Best route to saving is shave your spending

With high-street savings accounts offering little in the way of interest, it might be the time to get creative if you need to build a cash cushion. If you do nothing else, get a ute - a surprisingly versatile money-spinner that enables you to scavenge and sell scrap metal, furniture and large appliances. Here are 10 more alternative saving tips:

With high-street savings accounts offering little in the way of interest, it might be the time to get creative if you need to build a cash cushion. If you do nothing else, get a ute - a surprisingly versatile money-spinner that enables you to scavenge and sell scrap metal, furniture and large appliances. Here are 10 more alternative saving tips:

1 Purge family possessions Sell anything you do not need or use says Brenton Tong, head strategist at Financial Spectrum in Sydney.

2 Become a market research source Register with market-research companies that pay anything from $25 to $100 an hour to find out you how you feel on certain subjects, Tong says. Work often comes with free food and drink, too.

3 Enter competitions "There are giveaways every day for a multitude of different things," Tong says. "As they say, you've got to be in it to win it - and some people are in it a lot more than others."

4 Join a paid clinical trial Any healthy person may be eligible for a trial, Tong says. No experience is required - you just need to be game to play the role of a specimen that is tested, poked and prodded. The payment is anything from hundreds to thousands of dollars, depending on duration and risk.

5 Nail every cent Regardless of your income, wise up about where your money goes, says financial adviser Justin Pagotto. While some of his clients earning just $30,000 a year are prolific investors, others earning more than $300,000 are in permanent debt. "The only spending plan that works," he says, "is one where you see where your money is going every day."

6 Drink tap water In a 2010 report, environment group Clean Up Australia noted that a litre of bottled water cost twice as much as a litre of petrol. The report also described Australian tap water as "world-standard". So why bother with the bottled kind?

7 Drink plonk Research shows most people can't tell the difference between cheap and expensive varieties. Why not just pour some low-cost wine into a decanter? Nobody will know.

8 Have an amateur haircut Another Spartan tip is that you should skip the salon and cut your own hair. If you're male, a regular no-frills buzz cut, if you're a woman, you might want to give yourself a simple blunt cut in front of the mirror. Or see if students at your local beauty school will do the job at a discount or free.

9 Forget the gym Nobody needs a gym membership. Instead consider bay walking, bushwalking or body-weight exercises in a park or at home.

10 Skip having kids Australian parents now treat their children like little emperors, paying for costly toys, technology and lessons. The result? The price of raising a child is extortionate - more than $1 million, according to social researcher Mark McCrindle. So you might want to stay child-free and think about that six-figure saving.

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