The cost of living is rising in Australia, which is putting financial strain on Australians. Here are some easy ways to save money.
The price of everything from groceries, gasoline, insurance, to renting and buying real estate has been on the rise for the past year or two, but in recent months, the impact is starting to hit the home.
inflation in australia It has reached levels not seen in decades, reaching an annual rate of 6.1% and tending to exceed 7% before End of yearprompting the RBA to start a series of Sharp price hikes. It is estimated that a person with an $800,000 mortgage will pay, on average, $1,000 more per month in repayments than they did in April of this year.
One of the main issues has been the array of crises hitting the nation at once – from the spread of Covid-19 and the impact of lockdowns, the war in Ukraine, the global supply chain crisis, droughts and floods. This has led to increased prices at the grocery store—who can forget the $10 iceberg lettuce scene in many cities—and higher fuel prices. The price of fuel tends to rise by 22 cents per liter when the fuel tax cut ends at the end of the month.
As Australians grapple with such high cost of living across the country, the country’s food banks Report Unusual request as some people wait three hours to get food baskets.
The only way to deal with the increased demand is to find ways to cut costs as quickly as possible. While getting started can be a challenge, the truth is that we all need to cut back on our spending and save as much as possible.
Know your expenses
The first step in saving money is to understand how much you are spending, what is necessary to spend and what is not.
This means every household item needs an account, so get your bank statement for the last few months and start separating your expenses into a simple spreadsheet.
This data will help you organize your numbers by categories and will give you a monthly total. Be sure to include everything, such as annual expenses like insurance and car maintenance, so you can clearly see what you have left at the end of each month.
Next, decide what you can cut back, and where you can cut back on your spending. Identify non-essential items, such as dining out, non-essential subscriptions and other recurring fees that need to be canceled, and even entertainment costs.
Confronting the numbers and control in this way can be daunting at first but in the end it can feel very liberating.
Perform a financial audit
If you have many debts, consolidating them into one monthly payment may be a good option for you. This involves converting the debt into a single loan so that you can pay off in one payment.
Next, look at what you pay in bank and credit card fees, which can vary greatly between providers, so get your bank statements and really understand what your bank is charging you.
There is a lot to be said for just contacting your bank and claiming a better deal when it comes to these fees.
While you’re at it, call your bank and ask for a discount on the home loan interest rate as well. Start by comparing what you pay against other lenders so you have the information on hand to request a better deal.
Many banks, in particular, are going one step ahead and calling on mortgage holders to offer them a cheaper rate before they have a chance to refinance, so take advantage of this desire to keep your business and pay for your loan to be reduced by 0.5% (and ask them to waive any fee. They can do that). The key here is to be prepared to go to another lender if there is a much better deal on the table that your bank will not match.
Of course, making sure your credit card is fully paid for is the best way to avoid interest charges.
Also, shop around your insurance policy to see if you can get a better deal elsewhere, but be sure when comparing policies where you compare apples to apples. Lots of consumers end up paying what is known as a ‘loyalty tax’, which makes them pay a lot more on common insurances because they fail to shop every year and consequently lose low introductory rates to new customers.
Reduce your grocery bills
Getting rid of fat from your grocery store can make all the difference, with many Australians giving daily tips on how to reduce your bill to $150 a week for a family of four.
Start planning ahead. Define your weekly meals, including lunches and snacks, and write a shopping list so you don’t get distracted as soon as you walk into the supermarket.
Look for specials and turn to home brands, and switch to frozen veggies for some staples, which end up being a lot cheaper than buying fresh. Also look for local weekly vegetable boxes filled with local produce, such as Good and Vogliwhich sponsors a weekly produce box of fruits and vegetables deemed “cosmeticly unsuitable” for supermarkets and delivers them directly to consumers in Melbourne and Sydney.
Cutting out some meat from your diet, buying in bulk, hitting the local farmer’s market and planting some basics in your own garden can also help reduce your weekly food bill. Also, cut into one grocery store per week, instead of going every day.
Rethink your home bills
Housekeeping can be very costly throughout the month, so find ways to reduce your bills and electricity consumption.
Run the washing machine only when you have a full load of laundry, and use cold water. Also, only heat and cool the room you’re using, rather than the entire house. You can cut costs simply by closing the blinds to block out the morning sun, or by making sure no heat escapes from the open washing window.
Turn off your appliances when not in use, and wait to run the dishwasher right before bed so you don’t pay for extreme energy costs.
Make sure you sign up for the cheapest deal possible. Federal government advances Free Tools and Resources To help consumers compare plans. Since every state is different, they also provide state-specific resources to help you choose the cheapest deal. It may take a few minutes of your time, but it can save you hundreds of dollars.
For example, it is estimated that those who used the Victorian Government’s Victorian Energy Compare website were able to Save $330 in the first year alone By switching to a cheaper deal.
Switch to cheaper options
You can also switch and save in areas other than utilities. From the brand of milk you buy to the hair salon you frequent, there are a handful of easy keys that will help you cut back on your spending.
For starters, look at the streaming services you use, and think if you can narrow it down to one. While you’re at it, decide if you can live without a membership in your gym and replace that with free classes or if you can instead stick to a regular outing with a friend. Furthermore, look for canceling subscriptions that you no longer use, but that you have forgotten about.
Other ways to switch to cheaper options include stopping all food delivery services, riding your bike instead of using public transportation, vacationing close to home, and taking advantage of discounts or coupons when dining out and entertaining at home more often.
Work your way through each account and find ways to reduce costs. And when you are tempted by unnecessary purchases, wait a few days to see if you still want to buy.
Work smart, not too hard in the kitchen
Meal prep has begun in Australia, with social media and bloggers giving advice on how to get started. Preparing your meals in advance means you can buy in bulk once a week, which makes mealtime much easier.
If meal prep isn’t for you, at least commit to using leftovers and help reduce the 7.6 million tons of food lost or wasted each year. According to Foodbank70% of this food is still edible.
So grab a cookbook and find ways to reimagine your leftovers and turn them into a starting point for tomorrow night’s dinner, or take them to work the next day for lunch.
Other tips for the kitchen include cleaning the pantry to make sure nothing comes of use by date before you have a chance to use it, buying in bulk to save and also cooking meals like bolognese sauce and pizza bases in larger batches for freezing.
Also, stop buying coffee daily and make your own caffeine at home or in the office instead, which can save more than $1,000 a year at $5 a day.
If you are in Financial problemYou can get a free consultation via the National Debt Hotline at 007 1800007.