Economic issues, the lagging impacts of the pandemic, and the ongoing war in Ukraine are all contributing to inflation and a rising cost of living globally and here in Australia. Millions of people across Australia are feeling the pinch when it comes to covering everyday expenses. If you’re feeling the financial pressure or simply looking for a little more breathing room in your budget, get started with these 8 household money-saving tips:
Tip 1: Track your spending
If you don’t already track your spending, now’s the time to get started. While some banks provide this service through their own apps, there are also great standalone apps available to help you identify some quick savings wins like:
- Account fees that could be reduced.
- Recurring expenses that could be renegotiated, like phone and insurance plans.
- Non-essential spending you can cut back on, for example, takeaway coffees, on-the-go snacks and impulse purchases.
Tracking your spending also allows you to start a budget – more on this in our next tip!
Tip 2: Get budgeting
Now that you’ve got a clearer idea of where your money is going, you can separate the essential costs from the non-essentials and pair this up with your income to form a budget.
Implementing the 50-30-20 budget is a simple way to get started – it’s a budget that allocates 50% of your income to essential needs, 30% to your wants and 20% to savings. Over time, you can tweak the percentage splits to suit, and you’ll quickly find your smashing savings.
Tip 3: Cut costs at the supermarket
Once you’ve established your expenses and created a budget, it’s time to dive deeper into the heavy-hitting expenses. Grocery costs are currently sitting at an all-time high, and most basic trips to the supermarket will see you forking out $100 at a minimum. Here’s what you can do to soften the supermarket blow:
- Be brand agnostic – if you’ve seen the show Eat Well For Less, you’ll know that often, people can’t tell their favourite brands from more affordable alternatives. Concentrate your supermarket shop on value rather than brands, and you’ll see sizeable savings.
- Meal plan and shop with a list (and not when you’re hungry) – stopping by the supermarket to grab tonight’s dinner isn’t the most efficient way to shop, as you’ll be more inclined to buy more than you need and on impulse. Start the week with a meal plan; buy what you need and save money and time.
- Bulk buy essentials – good things don’t always come in small packages. If space permits, stock up on bulk non-perishable grocery items like cereals, rice, flour, pasta and toilet paper.
- Hit the produce markets – not only will you support local businesses, but local produce markets often have fresher, in-season produce that is more affordable.
- Reduce your meat intake – it’s good for your health and your wallet! If your diet is meat-heavy, try replacing one meal a week initially and build on this. Not sure how to get started? Try these food swaps.
Tip 4: Reduce your electricity usage
It’s no secret that conserving energy leads to a smaller bill each month, but the question is, how do you save energy? From small actions like turning appliances off at the wall to switching to LED light bulbs, you can do plenty of simple things to make your home more energy efficient. If you’re keen to invest in bigger changes, consider switching your petrol vehicle for a hybrid or electric or installing solar panels to soak up the sun’s free energy.
Tip 5: Slow down and plan to save
If you’re not ready to switch to an electric or hybrid car, you’ll be feeling the pain of rising fuel prices. Fortunately, there are some easy ways you can fill up less:
- Reduce your speed – according to the S. Department of Energy, reducing your speed by 8 to 16 kph (5 to 10 mph) can improve your fuel economy by 7%-14%.
- Plan your trips – this will help you identify the fastest route and avoid fuel-wasting detours. Try to skip rush hour driving where possible, as stop-and-go driving burns more fuel.
- Schedule regular maintenance – correctly inflated tyres and regular servicing and tuning can make your car more efficient and, in turn, reduce your fuel consumption.
Tip 6: Hit unsubscribe
You might be one of the many who have a gym subscription, that’s going completely unused, that can be cancelled. Then there are the streaming service subscriptions, free trials that have ticked over to paid, and so much more flying out of our bank accounts regularly.
Take this opportunity to do a thorough reccy of your subscriptions and memberships, and set reminders to cancel those you no longer use when they come up for renewal. Plenty of apps are available to help you keep on top of the burgeoning subscription service world.
Tip 7: Sustainability is a win: win
Sustainability isn’t just good for the environment but also for your pocket. Get started with some simple adjustments to your everyday life like:
- Remembering reusable shopping bags – all those $1 paper bags add up!
- Buying second-hand – manufacturing is one of the biggest pollutants, so save mother earth and your hard-earned cash by shopping for used items where possible.
- Giving household items a second life – there are plenty of clever ways to repurpose everything from empty jars to ladders and corks.
- Ditching single-use products you can do without – replace things like paper towels with reusable cleaning cloths. They can be popped into the washing machine and used time and time again.
- Planting edibles – if time and expertise aren’t on your side, start with a small planter box filled with herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, rosemary and thyme. It’s guaranteed to taste better and save you money. More on that here.
Tip 8: Make a move
If you’ve got a redundant bedroom or backyard, an older home that’s difficult to heat or no longer need an inner-city base close to work, it’s worth relooking at your housing options. You might find that downsizing or switching suburbs not only works in your favour financially but from a lifestyle perspective too! Contact the First National Real Estate team to discuss your options.
Small changes have big impacts
From budgeting to sustainable practices and everything in between, these tips may be small, but when combined, they can significantly impact your ability to save and secure your financial future. Investments like property can help you do just that. Talk to your local First National Real Estate office to find out how to get started or continue your property investment journey.