Who doesn’t like to save money? No matter how much you make and where you are in your financial journey, it is always beneficial to do an assessment of your financial situation and make room for improvement. Our main concern was, the fixed overhead cost of running our household was quite high. But we are not around much to enjoy these things we paid for. Our motivation was to run the household as lean as possible but at the same time, we don’t want to do it by ‘going without’.
So we look at ways to fine tune our lifestyle choices in an effort to cut down the fixed cost and save money. Yet we still want to enjoy the finer things in life. Here are some of the lifestyle swap we have personally tried. Just by adopting these tips the last 2 years, as a household we have saved more than $10,000 per year!
The best thing about this money saving tips are, we never feel like we have sacrificed our quality of life to go lean, and that the steps are easily doable, not time consuming or make you do too much extra work.
We hope these money saving ideas will help you pay off your debts, have more money in the bank, save for that house deposit or simply achieve your financial goals.
Swap Foxtel with Netflix/Stan
Platinum HD package, goes for around $120 per month @ $1440 annually. Not to mention paying $49.99 for every paper view or $5 for new movies. You could easily rack up to $200 per month just on cable bills. Scrap the Foxtel, and if you really cannot live with normal TV, get Netflix or Stan or even both. Starting from $9.99 per month @ $119.88 annually with no lock in contract, getting rid of your Platinum package will ultimately save you $1,320.
Shop at Factory Outlet Stores
Big fan of expensive brands? Instead of paying full price for shoes, handbags or even clothes, shop at the factory outlets stores. Find great products at 50% to 75% discounts. If you are fine with last season’s items, this is the way to do. We purchase majority of our clothing and accessories this way and the savings are phenomenal!
Utilise the Free Fitness Sessions
There are plenty of outlets offering free fitness! Health Insurances such as HBF and Medibank, and even your local council offers fitness sessions during the warmer weather. That is good 3 to 4 months of free training outdoors, which will give you the experience, knowledge and workout buddies to continue working out for free outdoors. Furthermore, enhance your free fitness experience with free workout apps such as the Nike+ Training Club App. At a minimum of $15 per week for a gym membership, switching to free fitness session saves you $780 per year.
Make you Own Cafe Quality Coffee
Okay, this is sort of obvious. Paying $0.50 for a cup of coffee instead of $4 regular coffee daily. That itself is a saving of $800. Invest on a coffee machine and purchase your favourite grind in bulk online. To zazz it up a bit more, get yourself one of those eco-friendly reusable coffee cup. This way you save money and the environment. Win win!
Swap Hotel Stays with Camping
Travelling local for a short break a few times a year? Instead of paying premium rate of around $150 per night on weekends or school holidays, go camping instead. You won’t miss out on the finer things if you camp at powered sites. The facilities available at the caravan parks and camping grounds are usually great and you pay around $30 per night for powered site. Depending on the nights spent for local holidays, you stand to save between $120 to $500 just by switching to camping. On top of that, new adventure awaits!
Buy Discounted Movie Tickets or Free Movie Screening
Check your local guide for community run outdoor movie screenings and make a night out of it by bringing a picnic. If you are more interested in the latest releases, never pay full price for cinema tickets. You can get discounted ones through providers such as Optus, RACV or Telstra. That is easily a saving of minimum of $11 per person.
Trim your Hair at $10 salon
A regular salon charges starts at $30 for the same service and if you need hair maintenance every 6 to 8 weeks, that can add up. This is a perfect option if all you are after is a no frills quick trim and groom in a salon-like environment. That is a saving of at least $160 annually.
Shop at Discount Stores
Before you think about buying anything ask yourself this question ‘Can I get the same thing or similar at the discount store ’ Things like detergent, food container, personal care products and DIY craft items are simply cheaper from stores such as Reject Shop
Stream Music for Free
Why buy music when you can access free music from Spotify, IheartRadio, Pandora, Deezer? Stream people, Stream!
Have a Picnic Instead of Eating Out
Eating out is fun, but you also pay an average of $100 at a mid-range restaurant. How about doing the same thing for much less using existing ingredients you have at home? Here in Smithsology, we love our picnics! Try a different menu, get yourself a decent bottle of wine and drive to beautiful picnic spot. Have dinner with a view overlooking the lake or while watching beautiful sunset. Sometimes you may get the area all to yourselves! Swapping restaurant dinners with a picnic even once a month, could potentially save you up to $1000 a year!
Refuel on Cheap Days
Make sure you refuel your vehicle on days and location where it is cheap. It has been said that Tuesday is the cheapest fuel day, but this is not always true! You can easily determine the cheapest servo nearest to you by downloading fuel watch app such as Motor Mouth. Filling up at the right time could potentially save you as much as $500 a year.
Bring your Own Lunch
Buying lunch daily can contribute to expanding waistline and wallet emptying. It is often a purchase of convenience. Going with greasy burgers, chips and soft drinks is a quick fix when you are only afforded short amount of time for lunch. A lunch meal will cost between $10 to $15 @ $3450 annually. Try bringing your leftovers instead, it only takes 3 minutes to pack your lunch.This way you get to choose the best snacks, the best lunch and savings enough to pay for a luxurious week’s trip to Bali!
Bundle your Bills
We used to pay $260 per month on 2 mobile bills, internet and landline, which is ridiculous. Each service was with different providers as well. So, we went to each telecom providers and got a quote for our mobile, internet and landline in a bundle. We ended up bundling up and paid $210 instead. Nothing’s changed but the amount of $$ we saving.
Shop Around for Energy Retailer
We never thought we could ‘cut back’ on our Gas bills. We are almost never home, but our gas bills always seem to sit around $130/month in warmer weather and a whopping $240/month in winter. That is until a colleague suggested a switch to another provider who happens to be cheaper. We did a further shop around and found that other energy retailers offer better discounts and our energy retailer is just blatantly ripping us off! So we made the switch and what a difference! Our bills went down to $70/month in warmer weather and $140/month in winter. The best part is, switching took us only 10 minutes! So now we make sure to shop around for energy prices every 6 months or so to make sure we keep getting the best value for money. We saved $1800 ever since we made the switch 2 years ago.
Buy Home Brand Groceries
You can easily slash your shopping bills by 30% just by swapping your usual branded items with generic home brands. This is especially for items that in our opinions does ‘make a difference’. This include items such as pasta, rice, biscuits, pet food, laundry detergent, paper towels. Our grocery bills went down from the average of $100 per week to $80 by switching to home brands.