Tips to save money can get very old, very fast. The usual clichés of ‘cutting back on buying coffee’, ‘taking your lunch to work’ are all very valid tips, however to say they are getting a bit boring is an understatement.
This is why I wanted to put together a list of 20 tips to save money that you may not have thought about before. They are a little different and I hope that at minimum, you may find one or two that could start to make a positive contribution towards your money saving effort.
Here are 20 ways to save money on everyday expenses in life.
20. Use Plastic Bags
I don’t know about you, but I seem to collect a lot of plastic bags! Sure you can take reusable bags when you do your everyday grocery shopping to do your bit for the environment, but you will still collect some plastic bags along the way – so why not use those instead of purchasing garbage bags to put your rubbish in? We have ours hanging from our pantry door, and they also fit extremely well into a medium sized bin.
19. Switch To LED Light bulbs
Do you remember years ago when we were all told to switch from the old incandescent lightbulbs to the new, more environmentally friendly compact fluoro bulb? Well meet his big brother – the LED lightbulb! LED lightbulb’s, although initially costing a bit more to purchase, will save you a fortune on your electricity bill, as they use very little energy to run and can last up to 50,000 hours! There may also be government incentives available, so make sure you look out for those also.
18. Cut Your Own Food!
Are you really that time poor that you need to be paying someone else to cut your pumpkin or chicken breasts for you? You can end up paying more than triple the price for pre-cut vegetables and meat, so save some cash and slice that chicken breast into stir-fry strips yourself!
17. Only Take Cash On Nights Out
How many times have you spent way too much on a fun night out because you took your bank card with you? Visit the ATM beforehand and then leave your cards at home! This will ensure you only spend your budgeted amount whilst out, and will save you from balance shock the next morning!
16. Eat Out On Cheaper Nights
I hate being told that the only way to save is to cook all of my own meals – well that is great in theory, but sometimes you just want to go out! There is no need to take this pleasure away from yourself and your family – you just need to think smart beforehand. Most good eateries have specials during the week where you can land yourself a fantastic meal at a much cheaper price – so next time you go out, look to see if they have cheaper steaks on a Tuesday, or Parma nights on Thursdays, and plan your dinners out accordingly!
15. Share A Family Meal At Work
While we are on the topic of eating out, I will share this little gem with you – why not share a family meal with your co-workers on a Friday? Our workplace has what we like to call “Lunch Order Fridays”, where everybody brings their lunch to work from home during the week, and on a Friday we get takeaway. Now takeaway can easily cost $15 per person if you are each buying meals, but if you team up with a few work buddies and split a family meal, your cost will each go down significantly.
14. Stop Flushing Your Money Down The Toilet!
Let’s be honest – do you really need to be spending all that money on 3-ply, fancily embossed, scented toilet paper, that you will be literally flushing down the toilet moments after use? The marketing gurus are great at convincing us that this is something we need to be shelling out more for, but trust me, the cheaper stuff does exactly the same job! Save your money for something you can be proud of, rather than something that belongs down the drain!
13. Attend Free Local Events
Wanting to get out of the house this weekend? Check out your local council’s webpage to see what free local events are on in your area, or subscribe to their Facebook page for updates.
12. Substitute Ingredients
Don’t you hate it when you are in the middle of whipping up an amazing culinary creation, and you turn to the fridge to grab an egg just to realise you are all out? I know I do! But rather than jumping in the car to not only buy the eggs I need, but also run the risk of adding an extra 11 items to my basket that I don’t need, how about googling to see if there is a substitute? Only last week I used a tablespoon of applesauce in my muffins as an egg substitute – and the result? PERFECT! Give it a try next time you are out of something!
11. Put Your Shopping List On Your Fridge
While we are on the subject of running out of ingredients, a great way of ensuring you have those eggs for next time is to keep a running shopping list on the fridge. Every time you use the last of something, or notice you might be low, just add it to the list. This should help minimise the need to run to the shops in the first place, cutting down that risk of all those extra goodies creeping into your shopping basket.
