We’ve scoured the internet and picked the brains of our nearest and dearest to come up with 25 cheapskate tactics to help you save money on everyday expenses. From the thrifty thinker to the downright cheap Charlie we’ve got 25 money saving tips for first home buyers to try out.
In no particular order:
- Bring your phone or laptop charger to work with you – if you remember to charge those items while at the office it means you won’t need to charge them as much later at home. Every little bit counts.
- Run your A/C just a few degrees warmer in the summer – as tempting as it may be to have the temperature at 18°C inside when it’s 32°C outside, you’ll be just as cool with your A/C set to 24°C and you’ll save a bit too.
- Make your own flavoured water – cordial and bottled juice is delicious but if you’re looking to quench your thirst then water is the most effective. Make water a bit more exciting by adding slices of lemon or lime; it’s healthier and cheaper.
- Buy in bulk and save! – have you been to Costco? It’s insane! You may ask yourself ‘who needs a pallet of toilet paper?’ well maybe one person with a serious hankering for vindaloo but then again maybe two friends who want to save might want to split it and then the concept of buying in bulk makes sense. Plus you can never have too much toilet paper.
- Go bump in the night – it’s easy to forget that there are peak and off-peak energy hours. If you can run your dishwasher and program your laundry to wash while you sleep you may end up with more money in your pocket and fluffy warm towels in the morning.
- Make your own lunch – yes it’s an oldie but it’s a goody. So you buy lunch most work days? An average lunch might be around $12, that’s $60 a week and then you work 48 weeks a year (on average with 4 weeks leave) and that’s a whopping $2880! That could definitely help you on your way into the housing market. Once you see it in dollars, bringing in that Vegemite and cheese sandwich doesn’t seem so bad.
- Compare prices for online shopping – if it exists, you can likely find it online and if you can find it online then you can definitely find a range of prices which is where comparing to save really pays off. If you buy online from overseas with a credit card, consider getting a card that doesn’t charge you an international transaction fee. Better still; find a low rate card while you are at it.
- Sell stuff – simple as that. Do you have jeans that you have been saving for when you will fit into them again? Well think of it this way, if you sell them (eBay, Gumtree, garage sale etc.) you’ll not only gain space for new jeans that will fit but you’ll also pocket some mullah. It’s a win-win.
- Exercise in the morning and then shower at your work or at the gym if you can – you’re doing some exercise and you’re also getting a nice hot shower for free! (Well it mightn’t be free at the gym … but you know what I mean).
- Clothes swap – So you don’t have money for a new outfit, you’re not alone. There’s a bunch of other people in the same boat who like you have new or lightly worn items that either don’t fit or just aren’t their style. Clothes swapping is a great way to bring in some new pieces without spending a cent. Organise a clothes swap with friends and relatives – you all meet at someone’s house with items you no longer want and let the swapping begin! Throw in a couple of bottles of bubbly and a chick flick or two and you’ve got yourself a fun and productive night with the girls.
- Pot luck party nights – It’s an excuse to stay in, entertain and have your mates get involved. Everyone has a signature dish and if everyone brings one dish then you’ll have a feast of variety. Throw in some board games and you’ve got a fun afternoon of a weekend, throw in some budget friendly cocktails and beers and you’ve got a fun Saturday night!
- Scent your drawers with magazine samples – sounds weird but you know when there’s a sealed fold in a magazine that you open to smell a new perfume? Well you can open that up completely, rip it out of a magazine and then pop that strip of paper in your drawers. It certainly beats the old pot-pourri smell that your socks and underwear might be used to and you’ll likely get a new smell every month if you read more than one magazine.
- Fabric fresheners on the cheap – so you love Febreze? You’re not alone but if you want to make your own just dilute some fabric softener with water in a spray bottle and voilà! You can get your curtains, cushions, throws and the dog’s bed smelling sunshine soft in no time.
- Do your grocery shopping online – it means you can avoid the last minute impulse buys at the checkout. If you’re extra clever you can also have a running grocery list going at home so that whenever something runs out you just add it to the list – it’ll make shopping a whole lot quicker and easier plus your order is delivered straight to your home so you don’t have to lug a dozen bags from the car to the door while trying to collect the mail and fumble with house keys all at the same time.
- Be a hair model – obviously this doesn’t work if you’re bald (sorry) but if you have luscious locks and you’re looking for a change then suss out stylists-in-training. You’ll likely get a free (or heavily discounted) cut and colour and you’ll look über chic in the process.
- Fix it yourself – so your toilet isn’t flushing? Well before you reach for the phone to call a plumber consult YouTube as there’s likely to be a video tutorial that’ll show you how to fix it yourself. For small jobs like this YouTube is a handy DIY resource, for bigger jobs though (especially ones involving electricity or wiring) we recommend you call a professional, it’s wise to know your limits.
- Free stuff – yes, it exists! You’ll usually find free stuff on Gumtree or even on the side of the road during council clean-up (your neighbour’s trash might be your treasure!). There’s no shame in finding value in something that has been discarded; just be sure you don’t start trawling through their bins late at night … that might be a bit too creepy.
- Have cereal at work – so your office kitchen has milk right? Well why are you having cereal at home before work and drinking your own milk when there’s plenty of delicious free milk in the office kitchen! Also if you eat at work it’ll stave off the hunger while you wait for lunch.
- First the worst, second the best! – Factory seconds are incredibly misunderstood. The most comment flaw is cosmetic (say a small scratch here or a light ding there) and sometimes it’s just the box that it comes in which is damaged. If you’re in the market for an appliance, say a white good or even a new TV, it’s worth sussing out the factory seconds and floor stock – often the warranty is still valid but that slight imperfection can save you extra money.
- Buy your weekly after 3:30pm – if you commute to work (especially in Sydney) buying your weekly travel ticket or dunking your MyMulti after 3:30pm adds an extra travel day to your travel period, essentially you get to travel home that afternoon for free and your travel ‘week’ pretty much begins the following day.
- Samples are awesome – samples are fantastic and they are usually free, if you order groceries online you may find that more often than not the supermarket will throw in a free full sized sample, another reason doing your groceries online is a smarter option. If you read magazines you’ll also see coupons for free beauty samples, keeping a spare sample moisturiser in your gym bag or purse is great for on the go.
- Sweet as – like sugar in your coffee? There’s no limit to how many sugar or sweetener packets you can take from McDonald’s or Starbucks (just don’t make it too obvious or else strangers will give you judgemental stares).
- Hotel bathrooms – hotel toiletries are there to be taken, sure you don’t need another mini shampoo or pocket sewing kit but it can’t hurt to have it lying around waiting for when you do. Hotels keep storerooms full of this stuff, they want you to take it with you. So when you check out, leave the guilt behind but be sure to take the free toiletries with you.
- Ice cold denim – your jeans smell a little funkier than they look and you want to wear them again, but you’ve run out of laundry powder? Never fear! Fold them up, put them in a plastic bag and then put them in the freezer for a few hours. Freezing them will kill the germs that cause them to smell; you can then spot clean any stains with a damp cloth and some soapy water.
- Make impromptu visits at dinner time – now this is not my own suggestion but one from a friend. He was notorious for dropping by on a spontaneous visit and always around dinner time. I asked him why that was; turns out that more often than not he was then invited to stay for dinner, voilà a free meal! Now it might be pushing boundaries but we can’t deny he was definitely saving money (if not testing friendships at the same time). Just be prepared to play host once you’ve got yourself established in the property market. Fair’s fair.
Fancy yourself a shrewd operator when it comes to saving money? Share your favourite money saving tip with us in the comments below!
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