The average Australian is the second richest in the world behind the Swiss. But it sure doesn’t seem like that.
While superannuation and property values have had good gains, slow wage growth has meant has our income growth to pay bills has been subdued.
We know every dollar counts. So here are 19 ways you can immediately save at least $100… each. And maybe a lot more.
#1 – STOP BUYING BOTTLED WATER
Bottled water is the great first world waste of money, and we can’t get enough of it. Why pay $3 a bottle, more than you do for a litre of petrol, when you can turn on a tap and get it for free. Crazy.
#2 – STOP IMPULSE SPENDING
Wait a day after deciding to purchase something. In other words, never buy anything on impulse. You’ll be amazed, by taking the extra 24 hours, how often you decide not to go through with the transaction.
#3 – FIND THE BEST DISCOUNTS AND DEALS
Use coupons and shopper dockets wherever possible. Whether you’re shopping online or in a store, there are bargain discounts right in front of you which we hardly ever use. On the back of supermarket receipts, promotional codes for special offers etc. There are some great deals if you bother to look.
#4 – STOP PAYING FOR INTERNATIONAL CALLS
Call for free over the internet. Forget about shopping around for the best long-distance or international phone plan, download apps like Skype and WhatsApp and call friends and relatives for free.
#5 – GET COFFEE CONSCIOUS
Forgo takeaway coffee and make your own. Grab a free coffee from home or the work kitchen instead of your $3.50 latte from the local café. Save $20 a week, $80 a month… almost $1000 a year. It all adds up.
#6 – SHOP SMART
Anything at eye level on supermarket shelves will be more expensive than products at your toes or above your head. Eye-level shelves are prime position and food producers pay the supermarket more for this advantage.
#7 – CUT UP YOUR CREDIT CARDS
Switch to a debit credit card and avoid interest charges and late payment fees when you don’t pay your bill on time. Debit credit cards allow you to use credit card facilities but only let you to spend your own money so you can’t go into debt.
#8 – CALL YOUR BANK
Ring the bank for a discount on your home loan. They can only say no… but they’ll often agree. Especially if you have insurance, credit cards and investments with the bank. You are a valuable customer and therefore should get at least a 0.5 per cent discount on the advertised variable home loan rate. It will literally save your thousands of dollars.
#9 – WHILE YOU’RE AT IT, CALL YOUR INSURERS
Review your insurances. Never automatically pay a renewal, always compare and ask for a better deal. Save on insurance by having your house, car, life and income protection insurance with the same company. Increase the excess on your house or car policies if you are struggling to meet your monthly premiums but NEVER cut the level of coverage.
#10 – TAKE YOUR LUNCH TO WORK
It’s hard to buy a sandwich and a drink for less than $10 these days. Plan ahead when you’re doing your weekly grocery shop and take a packed lunch to work. Save $50 a week, $200 a month, $2,400 a year.
#11 – BUY SECOND HAND
You can save a fortune buying second hand clothes, furniture and toys. Online marketplace, like Gumtree, eBay or a host of others helps you search, view, bid and purchase virtually anything you want… at a bargain.
#12 – CUT ENERGY COSTS
Cut your electricity bill by installing energy efficient or fluorescent light bulbs, unplugging the second fridge, using drying racks instead of the clothes dryer, and turning the heater off when you go to bed. Wear a jumper and turn the heating down.
#13 – START COOKING
Be aware of the price of convenience and take-away foods. You are probably better off spending time cooking rather than buying frozen meals for the family or things like pre-packaged salads and copped veggies.
#14 – BUY OUT OF SEASON
Buy big-ticket items out of season. Refrigerators are like swimsuits. When the temperature goes down, so do prices. Also, watch for new-store “grand openings” as well as beginning and end-of-season sales, which can offer discounts of 50 per cent or more off retail prices for many appliances. It takes some planning but buy fridges and air conditioners during winter while grabbing heaters during summer.
#15 – CONSOLIDATE DEBT
Consolidate debt. If you’ve amassed $5,000 or more in credit-card or other unsecured debt, consider bundling it into a home loan, assuming you are certain you can afford to pay down that loan. On a balance of $10,000, you could save more than $2,000 in interest payments over five years if you consolidate into a mortgage.
#16 – BUY IN BULK
Cut 40 per cent or more from food bills when buying in bulk at wholesalers and markets. For fruit and vegetables, form a shopping co-op with a group of friends and do a deal with a local green grocer to buy in bulk.
#17 – GO WITH THE FLOW
Low-flow shower heads are great energy and water savers. Most hotels now use them to cut water costs and they are widely available for residential bathrooms as well.
#18 – READ LABELS
Buy washable clothes, especially now that many silks and other delicate materials can be tossed into the washer. Dry-cleaning costs can double or even triple the purchase price of clothing.
#19 – TRAVEL SMART
Travel discounters buy blocks of “room nights” from hotels and airlines at volume discounts and pass on 20-50 per cent savings off regular rates. Take advantage of off-peak deals especially outside of school holidays. And use the range of web sites where hotels off-load vacant rooms at short notice for big savings.
That wraps up our tips to save money right now. What would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments.