It’s so easy to let life’s every day expenses snowball until your wallet and bank account become revolving doors, with money leaving just as fast or faster than it comes in. But it doesn’t need to be like that. With a little planning, it’s easy to slash your expenses dramatically.
1. Cut your phone costs
We get it, we can't get enough of our phones either. But the cost of your phone plan is often one of your major costs, especially as we consume so much data (we get it – we love Tik Tok too) these days. It’s easy to take a ‘set and forget’ approach to your phone bill. But it actually pays to review this expense at least once a year.
Use a cost comparison site such as finder.com.au, which will give you an indication about low cost providers. Some of the newer providers are offering great deals to attract new customers and it’s worth talking to them about what they can offer you. Sometimes you might even bag yourself more data for less money.
But don’t forget the more established players. They may be willing to offer a deal if you let them know you’re prepared to move to another provider offering a better rate.
2. Be aware of your energy use
This one is good for the environment and your wallet – what a bonus. More energy use means more emissions. But after trying to lower your energy consumption, what else can you do to cut back on your bills?
Just like your phone bill, it pays to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best possible rate for your gas and electricity usage.
Investing in solar panels is one way to help reduce your costs. But it’s also worth taking steps to cut your energy use by turning off things when they’re not in use, sealing gaps and cracks to keep out drafts and lowering the temperature on your thermostat. These simple steps can radically reduce your electricity use over time.
If you’re looking to buy a home, try looking for one that has a 7 star or higher energy efficiency rating or look at sustainable upgrades and you might just qualify for our Clean Energy Home Loan. We want to reward people for doing their bit for the planet so, with our Clean Energy Home Loan, we’re offering 0.40% p.a. off your interest rate for up to five years!
3. Forget sky-high food bills
There’s two different ways to go about food shopping – buy little and often or do a big shop once a week.
Both have one thing in common: Only buying what you need.
Think about what works for you. If you’re a busy parent who works part time or full time, it might make more sense to do one big shop once a week. If you’re not entirely sure when you’re going to be out with friends or actually at home, buying little and often means food won’t sit in the fridge for days and potentially go to waste.
What everyone can do is use leftovers whenever possible and don’t forget older vegetables can still be juiced. Another idea is to grow some of your own food. It’s a fun hobby and herbs and salad leaves are easy to nurture in a sunny spot and it’s also rewarding to eat something you’ve grown yourself.
Hot tip: Never go to the supermarket hungry. You will buy packs of biscuits you don’t need and end up spending money you wouldn’t have otherwise.
4. No emperor really needs new clothes
With so many clothes retailers, online and offline, on sale so much of the time, there’s no need to pay full price for your threads ever again.
If you want to be sustainable and thrifty, charity op shops are the way to go. You’ll find awesome outfits for much less than you would usually pay and you can take comfort in the fact that you haven’t contributed to the never ending landfill of fast fashion. Another idea is to hold a clothes swap party with some friends.
5. Time in the sun
You can also save heaps when it comes to travelling.
There are lots of great house swap sites that enable you to switch homes with another family in Australia or anywhere in the world. Camping or cabins at holiday parks are also ideal for families on a budget. And don’t forget the classic road trip!
And then there's Staycations: The art of staying home and exploring your own backyard. Visit that museum you’ve been telling yourself to check out for years, or venture away from your normal café and check out a new place. Take your book and have brunch, sit in the sun and go for a walk or cycle nearby. There’s so many amazing things to do around you, sometimes it takes a bit of annual leave to find them!
There’s loads of different ways to save on everyday expenses to help reduce your outgoings and improve your finances generally. The idea is to see what works for you and consistently watch your expenses over time!
About the author
Alexandra Cain is a finance journalist who contributes regularly to The Australian Financial Review, The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.
Please note that this article is not financial product advice and does not take into account any person’s individual objectives, financial circumstances or needs.