Your Money

19 pain-free ways to save money… right now!

- October 25, 2021 6 MIN READ
Save money right now

It’s time to stop ‘getting around to’ pulling in your spending and make some simple changes to save money right now. This minute.

According to Credit Suisse’s Global Wealth Report, Australians are the richest people in the world. But it sure doesn’t seem like that.

While superannuation and property values have had good gains, slow wage growth has meant many of us feel less wealthy than ever before.

We know every dollar counts. So here are plenty of ways you can immediately save at least $100… each. And hopefully 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.

If you’re worried about water quality, buy a filter. You can pick up a decent filter jug for 40 bucks. Or the equivalent of a less than a week’s worth of bottled water.

2. Stop impulse spending

You want to know what the easiest way to save money right now is? Stop buying stuff you don’t really need.

Wait a day after deciding to purchase something. In other words, never buy anything on impulse. You’ll be amazed how often taking the extra 24 hours means you decide not to go through with the transaction.

More tips here: 3 simple tips to stop overspending

3. Hunt down the best 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.

It’s also worth checking out apps like Shopback and Cashrewards. You can earn money back on purchases you would have made anyway.

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.

You can also call any landline in Australia for free from any payphone. That’s right, free calls home to your mum. You can find a map of Telstra payphones here.

5. Get coffee conscious

Forgo takeaway coffee and make your own. It’s good for your pocket and the environment and it’s actually one of the quickest ways to save money right now that you won’t even miss. Well, not for long, anyway.

Grab a free coffee from home or the work kitchen instead of your $3.50 latte from the local café. You’ll save $20 a week, $80 a month… almost $1000 a year. It all adds up and you can pat yourself on the back from your lounger in Port Dougie.

6. Shop high and low

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 brands pay the supermarket more for this advantage. Which means you pay more for the brands.

Generic offerings from the supermarket and cheaper versions offered by the brands themselves are stacked high and low.

7. Keep the card, not the credit

You know it has to be done. 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.

If you’re freaking out that you won’t have access to credit, keep freaking. “Needing” credit really just means you can’t afford to buy something in the first place.

Cutting back on buying things you can’t afford is a super-quick way to save money right now.

8. Call your bank

Ring your bank for a discount on your home loan today. They can only say no… but they usually don’t.

Especially if you have insurance, credit cards or other 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 you thousands of dollars, year after year.

9. Call your insurers too

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 don’t cut the level of coverage.

It’s definitely worth calling: I saved $5,416.78 just by making three phone calls

10. Take your lunch to work

It’s hard to buy a sandwich and a drink for less than $15 these days. Plan ahead when you’re doing your weekly grocery shop and take a packed lunch to work. You’ll save $50 a week, $200 a month, or a whopping $2,400 a year. Port Douglas is definitely calling your name.

11. Buy second-hand everything

You can save a fortune buying second-hand clothes, furniture and toys. In fact, you can buy second-hand everything. Except underpants. Best buy those brand new.

Online marketplace, like Gumtree, eBay and a host of others helps you search, view, bid and purchase virtually anything you want… at a bargain price.

12. Reduce your energy

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.

Turn the cooling up while you’re at it. Or go without entirely. Most days you won’t melt, we promise, and on the days you truly, really need to put the air-conditioner on, you can do so with a clear conscious and a fat wallet.

13. Get cooking

Be aware of the price of convenience: take away foods and processed supermarket meals add up to mega-bucks. You are much better off spending a bit of time cooking rather than buying frozen meals for the family or things like pre-packaged salads and chopped veggies.

Trust us, chopping up a carrot doesn’t actually take much time.

If you’re worried your cooking skills aren’t up to scratch, we can highly recommend you get to know Nat. He’s a very sweary, highly amusing Aussie YouTube chef and metalhead who makes great food really easy. No really, go check him out.

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 and grab heaters during summer.

For clothes, shop the ‘end of season sales’ on US-based sites and you’ll be buying in-season clothes for off-season prices.

Just remember that the reverse is true for food: plan your meals around fruit and veggies that are currently in season and you’ll save a fortune. It makes no sense to eat watermelon in winter.

15. Consolidate your debts

If you’ve amassed $5,000 or more in credit-card or other unsecured debt, consider bundling it into your home loan; assuming you are certain you can afford to pay down that loan.

With current interest rates being so low on home loans and mysteriously still so high on credit cards, you can save plenty. 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.

More strategies here: Everything you need to know about debt consolidation

16. Bulk up

You’ll cut up to 40 per cent or even 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 greengrocer to buy in bulk.

You can join an existing neighbourhood co-op through a program like Box Divvy. Or get in contact with local producers to see if they sell direct to the public.

17. Go with the low flow

Low-flow shower heads are great energy and water savers. If you’ve got an older bathroom, you might not have one fitted, so get onto that.

The thing is, there’s some magic voodoo involved in low-flow shower heads that means you won’t even notice you’ve made the switch. If that’s not the least effortless way to save money right now, what is?

18. Watch your washability

Buy washable clothes because dry cleaning is expensive. Dry-cleaning costs can double or even triple the purchase price of clothing.

Look for garments you can wash at home and line dry. Even many silks and other delicate fabrics can now be tossed into the washer on a gentle cycle.

19. Travel smart

Now we can all get back to travelling (yay), make the most of savings on offer.

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 websites where hotels off-load vacant rooms at short notice for big savings. Some to try are Trivago, Wotif and Last Minute.

Enjoy your holiday – you’ve more than earned it!