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22 Quick Tips to Save More Money Today

22 Quick Tips to Save More Money Today

Growing your savings can be a struggle when you are juggling what life throws at you. Managing your money can take a bit of forward thinking but it doesn’t have to be difficult.

Whether you’re a spender or a saver, use these quick tips to save yourself a lot of money this year.

These money tips are not difficult. They are broken down into categories and can be achieved by anyone willing to save more money.

Optimise Your Housing

They say home is where the heart is but it’s also one of the largest spend categories on most people’s budget.

Unless you go without, there is no way around it, shelter is one of the core human needs. Whether you own or rent, everyone needs a place to call home. Australian housing can be very expensive. Here are a few tips to optimise your housing.

Tip #1 Don’t Over Capitalise on Housing

The larger the space, the more it will cost. Don’t overstretch your housing budget when you don’t need to.

If you are single or don't have kids then you likely won’t need a big house with several bedrooms.

If you have many rooms, you will likely only use certain spaces. The rest of the house you may not even touch. Having a bigger house has a flow on effect into other areas of your budget too. It will take more to heat/cool, more electricity to run and more to clean and maintain.

You may be better off in an apartment or a townhouse than a full house.

Tip #2 Find a Housemate

You could buy or rent a house all to yourself but that can be very draining on the budget. Especially when you have to pay rent/mortgage and all utilities by yourself. Co-signing a place to rent is a great way to split the expenses of the household with one or more people. Co-signing a place to rent can save you a large portion of your budget

When you are older it may be harder to tolerate other people in your space. So it is especially a good idea when you are young and at the beginning of your financial journey. Take advantage of cheaper housing with roommates to save more money for as long as you can.

A simple web search finds dozens of websites advertising housemates available.

Tip #3 Rent Out a Spare Room

If you’re happy where you live but bigger than you need, you can rent out the spare rooms. Websites like AirBNB can be useful if you want the extra money but don’t want a permanent housemate. You can turn on and off the availability when you see fit.

Optimise Your Bills

Nobody likes to have to pay their money on bills. The reality is that bills are a part of life that you can’t avoid. That’s not to say you can’t optimise your bills to reduce or remove the ongoing cost.

Here are the top tips to optimise your bills

Tip #4 Ask for a Better Rate

Utility companies are a dime a dozen. There are always utility companies competing to gain your business.

You can take advantage of this by finding a better deal. Either by switching companies or calling the utility provider to ask for a better rate.

You will have more success if you let the company know of a better deal from a competing provider.

Be careful of introductory offers where you’re later switched to an expensive rate. Aim to review the plans you have annually.

Also be aware that some utilities may charge either an exit or start up fee. You may be charged a meter reading fee if you do not have a smart reader on your electricity.

Tip #5 Reduce Your Plans if You Don’t Use Them to Full Capacity

Do you use all what you are paying for? Mobile and internet plans are a great example that can be reduced depending on your usage needs.

Review how your phone bill usage averages over a period of months. If you are continually below what your plan includes, it’s time to decrease the plan. There are so many factors to consider but here are the most common:

  1. The cost of a phone plan used to be based on the number of phone calls you made. Then text messages you sent. Both are rarely anything but unlimited today. Phone providers now charge based on the amount of data provided.
  2. If you are always connected to wifi then you aren’t using your phone’s data.
  3. You use data on your phone for lots of things. This can include streaming media, backups, app usage/downloads and browsing the internet. Utilise your home internet to download content before leaving wifi, you may be able to cut down on a lot of data used. Disable internet access to apps that you don’t want to use the data.
  4. Avoid annual/biennial phone plans. Data is always getting cheaper and newer technology is coming out (4G, 5G etc). An annual phone plan is a way for a phone company to lock you in. If you’re on a monthly plan then you have more flexibility if a better deal comes available.
  5. Consider 365 days plans. These plans are different to annual plans in that you buy the plan upfront and it lasts for a year. These plans can be cheaper than other plans because phone companies rely on you using all your data. When you use up your data, you can recharge.

