Smart saving for your household

3 min read

Can you imagine having more money for simple luxuries? According to Simple Savings’ Jackie Gower, it’s not a pipe dream with these common sense tips for cutting expenses.

Curtailing your spending is no easy feat, especially if you have a family. But there are some simple ways to cut back that may even allow for things such as that long overdue holiday.

Food

Usually the biggest bill in any household, but luckily, it’s one of the easiest to diminish. As the TV chefs always say, cooking at home is the key. “We know of families who’ve reduced their weekly food bill by as much as 50% as a result of menu planning,” Jackie reveals. Also, look beyond the supermarket. “Taking the time to shop around your local butcher and greengrocer can result in valuable savings. Aim to buy locally grown, in-season fruit and vegetables to avoid inflated and overseas prices. To cut back on the cost of meat, Jackie suggests replacing up to 50% of the meat component in your dishes with beans, pulses or vegetables.

Utilities

The answer to saving here, Jackie says, is to review and compare. Do your research and check out deals from different providers. This is not the most exciting task, but Jackie estimates one to two hours on the phone or online could save you several hundred dollars a year.

Petrol

Potentially another large household expense. “The best way to cut-back on petrol is not to use it. Walk, ride or use public transport whenever possible. Car-pooling is also a great cost-saver. Make a list of your errands over a fortnight and try to get them done in the same area at once. Wind down windows instead of the using the air conditioning, keep your tyres pumped and excess weight out of the car – these small gestures will all result in you spending less at the bowser,” Jackie suggests.

Medical

“Everyday products such as paracetamol have generic brand options which are exactly the same as the top brand names but cost much less.  The same applies for products such as vitamins,” advises Jackie.

Entertainment

Everyone automatically reaches for their wallet here, but fun can be reasonably priced, or even free. Check out exhibitions, markets, walks and local fairs. Host a movie or games night, or pack a picnic and head to the beach or a national park. Jackie notes that, “Geocaching is an increasingly popular and hugely enjoyable pastime. It’s an outdoor treasure hunt that only requires a GPS-enabled mobile phone. And, instead of buying new toys, join the local library. The kids can play with exciting ‘new’ toys as often as they like - for free,” she adds.

More thrifty hints...

If you’re terrible with money, downloading an app to track spending could be your salvation. “One tried-and-true app is Track My Spend” our expert says.

Jackie also suggests involving all household members by putting a jar in the kitchen for everybody’s small change. It may sound paltry, but you’ll be surprised at how much this can add up to over a month.

Finally, if you really struggle with self-control, many banks offer accounts with online-only access, or require you to go in to make a withdrawal. This can prevent you going on mad sprees with your EFTPOS card.

The important thing is to take the first step, as Jackie affirms, “Aim as big or small as you like. Any saving is a good saving.”

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This information is current as at 22/11/2016

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