If saving money seems like too hard a task, it’s good to start slow. Here are 50 simple ways to save money – start today!
1. Track your expenditure. Use a diary or if you have a Smart Phone use an app such as iXpenseit. (Little hint – if you subscribe to the Stay at Home Mum newsletter – you get a free budget spreadsheet!).
2. Keep track of your tax deductions during the entire year and file all receipts in one spot. If you enter your receipts into a spreadsheet – not only will it make your accountants job much easier – there is a good chance they will charge you less for the work!
3. Use tax returns to pay off debt such as credit cards and minimise the interest you have to pay.
4. Ensure you have registered as a family for the Medicare Safety Net rather than as two individuals. This will lower your Medicare Safety Net Threshold. Once you reach a certain limit, you can get more money back for out of hospital expenses.
5. Ask your bank to review your accounts to make sure you are getting the best deal. And even if you are getting a good deal, ask for a better deal for being a loyal customer.
6. Limit your ATM transactions to once a week to avoid excess fees. Only use your own bank’s ATM.
7. Review your home loan package. Research competitors and pressure your lender for a better deal.
8. Check with the Australian Tax Office to see if you have any lost super and consolidate.
9. Make extra contributions to your superannuation if you are eligible to do so via the government’s co-contribution scheme. Not only are you providing more income for when you retire, often if you ‘salary sacrifice’ additional funds into your super, you can end up with more in your pay packet (because you can lower your tax bracket – ask your accountant!).
10. If you have internet, home phone and mobile – ring your provider to see if you can get a bundle deal to save.
11. Update your work skills. Check if your eligible for any government programs or subsidies.
12. Grow your own vegetables and herbs. It is easy to do and you can’t get any fresher than your own back garden!
13. Make your own fertiliser. Compost or invest in a worm farm. Not only will you save money but you’re helping the environment.
14. Never water the garden between 10am and 2pm. Water is evaporated and lost in the heat.
15. Place a bucket in the bottom of the shower and use the gathered water to give your dry garden a good soaking.
17. Make your own cleaning products. Vinegar and eucalyptus a great household cleaners.16. Cook and freeze your own biscuits, slices and cakes. Not only is it cheaper – it tastes better.
18. Pack rather than buy lunch each day – you will save hundreds. Even better, freeze your lunches to eat during the week to ensure there is no wastage!
19. Plan your meals in advance and never go grocery shopping without a list and never shop hungry. This prevents impulse buying.
20. Switch to generic brands. They are often made from the same ingredients in the same factory, with a different label.
21. Buy in bulk and save. Cook larger portions and freeze for later.
22. Reduce the number of packaged convenience foods your purchase. Buy fresh. It’s cheaper and better for you.
23. Try cheaper nappy brands or buy your nappies in bulk when they are on sale.
24. If possible, breastfeed. It’s good for baby, convenient and free.
25. Make homemade baby food. Buying two jars a day can cost in excess of $1000 per year.
26. Put all your $2 coins into a coin tin or a 2 litre empty coke bottle and use the money to pay for food or drinks during the school holidays.
27. Shop at clearance centres and factory outlets. Also don’t forget discount stores like The Reject Shop and Dimmies – they often have discount dishwasher tables and spaghetti sauces at cheaper prices than the supermarket.
28. Plan to shop during sale periods. Most supermarkets have a ‘8 Week Sale Cycle’ – so buy the more expensive products like bottled coffee during the sale period, and try and make it last until the next cycle – if you can!
29. Swap to energy efficient globes and water saving showerheads.
30. Consider purchasing second-hand white goods or display models which come with a discount if you need to purchase white goods. Also consider getting rid of old whitegoods, often they are energy in-efficient – so they cost you more in electricity than they would to replace (over the course of a year). Ditch the old chest freezer and grab a new upright instead!
31. Wash in cold water and dry clothes on the clothes line rather than in the dryer.
32. Wash your own car – let the kids help, it can be fun.
33. During the School Holidays – consider a ‘Staycation’ rather than a holiday. Sleep in your own bed every night, but still go out and do something fun during the day!
34. When travelling with the kids – pack food and drinks and stop in parks and reserves.
35. When travelling consider hostels or cabins as opposed to hotels.
36. Use libraries rather than buy books. You can also borrow children’s dvd’s and cd’s.
37. Shop at charity stores. Good on your wallet, good for charity, good for the environment.
38. During school holidays contact your local Council to find out about free holiday activities in your area.
39. Take the kids for a bushwalk and a picnic.
40. Having a dinner party – make it pot luck. Everyone brings a dish and the expense is shared.
41. Join a local playgroup (or host your own!) – a fun and inexpensive way to entertain your toddler. Also check out what programs you local library has for the little ones – they often have a free baby and toddler activity group during the week.
42. Establish a babysitting circle and trade services with trusted friends.
43. Organise a toy exchange. Swap toys your children no longer use.
44. Barter with friends and family e.g. a basket of ironing for some home cooking.
45. Refrain from buying bottled water, take your own, its free and better for the environment.
46. Save on Christmas wrap, use brown paper and dress with ribbon or let the kids decorate it.
47. Save on Christmas cards – supply your children with craft supplies and have them make cards for you.
48. Save on Christmas decorations. Make paper wreaths and window decorations with the kids.
49. Purchase LED lights for decorating the house. Though more expensive to buy they are cheaper to run and last longer.
50. Make homemade Christmas gifts e.g. food or set a family spend limit. Secret Santa is also a good way to limit expenditure in large families.