Saving money is not fun, nor is it easy. It requires patience, commitment and discipline. However, there are likely some simple changes we can make in our day-to-day life that can contribute further to our savings, that we’re not always aware of. Hopefully some of these tips resonate, and can help you to save a little extra money each day, month or year.
1. Shop from your cupboard before buying groceries
Or more accurately, plan meals, and base those meals on items you already have in your cupboard or fridge. Realistically you’re still going to need to buy some groceries to supplement this, but using what you already have as a starting point should see the total weekly spend come down (plus it means you’re less likely to accidentally buy something you already have!).
2. Search for discount codes before any online purchase
Before you purchase anything online, have a quick web search for discount codes. If the brand you’re purchasing from relies on social media marketing, absolutely search Youtube and Instagram as well, as you may also be able to find influencer discount codes there.
3. Leave things in your cart for 48 hours before purchasing
I’ve mentioned this one in another post, but it’s a goodie. If you have items in your online cart and you leave them for a couple of days (i.e. don’t continue with the sale), it’s very common that the brand or site will send you discount codes to follow through with the sale.
4. Share streaming subscriptions
I’m not sure if this is strictly allowed, but if you’re paying for Netflix, Hulu, Stan and Binge, and your family and close friends also have their own accounts for all these streaming sites… well, there are ways you can save money here.
5. Walk everywhere within 30 minutes
Set yourself a goal to walk anywhere that is within 30 minutes (or a different cut-off that is reasonable for you). Not only will you save on petrol and parking, it’s great exercise and can be very therapeutic.
6. Look out for discount nights/special deals for cheaper entertainment
Maybe your local burger place does 2 for 1 on Tuesdays, or happy hour at your favourite bar is from 5-6pm. Get to know the deals and discounts going in your area to save money on entertainment costs.
7. Switch up social events by hosting dinner and drinks
Rather than automatically associating socialising with going out for dinner or drinks, mix it up and invite your friends over to your place. Everyone can bring a different dish, or take it in turns to host and cook for each other. Enjoy the same great company without the cost.
8. Switch to an electricity plan with different off-peak, shoulder, and peak electricity usage rates
This only applies if you have a smart meter that can read your electricity usage throughout the day. If you do, many companies will offer deals that have much lower rates for usage in off peak or shoulder times (which usually means hours outside of 7am-9am and 5pm-8pm).
9. Evaluate your insurance policies and superannuation
You may be paying for services you don’t need and won’t use. While I’m here, check your superfund insurance. In Australia, changes came in last year that meant superfunds can’t as easily charge their members automatic insurance without them applying first (i.e. for many people, superfund insurance has changed from an ‘opt out’ to an ‘opt in’ system). However, these changes don’t apply to everyone, and you might be surprised how many fees you are paying on insurance (that you may not want or need).
10. Buy generic-brand groceries and groceries on sale
I’ve shopped at many different grocery stores to compare prices, and I’ve found that as long as I buy generic-brand and/or go for items on sale, my bill stays low. I don’t tend to buy in bulk for the most part (small apartment, household of two, clutter-avoider) but if you have the space and storage for buying in bulk this will also save you in the long run.
11. Get comfortable with slightly outdated technology
I think this is probably bigger than I can articulate, but needing the latest gadgets is a mindset that is in direct conflict with saving money. Electronic companies will continue to bring out new devices every year, marketing all the new features which makes this year’s model absolutely necessary to replace last year’s. However, until your model mysteriously stops working (Apple I’m looking at you), it still does what you wanted it for. Do you really, REALLY need the new features?
12. Commit to a low buy year
Making a commitment to buy less over a period of time (e.g. a year) can help curb impulse buying. Set some rules that keep the plan realistic, such as ‘I can buy to replace broken or worn out items’, and ‘I can buy gifts for other people’. Then, track your progress over time. Compare your spending from this year to the last. Seeing the difference it makes can be hugely motivating to keep it up (while I’m no longer completing a formal ‘no buy’ year, I no longer buy clothes unless I’m replacing something).
I mean this in the broadest sense possible. Simply sharing an entrée or dessert at a restaurant with your friend or partner will cut the bill by a good $15-30. Less simply, sharing one car between yourself and your partner will save thousands of dollars a year on car maintenance. Sharing an apartment with a housemate will cut your living expenses by half.
14. Bring lunch to work
I’ve mentioned in another post that I still buy a couple of coffees each week because I like the social aspect of getting coffee with colleagues at work. However, something I very rarely buy is lunch, perhaps once a month at most as a treat. When you plan your meals for groceries, factor in a couple of extra leftover meals that you can pop in the fridge (or freezer!) for lunches. This means there is no added effort to making lunch, and you can just grab it in the morning and go.
15. Stop being loyal
Controversial! But not really. A lot of the time we stay with banks, insurance companies, mobile phone providers and other service providers because we have been with them for so long and it’s easy. However, this can be costing you money. Shop around, and be prepared to make the switch if a better deal is available for your circumstances. Not to mention, even calling your current providers and asking them what deals they can give you (perhaps mentioning you’ve been looking around) can result in a deal or discount that you didn’t previously have.
Well, there’s my top 15 tips to save some extra money. What do you think, did I miss any?