10. Meatless Mondays
Meat is crazy expensive these days, am I right? One way of trying to cut down your grocery bill is to have “Meatless Mondays”. There are many delicious vegetarians’ meals out there, which are a fraction of the cost of a meaty version. Give them a try and you may surprise yourself at how much you can enjoy a meal without meat having to be the star on the plate!
9. Set Bill Reminders On Your Phone
I hate to brag, but I have never paid a late fee on a bill – you want to know why? As soon as my bills come in a set a reminder on my phone to alert me 2 days before it is due, so that I can make sure that I am paying it on time. Some people may prefer to set up direct debit arrangements with their service providers, but I like to be in control of when my money leaves my account, and with these handy little reminders on my phone I can do just that!
8. Utilise A Mortgage Offset Account
Talk to your bank about the option of setting up a free mortgage offset account, if suitable for your type of loan. Mortgage offset accounts are a brilliant idea, as you organise to have your pay deposited into this account, and use it as normal, but it has the benefit of any funds in it being used to help reduce the interest calculated on your mortgage.
7. When A Reward Is Not A Reward
Never buy something just to get the reward that comes along with it – I’m looking at you Mr Supermarket Reward Program! As lovely as it sounds to get bonus reward points, or dollars off my next shop, or even a percentage off if I spend a certain amount, I am telling you it is not worth it if you had no intention of making the purchase in the first place! I am not saying there is no value in these incentives, as sometimes you can use them to your advantage and stock up on an item you were planning on buying anyway, but if your weekly grocery budget is $100, don’t spend $200 just to earn a few extra points!
6. Not All Pharmacies Are The Same
Did you know you can save a fortune on your prescriptions just by shopping around? Discount pharmacies offer great low prices on prescriptions, so make sure you don’t pay more for your medicine than you have to. I recently needed a repeat on a prescription filled, and was shocked when the pharmacy I went to wanted to charge me almost $10 more for exactly the same product.
5. The Truth About Vitamins
Vitamin tablets are one of the biggest industries in Australia, as we are all very health conscious – which is not a bad thing! But did you know that if you are eating a well-balanced diet, that most of that vitamin tablet you just swallowed is going to go straight through you and out the other end with little to no benefit to you at all? Unless your doctor has recommended you take a vitamin supplement, skip this unneeded expense!
4. Share A Suitcase
You’ve saved all your hard earned money, and are now ready to book yourself a family holiday – well done! One we save ourselves a little more each time we fly is to combine our suitcases and save on paying for extra luggage on our flights. My family of 5 and I recently travelled to Japan (YAY!), and on our flights we shoved all of our clothing into 3 suitcases, saving ourselves from paying for 2 unneeded suitcases. Of course you need to be mindful of weight limitations, so make sure you weigh your suitcases before you go, as paying for those extra kilos could end up costing you more than if you had paid for the extra checked in baggage!
3. Send An Email Instead
When you need to contact a service provider or want to make an enquiry regarding a product, if you don’t need an immediate response – send an email rather than picking up the phone. Most services charge a standard fee to call their “13” or “1300” number from a landline (or even more from a mobile), whereas sending an email is free.
2. Drink Tap Water
Bottled water is one of the biggest wastes of money I have ever heard of! Bottled water costs most than petrol in comparison, yet I don’t hear of there being price enquiries into this crazy rip off, do you? So do yourself a favour and put the bottled water down, do over to the tap, and pour yourself a cup of virtually free H2O!
1. Be Wary Of Supermarket Fuel Vouchers
Using a supermarket fuel voucher can be a great saving, if used correctly! It makes no sense to drive out of your way just to save a few cents, so make sure you are not making a special trip just to fill up using your voucher. Also be wary that the price at these petrol stations is generally more expensive in the first place to give the illusion you are making a saving, when you really may be better off filling up at the petrol station across the street which offers no fuel discount at all!