0 + $50 deposited each fortnight for 12 months.
Interest earned Interest earned Interest earned Interest earned
$0 $2.50 $17.65 $18.92

Josh thinks that earning another $18.92 for doing nothing more than sticking to good money management practices and using his Westpac Choice account for his transactions is easy money. While it does not appear to be a lot of money now, Josh knows that with continually saving and the impact of compound interest this could be very good for him in the future.  


With some smart money hacks, Josh was able to stay on top of his living expenses and utility bills while utilising the benefits of a savings account like Westpac Life. Josh now believes when the next COVID or emergency comes along he will be in a good position to handle it and not have to call on his friends and family for help.


If you find yourself in a situation where your income is reduced or you can’t find a job, having a bit of money saved up will help you to pay your bills. Westpac Life makes it simple to save money in Australia.


1 This story and the names used in it are for illustrative purposes only and is not based on any one individual.

2 Westpac Life interest rates are current as at 22 January 2021 for customers between the ages of 18 and 29.  


Written by Westpac's financial education specialists, the Davidson Institute.

Things you should know

Fees and charges apply. Read the product Terms and Conditions and consider whether the product is right for you. This information is general in nature and does not take your personal objectives, circumstances or needs into account.

* 3% p.a. variable interest: earn up to 3% p.a. variable interest when you meet the criteria for both Westpac Life variable interest and Spend&Save Bonus variable interest. For bonus interest qualification, a month is the period from close of business on the last business day of the prior month to close of business on the last business day of the current month.

Westpac Life variable interest: includes a standard variable base rate plus a variable bonus rate. To earn the variable bonus interest you must make a deposit to your Westpac Life account, ensure the account balance is higher at the end than the beginning of the month and keep the account balance above $0. Interest is calculated on the daily balance of your Westpac Life account and paid on the last business day of the month.  

Spend&Save bonus variable interest: to earn the bonus variable interest, you must make 5 eligible purchases with the debit card linked to your Choice account and have these settled (not pending) within a calendar month. The following transactions are ineligible: ATM transactions, BPAY, EFTPOS cash out only transactions and purchases settled to a credit card account. Interest is calculated on the daily balance of your Westpac Life account(s) up to $30,000 and paid to your Westpac Life by the 20th day of the next month. If the account is closed, the interest payable will be paid into an alternate open Westpac transaction or savings account in your name by the end of the next month. Available to individuals aged 18-29 on new and existing sets of Westpac Life and Choice accounts from 1st July 2020 and may be varied or withdrawn at any time in accordance with the deposit account terms and conditions. Westpac Choice and Westpac Life sole or joint accounts must be opened in the same customer name(s). Eligible on a maximum of 3 sets of Choice and Westpac Life sole and/or joint accounts.