Tip #6 Cancel Your Bills Altogether

Consider whether you actually need the bills you are paying for in the first place. The less ongoing fees you have to pay, the more you will be able to save.

Subscription Streaming Services

Subscription streaming services are great to binge watch your favourite shows. But are you watching several different providers throughout the month? Consider cancelling the services you are not fully utilising.

Most streaming services have the ability to create profiles for different people. It allows multiple people to watch the service at once. You could share the subscription costs between family members.

Internet

Do you use your phone to access the internet? Do you need to pay for both broadband and mobile internet? You could go the reverse and increase your mobile phone plan and cancel your home internet.

This may not be suitable if you have other people and devices all using the internet. Your phone has the ability to hotspot or share its internet with your computer if you need.

Control Your Food and Drink Consumption

Food is one area of your budget that can blow out of control if you are not careful.

You can spend a little or a lot of money on food and drink.

It’s easy to go out to a fancy restaurant or bar and blow your entire week’s food budget in one evening. That’s ok if it’s what you plan for but if it isn’t, here are some ways to keep your food and drink consumption in check.

Tip #7 Meal Prep

Planning out and going to the shops to buy exactly what ingredients you need for the week will

  1. Reduce wasted food
  2. Stop unnecessary spending

It will also mean that you are not spending unnecessary time and buying extra food you don’t need each time.

If you buy a bulk amount of an ingredient such as meat, you may be able to get it for less per gram. You can then use it across different meals throughout the week.

You could also cook double and swap half with a neighbour, friend or family member’s meal. By doing this, it lowers the variety of ingredients you need to buy but also allows you to buy in bulk.

Tip #8 Make Meals at Home

Ordering food out is almost always more expensive than making the meal at home. This is especially true if you are feeding many people. You can make a meal for a fraction of the cost.

Often ordering takeaway is because you can’t be bothered cooking after a long day. In cases where you know you won’t be in the mood to make anything, try freezing a couple of meals and use those instead.

If you do not have the skills or are too lazy, you can buy a meal kit that you can make at home. This can help get you in the habit of not always choosing food deliveries. Although they are often not as affordable as buying your own ingredients. It does ensure you have a nutritious meal without waste.

HelloFresh is a great meal kit solution. Use this link to get $100 off your first order.

Tip #9 Bulk Buy

Buying in bulk usually allows for cheaper cost per item because you’re buying in volume. Manufacturing is almost always cheaper when produced in volume. Buying in bulk makes sense if you are going to be using all the product before it expires. E.g. buying a refill bottle of olive oil rather than a small bottle. Refill the smaller bottle when empty.

It does not make sense if it increases your usage of the product more than you usually would. E.g. you buy a slab of alcohol but drink more than you would a four or six-pack.

Buying in bulk also requires extra storage and to be diligent. You need to remember to use it before buying another or it expiring.

Tip #10 Shop Around

Of course you want to buy the best quality ingredients for your meals. That doesn’t mean you need to only shop at one store. Shopping at a supermarket like Aldi can be cheaper than Coles or Woolworths. Shopping at a farmers market can be better still and the quality is usually the same or better.

Tip #11 Grow Your Own Food

Growing your own food is a great way to lower your food bill if you have the space to do so.

It is not difficult to grow a couple of veggies like lettuce, tomato and herbs in a very tiny space. You will get the benefit of eating fresh food and won’t need to buy these items.

Tip #12 Drink Less or Choose Where You Drink

The cost of drinking alcohol out adds up. Especially if this is something that you regularly do. Sure it’s great to be social with friends but this can very easily be done at a private venue or in moderation. It’s far cheaper to buy a 6 pack than it is to buy 6 beers from the bar.

The same goes for Coffee drinking. Sure the act of drinking coffee at a cafe is nice but if you do that at least once a day can be a significant expense over a year. Especially if you are purchasing a cheeky snack to go with it.

You can buy a pod coffee machine or a good home coffee machine for a small outlay. You then brew your own coffee for a fraction of the cost of a store bought coffee. You’re also doing the world a favour by using a reusable mug.

