Check out these clever ideas to put big savings back in your wallet.
As a first home owner, money can be a little tight. The good news is that there is a surprising number of ways to beef up your budget with big savings.
Take a look at our suggestions and try one or two, or have a go at them all to supersize your savings over the next 12 months.
1. Go car-free
Think about it. Owning a car means handing out a relentless stream of cash in fuel, insurance, rego, maintenance and possibly loan repayments. According to motoring group RACQ, even a ‘micro’ car costs around $116 in weekly running costs – that’s $6,032 annually. For a SUV All Terrain the weekly running cost can accelerate to a whopping $332 per week or $17,264 annually1. If you can’t live without your wheels, downsizing to a smaller vehicle can drive valuable savings.
2. Know where your money goes
If the thought of budgeting makes you wince, consider this. Our money watch dog – the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) reckons the average household spends around $69,166 annually on general living costs. Yet just over half (54%) of us know what our money is spent on2. Ouch.
Unless you track your spending it’s easy to misdirect thousands of dollars each year. And that can mean falling into the habit of living pay to pay.
The solution? Know where your money goes. Take control of your spending with the free smartphone app called ‘TrackMySpend’ available on iTunes. There are plenty more apps to help you save too.
3. Ditch bottled water
Imagine paying 1,000 times more for your first home than its market value. You’d laugh at the idea right? So consider this. In Australia we quite happily pay $2, maybe $3 for a bottle of water – the stuff we get out of the tap almost free of charge.
Australians spend over $500 million on bottled water every year, at an average cost of $2.83 per litre3. Yet tap water costs around 0.001 cents per litre. Do the maths. Invest in a drink bottle and stay hydrated for next to nothing.
4. Plan your grocery needs
Food rescue group OzHarvest says Australian households throw out $1,036 worth of groceries each year4. Save on food waste with three easy steps. First, plan your weekly needs, and only buy what you need. Next, treat leftovers with respect – they can be re-packaged as low cost lunches to take to work or school. Finally, think about growing your own food in your own edible garden. No matter whether you live on acreage or in a mid-city apartment, it is easy to grow the essentials like lettuce, tomatoes and herbs in planter boxes. Only cut what you need for each meal to enjoy the freshest possible produce with zero waste.
5. Ask for a discount
How easy is this? According to industry research, one in five Australians plan to save 20% on the cost of groceries, power, phone and insurance this year. And they’ll do it simply by asking for a better deal5. One in two (53%) Australians say they have pocketed a bargain simply by asking for a better price or more value.
Asking for discounts or a better deal can apply to bigger things too, like your home loan. If you haven’t asked your lender for a better rate, now may be the time.
Do you have other savings tips? Share them with us in the comments below.
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1. RACQ Private vehicle expenses 2015 http://www.racq.com.au/cars-and-driving/cars/owning-and-maintaining-a-car/car-running-costs↩
2. ASIC media release: 12-194MR How do you keep track of your spending, 13 August 2012, http://asic.gov.au/about-asic/media-centre/find-a-media-release/2012-releases/12-194mr-how-do-you-keep-track-of-your-spending/↩
5. ING DIRECT media release: Four out of five households drive a better deal in 2015, 2 February 2015 https://newsroom.ingdirect.com.au/releases/four-out-of-five-households-drive-a-better-deal-in-2015↩