1. What advice can you give someone wanting to save money on groceries?
The key to saving on groceries is preparation and knowing how to find a deal. For those with the freedom of time on their hands, a quick round trip to multiple stores can easily save you hundreds. Consider ALDI for cleaning products, Woolworths for fresh fruit and veg while Coles can offer great generic products at reduced prices.
Prices also vary from store to store, so be sure to shop in a shopping centre that has multiple supermarkets, not only is their more variety but statistically it is proven to create bigger price wars between chains – resulting in lower prices for your weekly shop.
Another great way to save is to focus on the ‘grocery unit pricing’ which shows you the true cost per KG or sheet (if buying toilet paper) – this allows you to not focus on sales and marketing hype and concentrate on value for money – the true saver.
2. What tips do you have for spending less on home cleaning products?
Cleaning products are nearly always made up of the same chemicals. This means that although you may have a favourite – odds are you are in love with the marketing, not the results.
This means when it comes to cleaning products – focusing on cheaper brands will save you money while still doing the same job. Most cleaning agents contain bleach and other basic disinfectants – something people can easily buy in bulk and prepare in small quantities for use in the home.
The best tip for saving money is to consider ALDI – they have all of the same brands, made up of the same chemicals but for an 8th of the price in some cases.
3. How can people handle the rise in home living expenses?
Begin by living within your means again. Stop relying on credit cards and look to live only on cash. This may mean cutting out some of the little luxuries you have become accustomed to.
List your priorities and refuse to pay for anything that sits outside of them. This may mean buying your daily lunch is off limits – although some may not like the idea of this, what would you prefer – taking a lunch from home or paying off your debt? Surely the latter.
4. What do you find people to be most shocked about in terms of how they can save money around the home?
People are often shocked at how the little things add up. Many readers will believe they are great savers because they opted to not buy the latest and greatest LCD TV with their tax return, however they then go on to spend money on smaller items that they think don’t hurt their budget when really they do.
This is called the ‘Lipstick Factor’ – the idea that although people try and save in tough times, statistically the sale of smaller items like cosmetics and consumer electronics tend to rise in tougher times and overall add up to helping people get into debt.
5. How do I start saving money on power bills?
Saving on power bills can be tricky. Everyone will tell you to simply ‘turn the light off’ when you leave a room, though these tips quickly become old.
The key to saving on power bills is to shop around providers and compare apples with apples. The internet has made is easier to compare power companies – meaning you can easily see which companies will give you better value.
Opt to bundle power with gas and many companies will reduce the costs also.
Another great way to save on power bills is to spend a couple of hundred dollars making your household more sustainable. This means new energy efficient light bulbs, door snakes to stop the cold/heat coming in and potentially replacing old white goods.
For instance, the cost of running an old fridge, dryer and washing machine may cost you far more than simply buying new and energy efficient ones that consume less power.
6. How should people efficiently handle multiple bills that need payment at the same time?
Start a savings account that you regularly add to in anticipation for bigger bills. Do a rough calculation about how much you pay each quarter for big bills like water, gas and electricity and be sure to save a small amount each paycheque towards the ‘billing season’ as we call it.
Read more about the alternative bill strategy whereby you pay each bill the moment you get it (you can only do this once the savings account is up and running).
Also be sure to check what fees and charges you are liable for when making late payments. Often you can let certain suppliers warn you two to three times before any action is taken. This means for those who are struggling, you may be able to claw back some extra time to save for them.
7. Being a savings expert, what have been the best tips you’ve picked up over the years?
The best tip I have ever heard, is now ironically our motto. It goes ‘it’s not how much you earn, it’s how smart you are with your money’. This rings true in many ways, as over the years the readers of Savings Guide that have become financially independent and well off will often have lower salaries than first imagined. Hard work, persistence and a desire to learn how to save on everything they encounter means that their smaller salaries often go further than those with more disposable income.
8. What do you find most households are doing wrong when it comes to spending/saving money?
Most households make the mistake of living above their means and using debt as a way to service the extravagance. Saving for something you want almost seems old-fashioned, yet it still remains one of the most fulfilling things you can do.
Another household mistake we often see is people starting to spend more as they earn more. It sounds so simple, though often people get pay rises and start to get ahead financially only to find new ways to spend the money on items that are doing very little for their overall financial success. The trick is to always have a savings strategy in place to ensure no matter how much you earn, you are working towards goals that will get you out of debt, mortgage free and with a savings account that is nice and healthy ready for a good opportunity.
And if you could give your top five tips for overall saving money to finish off?
- Spend less than you earn.
- Set a savings goal and stick to it.
- Look to save money on everyday items – things you spend on daily.
- Take the time to find a better deal – always.
- Look to use your savings to make you more money.