Review Insurances

Insurance is something you don’t need until you do. It is a contract that helps to protect you from unexpected emergencies. Like your bills, insurance companies are a dime a dozen. You can get insurances for all types of things, eg. car, house, health etc.

Tip #13 Review Your Insurance Policies

It is worth reviewing your insurance policies on an annual basis. You need to make sure the policy still covers what you need to be insured. It is also a good idea to review other providers to see if they have a better offering.

Tip #14 Look After Your Health

Private health insurance covers policyholders of certain hospital and medical expenses. These expenses are not covered under the public health system. You can also use private health insurance if you choose to be treated in a private hospital.

Medicare is Australia’s public health system. Australia’s public health system is among the best in the world. It helps with the costs of seeing a doctor and getting medicines.

Private health insurance is optional health insurance and not everyone may need it. Whether you choose to have it or not, you can’t put a price on having good health. It might sound counterintuitive but having regular health checkups can prevent bigger issues.

Your Car

Cars are necessary for us to get around. Australia is a large place and, unless you’re in built up areas with good public transport, you need a car. Here’s a couple of things you can do to save money when dealing with a car.

Tip #15 Don’t Buy on Finance

The age old argument is that you need a brand new car because it is safer and more reliable. But is buying a new car worth the extra you will have to pay?

A new car for many is out of reach unless you buy on finance. Buying on finance means that you take out a loan to buy the vehicle. The loan will usually range between one to seven years. You will be charged interest over the duration of the loan which could be thousands of dollars.

Unless it will make you money in other ways, It is good practice to never buy a depreciating asset by taking out a loan. In other words, if you pay for something that loses value and you need to pay for the privilege (interest) then it’s a bad idea.

As soon as you drive the car out of the car yard, it will have lost value because it’s not considered new anymore.

If you can’t afford to buy a car brand new outright then you probably shouldn’t buy a brand new car in the first place. You can buy a second hand car that is almost brand new for a fraction of the cost of a brand new car. If it’s almost new then it should still be reliable. You can buy it with money saved and not have to take out a loan. By doing so, will save you potentially thousands of dollars in interest.

Tip #16 Get Your Car Serviced

Getting your car serviced is like having a regular health checkup. It ensures you are seeing and resolving any problems before they become a major concern.

Even though regular checkups may cost a fee, they can help prevent major problems before they happen.

Tip: Learn how to change your own motor oil.

The flip side to getting your car regularly serviced is to know when to let it go. There gets a stage where your older car costs more to maintain than it does to have it. This is different for each car but you will know when the costs become higher. Bigger issues will start happening to your car.

When it does cost more, this is when you should consider whether it is time to buy a newer car.

Tip #17 Reduce the Amount You Drive

The more wear and tear you do to your car, the more it will cost to maintain. That is also true for how far you drive it. Can you cut down on your driving?

If you are out, instead of driving back home and then going out again, why not plan a round trip. It will save time and less driving rather than making a seperate trip.

Do you need a car at all? If you live close to work, you can buy a bike or walk. It will save on petrol and you will have the health benefit of the exercise. If you find that you are able to reduce your car usage enough, you could even get rid of your car. You wont have to pay registration fees each year. You could use ride sharing services or car rental services like carnextdoor.

Buying Stuff

Buying new things is fun. It can increase your dopamine (the “happy hormone”). This helps you justify your purchase and encourages you to spend more. But do you really need the item you are purchasing?

Tip #18 Don’t Buy Stuff You Dont Need

People accumulate a lot of “stuff” throughout their life. The average Australian has 21 unwanted items lying around in their house according to a report by Gumtree. That averages to around $5300/household.

A rule by Japanese organising consultant, Marie Kondo, is to ask yourself “does this item spark joy?”. Or in other words, does it make you feel happy or an essential item regularly used around the house. If it’s not then it might be better to not buy it.

Keep the impulse buying at bay by waiting 48 hours before buying any new items you’re bringing into your house. If after 2 days you still want it then that should be enough time to curb unnecessary spending. You know you don’t need more junk around your house.

