Saving money is a good thing no matter what time of year it is, but if you’re yet to implement an approach that works, here are some ideas to kick off a new season.
- Leave your credit card at home
It might sound like an obvious one, but taking out cash rather than a credit card can keep you from over spending, as when the money is gone, it’s gone.
Credit cards are also typically more expensive than other forms of borrowing. Plus, when you don’t pay your balance in full, interest is payable—and that includes when you pay the minimum owing.
- Honour thy shopping list
Writing a shopping list based on what’s at home and what you plan to cook during the week means you can avoid buying more than what you need and purchasing items you can probably go without.
With food wastage leaving the average household out of pocket by anywhere from $1,036 to over $3,500 every year, it’s worth some thought.
- Take public transport
Uber rides may be cheaper than the common taxi fare, but if you really want to cut down on your transport bill, public transport is often a great option.
In fact, estimates show that catching public transport may be up to four times cheaper than travelling by car, and it reduces the cost of buying, maintaining and running your own vehicle.
- Call your providers’ competitors
Research shows a typical household could save over $1,000 on their electricity bill every year just by switching to a provider with a cheaper energy plan.
Now apply that thinking to your mobile, internet, gas, car and credit card as well, and you realise the potential savings you could make annually, simply by shopping around.
- Roll your debts into one
If all the small debts you once had, have multiplied and grown into bigger debts—you’ll be pleased to know it is possible to roll them into a single loan, and reduce what you pay in fees and interest.
If you owe a lot, it could mean thousands of dollars in savings over the longer term.
- Sell your unwanted stuff online
According to the annual Second Hand Economy Report, commissioned by Gumtree, 89% of Australians have around $5,000 worth of unwanted goods just lying around the home.
The most common unused items listed on the report were clothes, shoes, and accessories (61%), books (53%), music, DVDs and CDs (51%), games and toys (49%).
- Change your light bulbs
It’s not a myth—energy-efficient light bulbs use about 25% to 80% less energy than traditional incandescent light bulbs and generally last three to 25 times longer.
Not only that, energy efficient appliances across the board—fridges, washing machines, microwaves and air conditioners—can literally save households hundreds of dollars a year in running costs, with such appliances accounting for up to 33% of people’s home energy use.
- Know where your super’s at
More than $14 billion was sitting in over 5.7 million lost and unclaimed super accounts across the country as at 30 June 2016, so if you don’t know where yours is sitting, it’s worth investigating and we can even do the legwork for you.
- Take your own food and drinks
If you’ve been to the cinema or a football game recently, you’ll probably agree that this is a sure way to reduce what you fork out on snacks and beverages.
Similarly, making your own coffee, buying a reusable drink bottle and taking lunch from home each day can make a huge difference to what you spend when you’re at work.
- Use ATMs that don’t charge you
If you’re not using your own bank’s ATM, you’re probably paying around a $2 fee every time you withdraw some money.
Who cares about $2 right? Well, say you withdraw money four times a week from an ATM that charges you for it, that’s over $400 a year you’re forking out just to access your own cash.
- Cut down on the sneaky spending habits
If you wore a new outfit Saturday that you insisted your mum bought you ages ago, you’re not alone—Aussies fork out nearly $3,000 a year on purchases they hide from their other half.
Topping the list for hidden purchases are clothing, followed by gambling, junk food and cigarettes.
- Go where the happy hour’s at
If you like to go out and don’t see that changing anytime soon, the good news is there are plenty of places where you can find two-for-one offers and other cheap deals.
Apps like TheHappiestHour can give you ideas, with 4,000 specials listed from around Australia and New Zealand. And, you may even find some new venues you haven’t tried along the way.
- Get your hair done at a fraction of the price
If you haven’t added up what you spend on your hair each year, before you do the maths and freak out, the good news is there are student colleges and salons that charge a fraction of the normal price if you’re happy to model for an apprentice who’s completing their training.
- Forget about the Joneses
The pressure to stay up-to-date with your neighbours, peers and even celebrity icons can be a subconscious motivation behind many poor financial decisions.
Try to keep in mind the old adage—too often we buy things we don’t need with money we don’t have to impress people we don’t like.