Alexandra Cain Finance Writer
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 forethought, it’s easy to slash your expenses dramatically.
1. Cut your phone costs
Telecommunications expenses are often one of a household’s major costs, especially as we consume so much data 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 in the market. Some of the newer providers in the market are offering great deals to attract new customers and it’s worth talking to them about what they can offer you. 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
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 a second fridge when it’s 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.
3. Forget sky-high food bills
It’s really easy to run to the local shops to pick up a few things for dinner. Although it’s convenient, this approach will see your food bills skyrocket.
Instead, try to plan ahead and buy in bulk, use leftovers whenever possible and don’t forget older vegetables can still be juiced. Another idea is to grow some of your own food. Herbs and salad leaves are easy to nurture in a sunny spot and it’s also rewarding to eat something you’ve grown yourself.
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.
You can also get great, brand new, discounted clothes from eBay. Another idea is to hold a clothes swap party with some friends. Charity shops are also a great source if you want new or used gear.
5. Time in the sun
You can also save substantially on your holiday costs.
For instance 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.
Staycations – staying home and doing leisure activities around where you live – are another option for a less expensive holiday.
As you can see, there are lots of 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.