Tip #19 Buy a Second Hand Phone

Phone manufacturers release new phones every year to entice you to buy a new phone. It’s how they continue to make record profits each year. But is a slightly better camera and other minor new features worth the upgrade every single year?

When it comes to phones you have three options.

  1. Buy a new phone or receive a new phone on a phone plan.
  2. Buy a good new phone and hold onto it for several years.
  3. Buy a second hand phone.

If you buy a new phone every year, you’re paying more so we can dismiss this option.

If you buy a new phone you will want to consider if you are able to keep a phone for a long period of time without breaking it. You will want to protect it with a good case and screen protector.

The phone battery will also wear out over time. If you are holding onto it for a long time then you may want to replace the battery. Batteries cost a small fraction of the cost of a new phone.

You can buy a second hand phone for a fraction of the price of a brand new phone. If the phone is like new, this could be an option for you. You will want to make sure you know the history of the phone. If it was refurbished, then you want to make sure there is a warranty as there is more chance the phone will break down.

Tip #20 Haggle Big Purchases

Whenever you are purchasing items from a big store, ask the sales assistant for a discount. There will always be margin that they can sacrifice to ensure they get the sale. You will have a better chance of receiving the discount if you can find another store offering the same product for less. There is no harm in asking.

A good rule of thumb is to Google the product before you commit to buying. Businesses list their products online. You will often find that product to compare the price.

If you don’t need the item right away, consider waiting until there is a sale on. Businesses may take part in several well known ones each year. The sales that occur each year are:

  • June – End of financial year
  • November – Black Friday/Cyber Monday
  • December – Boxing Day

That gives you a chance at least every 6 months to buy things on sale.

Tip #21 Buy Second Hand

Do you need to buy everything brand new? Clothes, furniture and toys are bought from second hand or op-shop stores. By buying second hand from an op-shop, you are supporting a good cause.

Some people may think that buying second hand things is not hygienic. But think about when you go to a restaurant or stay at a hotel. Everything has been used by hundreds of people. This is just a way of thinking. Of course you will properly clean the second hand items before you use them.

You are also doing the world a favour by reusing.

Tip #22 Borrow Instead of Buying

If you need something, can you get away with not having to buy it? There are many ways to avoid spending money on things. Avoid buying if you only need to use it once or infrequently.

Are you friends with your neighbour? Or perhaps a family or friend has what you are after?

You can hire tools and equipment from stores and places like libraries are around for your benefit.

If you are after an item like a book but they don’t have it, you can often ask and they will order it in for you.

Libraries have more than just books too. You can borrow movies, magazines and some libraries even have board games as well. They also have online services to access learning platforms and audiobooks.

Force Savings

Don’t waste the money that you have saved, put it to work in the best way you’re comfortable with.

Do you have the highest interest savings account you can for your cash savings?

When your salary comes in, it should automatically move to the appropriate accounts. so that you aren’t tempted to use the money.

Some people find apps that offer round-ups to be useful to force savings.

Micro investing apps like Raiz and Spaceship offer this feature.

When you save consistently as early as you can, you will be surprised at how quickly your money grows. The power of compounding begins to kick in.

Conclusion

Saving money on your budget comes down to reducing consumption and spending less. The good thing about a budget is there are many ways you can optimise it. When you decide what is and is not important to you, you can then prioritise areas to save.

It’s not about how much money you make but about how much you keep. – Robert Kiyosaki

Remember that saving money does not mean you should compromise on quality of life. It also means that you should be aware of perceived quality of life. Or things that are marketed at improving your life but are not much real value to you.

You won’t be able to know what areas of your spending you can optimise if you don’t know where you are spending your money. Track your expenses and review on a consistent basis. You should be doing regular reviews of it inline with your pay cycle. Reviewing yearly will also help you see how you went throughout the year. It gives you the chance to improve on the following year.

Finally, no one ever got rich cancelling their netflix account. But, no-one ever got rich spending all their money too.

If you are looking to increase your money, your best returns will come from increasing your income.

Has the discipline of budgeting helped you save more money? If not, it might be time to try Fichest to budget better.